UFC 165 GIFathon: Jones, Gustafsson, Barao, and more!

Dallas Winston, Bloody Elbow

Check out the latest exciting edition of the Bloody Elbow GIFathon! This week we focus on six fighters competing on tomorrow night's UFC 165 card, including champions Jon Jones and Renan Barao.

The GIFathon is back with a fresh batch of fights featuring six of tomorrow night's UFC 165 competitors in their regional days. Dallas Winston is here to provide commentary, and all of these GIFs are not possible without the tireless work of Zombie Prophet.

Today's GIFathon includes:

...And more!

Jon Jones vs. Ryan Verrett (2008)

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Mookie Alexander: This is NOT the Parker Porter fight, as has been falsely claimed on Youtube multiple times over. Jones needed 36 seconds to dispose of Porter, but this one was a mere 14 seconds. We haven't really seen Jones knock anyone down with a punch in the UFC other than Lyoto Machida and an (already battered) Mauricio Rua, partially because he's not known to be a powerful boxer, but also because he's not facing guys like Ryan Verrett in the UFC.

Dallas Winston: The first thing that came to mind is Jones' stance and how different it looks in this GIF compared to his present day stance. Check out how squatted and rigid he stands, probably with the intent to plant hard and throw power strikes or to hold a strong base in order to defend takedowns. However, this stance is not conducive to quick reactions, lateral movement nor capitalizing on his nearly implausible range and reach. Also, whether it was intentional or not, notice how Jones lowers his level just a bit before hurling the right hand: this is one of the most simple and basic set ups to any semblance of offense, be it strikes or takedowns, as the opponent must acknowledge and adapt to the level change. Hinting at one offensive attack and causing a reaction only increases the effectiveness of another.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Shemarov (2009)

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Mookie: Gustafsson had just stood up from top position when he started this mauling. This was his last pre-UFC fight before he seamlessly entered the big time by obliterating Jared Hamman at UFC 105.

Dallas Winston: Keeping with the stance observations, this is the exact opposite: Gustafsson stands noticeably more upright in this GIF than he does now. And the accompanying factors are also contrasting -- coming up as a striker, Gustafsson learned how to use his range/reach early but later had to lower his level to a more crouched stance in order to maintain a strong base and balance to defend takedowns. Just like with Bones in the previous section, this would inevitably limit Gustafsson's lateral movement and reactions a bit more, but when the alternative is finding himself on his back and out of his preferred realm, it's a necessary tradeoff.

Renan Barao vs. Erinaldo Pitbull (2007)

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Mookie: At the time of this fight, Shooto rules allowed a standing eight-count (and strikes to the back of the head!), but Erinaldo Pitbull was given a hell of a lot more than eight seconds. He received more in the area of 30 seconds. This was no problem for Barao, who forced a tap with a good ol' toehold.

Dallas: Shooto is still my favorite fight league but their standing eight-count rule was always unusual. However, I will say that the rule was not without advantages -- think about all the controversial or semi-conspicuous stoppages we've seen due to a flash knockdown, after which the aggrieved party protests and insists they were fit to continue. Barao is one of the most pleasingly and technical auteurs of violence in MMA right now and these animations show why. His kickboxing in the first speaks for itself but the toe hold is a brilliant counter to leg locks because the figure-four hold breaks the grip of their foot/legs in addition to burdening them with the threat of counter-offense instead of just trying to escape.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Ashot Shahinyan (2011)

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Mookie: If you watched Khabib Nurmagomdeov's KO of Thiago Tavares at UFC on FX 7, it looked like he was lunging for a left uppercut and it almost landed like a left hook. Whatever it was, it wasn't pretty but it was effective and put Tavares on his back. There's no doubt though that this was a clean left hook that short-circuited Ashot Shahinyan's brain, and the proceeding right hand was more than enough reason to stop the fight.

Dallas: I believe the oddity of Nurmy's punches that Mookie is describing above can be attributed to the "casting" or "corkscrew" style punches that "The Eagle" throws, along with many other Russians like Fedor and Aleks Emelianenko or Igor Vovchanchyn before them. I've always been fascinated with this technique. Some attribute its birth to boxing greats like Muhammad Ali, Marvin Haglar (for his corkscrew jab) or Charles "Kid" McCoy, others credit it as a distinctive trait of European strikers/boxers and fantastic urban lore tells of fighters adopting the technique for fighting on a slippery or icy surface.

Three points of reference: I love this GIF of Fedor's ground and pound against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Pride, because the behind-angle really shows the unusual release and trajectory of Fedor's punches, and I believe he was the first to capitalize on corkscrew punches to circumvent a downed fighter's striking guard. I found this video after a quick Google search and the demonstration shows the basic differences and advantages of straight, tight hooks versus the more looping snap of a corkscrew punch. Finally, this is a solid write-up on the corkscrew punch with some informative images. While not traditional corkscrew punches, common elements of the style can be found in both Nick and Nate Diaz's unorthodox boxing, such as the raised or flared elbows (instead of keeping them tight to the sides/ribs) and the awkward rhythm, angles and timing of their blows due to the atypical punch trajectory.

Myles Jury vs. Marcus Aijan (2008)

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Mookie: Myles Jury moved to 4-0 with the rare "tapout to strikes" win over Marcus Aijan. Jury unleashed some heavy ground-and-pound after Aijan's kimura attempt failed, but the real reason I picked this fight is because it gives us a different Cecil Peoples gif to use on a regular basis.

Dallas: One of the only cool things I can think of about living in Michigan is being well aware of Myles Jury before he made it big. This kid (he was 19-20 at the time) mercilessly obliterated his first ten opponents in the opening frame, and had done the same to five of his six amateur opponents. He's dominant striker and grappler with a rare penchant for quick finishes. He's also aware that any legit submission requires both of his opponents hands to finish, which means they're unable to simultaneously defend strikes.

Jesse Ronson vs. Eric St. Pierre (2012)

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Mookie: ESP IS EXPOSED! Oh wait sorry wrong St. Pierre. Jesse Ronson debuts tomorrow night against Michel Prazeres, and the Canadian's nickname is "The Body Snatcher" a la former boxing great Mike McCallum. It's only natural to pick a finish involving a brutal left hook to the body.

Dallas: Conor McGregor-like are those left hands, Joe. A lead punch downstairs is risky, but notice how Ronson keeps his chin tucked while whipping his head off centerline while throwing it. This does not eliminate the danger entirely, but drastically reduces his chances of eating a counter during the flash of time in which he's exposed.

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The next GIFathon will be October 15th, one day before UFC 166. Thanks for viewing and if you have any suggestions or fight requests please list then in the comments section.

SBN coverage of UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson

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