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Chris Oth | Knuckle Junkies

On The Mat: Wrestling in the UFC

By Jerry Chavez | Chavez Photography

Let me begin this month's column by saying that Tyler Bishop's article titled "3 Ways to Improve Outside of the Academy" is an excellent read. He is absolutely correct in pointing out how important it is to improve your body mechanics, use online resources to refine techniques and to set goals and create game plans to achieve them. Many if not all of these same principles apply to improvement in wrestling and MMA as well. Great job Tyler.

As we saw in the last two UFC events, wrestling can be utilized in various ways to achieve victory inside of the cage. Daniel Cormier used clinch work, cage control and his ability to press Frank Mir against the cage to keep the fight in the positions he wanted. He was able to inflict damage while avoiding the historically highly effective jiu jitsu game of Mir and grind out a dominant and decisive victory. This past weekend Jon Jones used his takedown offense to take Chael Sonnen to the floor and earn the TKO victory in spite of suffering a broken toe. These are just two examples of how wrestling techniques and strategies can be used successfully.

While most MMA fighters have a specific martial art they favor, it is critical that every MMA fighter have at least a basic ability to grapple and/or wrestle. In the case of a fighter like Georges St Pierre, he uses his ability to take his opponent down and win round after round while inflicting damage and taking very little himself. One of the most impressive things about him is that he learned wrestling later in life and has become very proficient at it, especially from an MMA point of view. While some complain that his fights are boring and he doesn't finish his opponents often enough, his domination and control are both impressive and almost artistic from a grappler's point of view.

Jose Aldo is another UFC champion he favors a different set of skills. He is a very impressive striker with a background in Brazilian jiu jitsu. One of the things that makes him such a dominant fighter is his ability to stuff the takedown attempts of some of the best wrestlers in MMA. His victories over Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar show that having effective wrestling via takedown defense is essential when allowing a fighter to utilize his striking and jiu jitsu arsenal.

On a separate note, FILA, the international governing body of amateur wrestling, is meeting with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) the weekend of May 18th in St Petersburg Russia. This is a critical step in our hope of having amateur wrestling permanently reinstated in the Olympics. I know many of you are helping the cause through emails, Facebook posts, "save Olympic wrestling" T shirt purchases and various other ways. I want to thank all of you for your efforts and I want you to know that our work is not over, it is only just beginning.

Finally, I am proud to announce that I am helping the Adam Muffler Memorial Organization (A.M.M.O.) in their fight against post traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.). Today, 22 veterans are committing suicide every day. Adam Muffler was a returning veteran student at SLU. He was only 24 years old, with two combat tours served when he decide that "everything was unfixable", and that he "couldn't un-see what he'd seen", and took his own life. With the drawdown in effect, we can anticipate a surplus of soldiers in our academic campuses.

With a collaboration of the academic institutions, together with the private and public sectors, this 22 a day count can change. A.M.M.O. will be running a MMA fight on October 26th 2013 at the 11,000 seat Chaifetz Arena as a fundraiser for PTSD awareness. This will be the largest MMA charity fight held in St Louis. They are looking for corporate sponsors, donations, ticket purchases and fighters. Please take a minute to like their page on Facebook at Adam Muffler Memorial Organization and please send them a message if you are willing to help or contribute. Their website is Tickets will be for sale here as well as apparel for the event and updates on who will be fighting and which celebrities will be attending and participating.

As usual, thank you for taking the time to read this column. Good luck and God Bless.