Thursday, 30 July 2015

Invicta 13: Cyborg vs Van Duin Technical Analysis

Invicta 13 promised a lot of action jammed into a small card, with three titles on the line. Fresh off an upset over Michelle Waterson, Herica Tiburcio looked to defend her Atomweight title against a legitimate top 2 challenger in Ayaka Hamasaki. Tonya Evinger and Irene Aldana competed for the vacant Bantamweight championship, and Cyborg was fed another victim.

Earlier in the night, promising prospect Jamie Moyle encountered her first real taste of adversity in a 2-0 pro career, taking a hard fought decision win over Amy Montenegro.

After spending the first two minutes of the fight in a back-and-forth clinch battle, Moyle attempts an outside trip. Montenegro defends, but she's able to push Montenegro into the cage and use the momentum from the springboard effect of the cage to pivot into a body lock takedown, after which she immediately takes the back.

Moyle attempts an armbar from back control, but fails to frame Montenegro's face with her forearm. Without the forearm keeping Montenegro's head in place, she is free to turn into guard.

A short while later, Moyle shows off a slick bottom game with a variation of a tripod sweep. She holds Montenegro's lead leg in place and kicks back with her left leg, while using her right leg to scissor the rear leg of Montenegro, taking out her base.

One of the main aspects of Moyle's game I believe shows impressive potential is her ability to seamlessly transition between the striking and grappling and integrate one into the other - a skill rarely seen so developed in a fighter with 2 pro bouts. In the first sequence above, she pressures with an overhook and her upper body to keep Montenegro down, but as she begins standing up, Moyle steps up with her right leg, frames Montenegro's face with a forearm, and pushes her head down into a left knee. In the second sequence she hangs a jab out, deflecting Montenegro's right off her shoulder, and uses it to grab the back of Montenegro's head and secure the clinch before pushing her off and breaking with a body kick. In the third sequence, Montenegro backs her hips out in an attempt to stand, and Moyle bases out wide, stands up, and flattens her with a punch while she is still focused on grappling.

Moyle showed off some sharp striking as well, including an effective teep she used to keep Montenegro at distance and push her back. Note in the first sequence after she lands the kick, she steps into southpaw and follows up right away with a jab, before awkwardly shifting back into orthodox. Punching off of a kick is a good way to catch an opponent unaware, but the awkward footwork leaves her at risk of eating a punch with her feet square and her base compromised.

Her counter striking was on-point in this fight. In the first sequence, she's circling away from Montenegro's right hand as she throws the straight, forcing her to overextend and throw across her body, which puts her off-balance and leaves her wide open for the left hook. In the second sequence, Moyle slips the straight and counters with the overhand before pivoting off-line to avoid any follow up punches from Montenegro.

She also countered effectively off of parries. In the first two sequences, she parries the straight and counters with an overhand. In the third, she parries the straight and counters with a leg kick, and in the fourth she parries the teep and counters with a leg kick.

Moyle enters by changing levels twice in rhythm, causing Montenegro to begin bouncing in reaction. After the second level change, she breaks the rhythm with a forward step as Montenegro's feet are off the ground, allowing Moyle to catch her off-guard. Montenegro attempts to counter with a jab, but it's just late as Moyle has already taken her head off-line and is in the middle of throwing an overhand, which sails over Montenegro's jab and cracks her.

Here, Moyle catches the straight-jab on her forearm guard and returns with a left hook, before parrying a straight and throwing a cross-counter overhand that lands simultaneously with Montenegro's jab.

Moyle pushes off her lead foot to pull just out of range of Montenegro's straight, before pushing back off her rear foot and coming in with a jab that connects and backs Montenegro up. They both step in - Montenegro steps in fully and commits to punching, while Moyle takes a half step and remains light on her feet, ready to pull back. After flashing the jab as she steps in, Montenegro throws a straight and Moyle leans back and parries, before springing off her rear foot with a right hand that cracks Montenegro as she attempts an ill-advised leg kick.

Although this fight highlighted Moyle's potential, it also shone light onto areas in which she needs improvement.

She struggled with Montenegro in the clinch and part of her difficulty was due to how easily she gave up the underhook. In the first sequence, Montenegro straightens up and Moyle drops her underhooking (left) arm down to Montenegro's hip while leaning into her. Instead of pushing back into her or using her head to pressure on Montenegro's jaw, she bends over and puts her head in the chest, serving only to create more space and make it easier for Montenegro to slip in the underhook. In the second sequence, she has a weak control of Montenegro's right arm and attempts to establish head pressure. She's too short to keep her forehead in the chin when bent over as she is here and Montenegro easily passes her head to the other side, pivots around Moyle, and slips in the underhook. Moyle was leaning into her from a foot away, leaving a lot of space for Montenegro to pummel for underhooks and move around. She should have been taking away that space - pressing her hips into Montenegro's to stifle her movement. In the third sequence, Montenegro has a double collar tie and Moyle responds by pushing on her face with both hands, giving up the double underhooks. A more advisable approach for Moyle with Montenegro securing a double collar tie with her back against the fence is to press into her and smother her hips - after which she can begin fighting the hands to break the collar tie.

Although she frequently pivots off-line after her combinations, here she gets caught a few times by a Montenegro rush when a simple pivot would have taken her out of danger and left Montenegro out of position to continue her charge.

Moyle also has a bad habit of throwing single kicks from straight in front of her opponent without setup, which got her tagged a few times by Montenegro. With a combination of punches behind them to drive Montenegro back before hammering her with a kick, these wouldn't be nearly as dangerous.

It appeared that Moyle recognized this herself, as after eating a couple hard shots while kicking in the third round, she began tightening up her defense. In the first sequence, she covers Montenegro's lead hand to prevent the counter. In the second, she keeps her guard up and takes her head off-line while kicking.

A pressure fighter with sharp counters and a solid grappling game, Moyle has all the tools to become a great fighter. Her ability to transition between striking and grappling belies her inexperience. Although she has some holes in her game right now, she's shown improvement in each one of her fights and will no doubt continue to improve and patch those holes as she gains experience.

Herica Tiburcio has a very one-sided attack on the feet, in that the vast majority of her offensive capability comes from the right side of her body. Most of her striking techniques can be summed up in a few basic combinations - lead straight, lead right leg kick, and lead straight to right body kick, often these are set up by a jab feint. Her attacks from her left side are limited to a decent, if rarely used, leaping hook, some ineffectual leg kicks, and an arm jab thrown without full hip commitment or an adequate guard.

Ayaka Hamasaki spent most of the fight circling toward Tiburcio's rear hand, often running herself into the kicks and punches of Tiburcio, instead of circling toward Tiburcio's lead hand, which would cut off a large portion of her offense.

Hamasaki had a lot of success with blitzes. Whenever she charged forward, Tiburcio would cover and back up in a straight line, allowing her to keep teeing off with punches.

Hamasaki blitzes and Tiburcio again backs up, but this time she plants her feet and attempts to counter. However, she loads up far too much on the straight and fails to take her head off-line, eating a straight left in the process. Hamasaki side steps and lands her straight again as Tiburcio turns into her while throwing another telegraphed straight. But as Hamasaki retreats, she walks back first with her lead leg, crossing it over her rear leg, instead of stepping back first with her rear leg, which would allow her to maintain her base while retreating. Tiburcio throws a straight, which catches Hamasaki off-guard.

Hamasaki was also very effective with her straight left. In all four sequences, she throws up her right hand, prompting a poorly executed arm jab from Tiburcio, who keeps her head up and straight over her center line. Hamasaki slips the jab and cracks her with the straight.

Tiburcio's success on the feet came mainly from body kicks. In the first sequence, she flashes the jab and straight, drawing a counter straight from Hamasaki, and slams a kick into the exposed ribcage. In the second sequence, she pushes Hamasaki back with a jab-straight and lands the leaping hook as Hamasaki steps back with her lead leg, leaving her feet out of position. Hamasaki attempts to counter, but eats a hard body kick that hurts her and leaves her scrambling for a takedown.

Hamasaki changed up her strategy after being rocked with that body kick late in the first round and began to mix some slick trips into her game.

In the first sequence, she uses throws a right hook that ends up going under Tiburcio's arm and uses it to catch an underhook. She then controls Tiburcio's right bicep and hits an Ouchi gari or inside trip. In the second sequence, she attempts an outside trip but Tiburcio steps back with her right leg to defend. Hamasaki pushes her knee forward, keeping the leg elevated and turning Tiburcio's hips toward the elevated leg, while driving forward to push Tiburcio past her point of balance. In the third sequence, she again uses the left hook to catch an underhook and controls the bicep, before attempting to trip out Tiburcio's far foot. She's unable to get in deep enough, but she adjusts and tries again, this time jumping deeper into the trip and reaping higher on the leg, and succeeds in getting the takedown. In the fourth sequence, she's controlling Tiburcio against the cage when Tiburcio pushes off the cage with her foot and pushes hard into her. Hamasaki uses her own momentum against her, throwing off her balance by pushing with the underhook and pulling down with the overhook, before throwing her with an Uchi mata. In the fifth sequence, Hamasaki catches the kick and hits a beautiful inside trip.

After the first round, the fight consisted mainly of Hamasaki outstriking Tiburcio on the feet and using her trips and top control to beat her on the ground. However, Tiburcio was able to steal the third round with a slick back-take. Hamasaki is controlling Tiburcio on the ground against the cage, as Tiburcio is propped up against the cage, with both arms wrapped around Hamasaki. Tiburcio pushes off the cage with her feet and Hamasaki is thrown forward and moves to a Kesa-Gatame or scarf hold position. The reason this position isn't popular in MMA is because, without a gi, it's very difficult to control an opponent and prevent them from slipping out the back, unless you modify it with a far-side underhook. Hamasaki doesn't get a chance to put in the underhook and senses Tiburcio slipping out the back, so she attempts to turn into her. This moves her left leg closer to Tiburcio's, and Tiburcio slips in the hook and uses it to pull Hamasaki's left leg over, forcing her hips parallel to Tiburcio's and allowing her to get the other hook in.

Ironically, Hamasaki upset the champion by outgrappling her, something that Tiburcio was on the other side of in her last fight. Although one judge scored the fight 48-47 Tiburcio, the fight was a clear, albeit competitve, win for Hamasaki

Tonya Evinger played the role of spoiler against Irene Aldana, putting a halt to the prospect's rise en-route to a dominating fourth round TKO victory.

The most notable part of Aldana's performance was her escape of what appeared to be a fully locked in armbar.

Aldana pushes off the cage and attemps to bridge Evinger over, but Evinger bases out on her hand and takes the arm. Aldana tries to step over, but Evinger rolls. Evinger has her ankles crossed, which makes it more difficult to squeeze her knees together, but allows her to put more pressure on Aldana with her legs and keep her down. This allows her to prevent Aldana from rolling out, but also allows Aldana to freely rotate her shoulder.
When Tonya first rolls over, Aldana has smartly turned her thumb down toward Evinger's chest, taking pressure off her elbow and meaning that what appears to be her elbow dislocating is really just the natural bend of her elbow. This is similar to how Vinny Magalhaes defended the armbar of Fabricio Werdum at ADCC 2011. Evinger tries to adjust and turn Aldana's arm, but in doing so the arm moves off to the side and out from directly between her legs, making it more difficult to put pressure on the elbow. The rotation of Aldana's shoulder from here is made easier by Evinger failing to squeeze her knees together. Aldana bridges and tries to "walk around" the armbar. She fails to escape it outright, but the motion succeeds in turning her thumb back down and taking pressure off. Evinger tries to adjust by putting the arm under her armpit, but this brings her body close to Aldana, who tries to get her leg around Evinger's head. Evinger abandons that attempt and brings her body back, further away from the legs of Aldana, and Aldana again tries to walk around.

As Aldana attempts to walk around, Evinger holds the arm steady with her right hand and uses her left to turn the wrist, facing Aldana's thumb up and allowing her to resume pressuring the elbow.

Evinger pressures the arm and there appears to be a pop in Aldana's elbow, but again, it's the natural bend of her elbow as she turns her thumb down. Evinger manages to turn it right back up after.

Aldana is in trouble now and Evinger starts cranking on the armbar, but Aldana turns away and again succeeds in rotating her shoulder and turning her thumb down. Evinger relieves the pressure for a moment to tuck the arm under her other armpit, but she uncrosses her legs and Aldana takes the opportunity to pop the leg over her face up and begin turning into Evinger. Evinger takes the leg across Aldana's chest and clamps it down on her shoulder to push her back down and gets the other leg back over her face. However, because Evinger now has the leg over Aldana's shoulder, her far arm is no longer trapped between Evinger's legs and she uses it to pop up the bottom leg and slip out the back.

The Cyborg fight went exactly as one would expect a fight between Cyborg and an overmatched opponent to go. Cyborg quickly pushed Van Duin to the cage after an exchange in the middle. Van Duin looked for a head-and-arm throw, but Cyborg pulled her head out and snuck around to Van Duin's back, before breaking the clinch with a hard punch.

They reset and Cyborg proceeded to walk Van Duin down with feints, forcing her to the cage, before unleashing a brutal flurry closed by a knee to the body that sent Van Duin to the mat. Cyborg followed up with the obligatory ground and pound for an easy TKO victory.

Elsewhere on the card, Amber Brown stomped Catherine Costigan and Amber Leibrock taught Marina Shafir a valuable lesson on the importance of head movement.

No comments:

Post a Comment