Why grappling fights can be entertaining

Last evening’s UFC Fight For The Troops card featured a number of solid fights but one in partciular stood out. As the FD recommended, Steven Siler v. Dennis Bermudez was the best fight of the evening.

The reason is one most casual fans wouldn’t want to admit: grappling exchanges are fun.

The first round between the pair featured nearly as many submission attempts/escapes as it did strikes on the feet. As anyone can attest, few things are exciting as seeing an athlete taken to the brink and succeeding.

During one exchange, Siler locked in a triangle only to have Bermudez stand to his feet and slam out of it. Soon after, Bermudez won a wild scramble, turning it into an arm-in guillotine that he held for nearly a minute with varying degrees of pressure – only for Siler to fight through the submission.

A later fight, Colton Smith v. Michael Chiesa, was similarly exciting showcase of grappling with both fighters sinking in deep submission attempts and Chiesa eventually ending the fight with one.

At its finest, grappling can move more quickly than a striking exchange. The advantage of takedowns and top control is very important on the scorecards. As Sun Tzu wrote, ‘attack is the secret of defense’. Putting someone on their back and keeping them there is entirely an offensive tactic – it negates most need to fight defensively, something a standing fight cannot be.

It was one helluva fight.


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