It’s been said hundreds of times, “Styles make fights.” It’s what the sport was built on. A tournament of different mixed martial artists with various backgrounds and skill sets competing in combat to see who could beat the shit out of the other guy. Out of all the different match ups over the years, none have stood the test of time with more variant outcomes than the Striker vs Grappler. The unstoppable force vs the immovable object. The two most prioritized aspects of mixed martial arts, striking on the feet and grappling on the ground are the two most common breeding grounds for highly skilled fighters to emerge from. From high school wrestling to after school karate classes, the two disciplines are in a constant battle for mma supremacy.
With the sport growing and evolving rapidly in the passed few years we seemed to have gotten away from these type of match ups. Mostly because guys have the proper diverse training camps and coaching to cover the different aspects of the sport. Women on the other hand still have these very specialized athletes that find themselves almost pigeon held in their game plans. It’s refreshing honestly. Watching them go thru the process that the men’s division went thru that had me so intrigued with the sport to begin with.
History shows us both sides of the coin.
Sprawl and Brawl, from Chuck Liddell to Robbie Lawler to Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Wrestling, from George St. Pierre to guys like Johny Hendricks and Daniel Cormier.
Who can implement their game plan and impose their will on the opposition?
Shevchencko has shown us her stand up and counter punching is out of this fucking world. The way she hit Holly Holm with “same time counters” was something we don’t see much of in the UFC at all. It’s almost like she found the timing of Holm and blasted her as soon as the punches were coming in. She showed an ability to rattle her and slow down the taller longer striker. Beating her at her own game.
Pena is just about diggity dog shit on the feet, if this stays standing she won’t last 25 minutes. But that’s not her game so who cares. Pena has a way of forcing girls to fight her fight. She makes it ugly, she makes it sloppy, and in the high altitude of Denver it could get messy fast. If everything goes her way you’re going to see a bully push the striker into the fence, make her carry her weight, drag this to the ground and ride Schevchenko around like a rented mule. Schevchenko doesn’t have enough experience on the ground to fend off average ground and pound or sub attempts. If Pena gets her down and tired she’s going to have her way with her and could easily finish her with her uncanny ability to big sister pound out girls. The only problem is all fights start on the feet. We’ve seen improvements from Valentina in her take down defense and footwork, is it enough to stop a high level grappler like Pena?
I don’t think so. Vegas opened up Schevchenko as a 2/1 favorite. Maybe they thought the win over Holm would draw name recognition? Maybe they thought the Venezuelan Vixen’s infrequency in the cage had us forgetting about her ability? I don’t fucking know. All I know is that if you’re getting plus money on a girl with the ability to take a striker down and into her world on the mat, I’m gonna be holding a ticket with her name on it come fight night.