Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Breakdown of Michael Chandler vs Rick Hawn at Bellator 85

When you looked at the Michael Chandler vs Rick Hawn matchup on paper, did you expect that much domination from one fighter?

Looking at the fighters' styles, Chandler is the quicker athlete while Hawn has more power in his hands. In the fight, Chandler pressured with strikes and takedowns before Hawn could get settled. Chandler's striking pressure and takedowns did not blend together quite as well when he fought Patricky Pitbull or Eddie Alvarez, but when he fought Hawn he completely avoided Hawn's jab by controlling the distance at all times.

There are critics who state that Chandler's hands are too low when he fights, but guarding is not the only way to avoid punches. When you control the distance, you can avoid strikes. Also, Chandler having his hands lower had the additional benefit that he could better watch out for Hawn's punches. Because Chandler controlled the distance, it meant that he did not have to be worried about Hawn's striking when he went for takedowns. Chandler had the best motions for takedowns because he did not get hindered by Hawn's striking.

 I've pointed out Chandler's changes, but I also want to point out that Alvarez changed his style against Shinya Aoki for a more distance-based fight in their rematch.

Of course, I am interested to see whether Alvarez can go to the UFC and have fights there, but the changes that both fighters have made will make up an interesting aspect of a Chandler-Alvarez rematch if it happens. Also, Aoki himself recently scored a victory with strikes that were mixed in with a takedown attempt.

The lightweight division is rapidly improving and has the most depth of any weight class in MMA.

Big thanks to Robert Sargent (from MMA Rising) for English editing.  

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