In todays Blog we will take a look at the 3 major differences to cornering Amateur, pro and Championship Fights. The difference may not be that noticeable for the spectator but it is vital for the Athlete to be aware of these differences and to make the appropriate adjustments for each bout. Let's get into it
1. Rounds Amateur - Amateur MMA Bout consist of 3 min Rounds so it is crucial that your Athlete starts quickly. Once the fights start it is like that by the time you have your first couple of exchanges you will already be + 1min into the Round so if your strategy is to take your opponent down you should implement it quickly, therefore if you land your takedown and secure position you will be halfway through the round and and be in good position to win the Round. On the flip side if you are looking to keep it on the feet you will need to establish your shots quickly, land clean combination and use evasive footwork to show the judge you are the superior striker. A couple of clean combination each round should win you the round. Pro - In the pro ranks we move up to 5mins. The extra 2 mins make a significant difference to the way you will approach the fight. If you push hard to early and don't get the finish you could lose the second half of the round or even worse get finished. Professional fighters will use the first minute or so to get a read on the opponent. Using faints and Fake to read reaction that they can exploit later in the Fight. The 5min round give the grappler more time establish dominant position, set traps and ultimately get the submission or G.N.P finish. Championship - In a Championship or Title fight we move to 5x5mins rounds as it goes, "its not a Sprint, it's a Marathon" and it should be approached that way. Athletes should go into the fight with clear goal regarding which Rounds you want to push the pace in and which round you want to recover in. Eg. Weather the storm of the strong grappler in R1 and R2 then drag them into deep water for R3 to R5. Know what Rounds your competing at and come up with a Game plan and strategy that you can maximise in that time frame.
2. Rule set Amateur - There are many differences in the rule set between Amateur and Pro but lets look at main ones "No elbows, knees to face, twisting leg attacks or Spine attacks". These Rules have been implemented to prevent injuries with long recovery times, which allows Amateurs to compete more regularly and hone their skills and develop their game. "Safety equipment". Most Amateur organisation such as IMMAF (Amateur MMA world body) make there competitors wear 6oz Gloves, shin pads and Rash guards. The gloves and shins help prevent cuts and The Rash guard prevent potential skin on skin infections along with clearly differentiating from the professional game Pro - In the professional game the competitors are being paid to compete and usually receive a bonus if they win. They have the option of using elbows and knees which can cause fight ending cuts and allow your Athlete to get a quick TKO win. Competitors also have more options on the ground with all Submissions available, twisting knee locks and spine attack. These submissions can cause serious injury with long rehabilitation time, so they are more likely to make your opponent tap rather than suffer being out of action for an extended period. Championship - When Athletes compete in a professional Championship/Title Fight the rules don't really change within the Octagon apart from an increase in the rounds which we explained above but there are some changes regarding the official Fight weight (Championship weight) in Professional bouts there is usually a 0.5kg weight allowance but for Championship bouts this is not allowed. Also there may be an increase in Fight purse and win bonus.
3. Pressure Amateur - Training for any MMA Bout is a roller coaster of emotions and there is plenty of pressure on the Athlete and the corner but for Amateurs the main focus should be on gaining experience and developing your fighting style. It is very likely that as an amateur you will experience plenty of wins and loses and at this stage in your career its about learning how to deal with adversity, addressing mistakes you have made, Correcting them and moving forward. "As an Amateur it's doesn't matter about the Wins and losses, what matters is the experience and knowledge gained. When you go pro your back to 0-0". Pro - There is a lot more pressure on you as a professional. It is your job and you get paid based on your performance. If you lose a fight your likely to lose half your potential earnings. You should go into each fight with a clear Game plan and paths to victory. You are also being paid to entertain the fan so you should always be looking to finish your opponent doing so will ultimately grow your brand and give you opportunities for performance and Finish bonuses. As a professional it is very important how you build as a fighter. You need to pick the right opponent at each stage of your career. You need opponents that will test you in all areas of the game but you don't want to compete against opponents that have a lot more experience than you. One you may not be ready for that type of challenge and end up taking a loss or two if you win the fight you may find it difficult to get more evenly matched opponents as you have proved to be skill Fighter. Try to fight to win, look to finish your opponents, take challenging but evenly match opponents. Championship - At this stage of your Career you will have developed your style as a fighter. You will have dealt with all styles and came up with strategies to Win against all opponents. When your competing in a Championship bout your number one goal is to Win. There is two much on the line to be taking major risks. You and your team should have done there research on the opponent and devised a plan to capitalise on holes in their game while having good defensive strategies to deal with your opponents treats. There is a lot on the line when it comes to Championship Fights, Huge Fight purse, PPV deals, Sponsorship, huge media attention. The pressure doesn't get much higher and it is important that you stay focus on what you can control, preparation, Game plan etc and don't read to much into everything else. All the hard work and dedication that got you there will get you the Win. I hope you liked my little insight into the differences between cornering Amateurs, Pro's and Championship athletes. I love to hear you thoughts.
Coach Owen Roddy