Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Going into the UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans fight card, there was quite a bit of excitement in certain quarters at the prospect of Lightweight strikers Anthony Njokuani vs. John Makdessi, a classic clash of styles. Njokuani is a text-book Muay Thai stylist who cleaves to what MMA fans think of as the fundamentals of good MMA striking. Makdessi is a Taekwondo/Shotokan Karate specialist whose unorthodox strikes had garnered him a fair bit of hype.
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Fans were wondering if Makdessi's unusual style would be able to overcome Njokuani's Thai approach.
It's important to note that the 6'1" Njokuani brought a 75.5" reach to meet the 5'8" Makdessi and his 68" reach so it wasn't a pure test of styles. More after the jump...
But what we do know now is that Makdessi's TKD style didn't do much to help him overcome Njokuani's height and reach advantage. Njokuani was able to use his leg kicks to largely disable Makdessi's lead leg -- the leg that so much of Makdessi's arsenal depends on.
"It was good but I wish I got what I really wanted: a knockout or a submission. I'm tired of getting decisions, I'm disappointed in myself for that reason but happy I got the win," said Njokuani after the fight. "My leg kicks had to take out his legs because he relies on his legs so much. It was a great fight, he's a tough dude and he didn't go down."
Makdessi might want to consider cutting down to 145lbs and making the Featherweight limit after his second straight loss at 155lbs. He drops to 2-2 in the UFC and we've seen that he can be bullied by bigger strikers and grapplers in the Lightweight class.
Njokuani improves to 2-2 in the UFC and has a chance to establish himself as a long-term gatekeeper in the division, if not a contender.