UFC 145: 5 Things Brendan Schaub Needs to Improve
Just one short year ago, Schaub had reeled off four straight wins and positioned himself rather close to the heavyweight title.
As a wise man once said, "The times they are a-changin'."
It would be in the best interest of Brendan Schaub to halt this growing trend of knockout losses and return to his winning ways sooner rather than later. As it is, he is already in severe danger of being stuck in the gatekeeper mud.
Here, we'll take a look at five things the heavyweight slugger can do to right the ship and return to contention sooner, rather than later.
Improve Stand-Up Defense
Let's start with the obvious one.
Bleacher Report commenters have recently diagnosed Schaub with "Arlovskitis," a condition that prohibits the sufferer from remaining conscious if hit to the head.
The best thing Schaub could do to improve as a fighter would be to have a new chin grafted onto his face via plastic surgery. I'm thinking the Urijah Faber look would suit him well.
But since the results of plastic surgery are aesthetic and no more, the next best thing for Schaub is to try to avoid being hit in the first place.
He is a good boxer with lots of power and quick hands, but no fighter with a suspect chin can be as reckless as Schaub. He needs to improve his technical defense and remain more collected when he has an opponent on the defensive.
If he is able to do this, he has a shot at breaking the pattern of knockout losses he has set for himself.
Schaub's time as a UFC fighter has been almost exclusively spent on the feet. At one point, this seemed to suit him fine, but as he continues to wake up to see opponents celebrating, it might be time for him to rethink this business model a touch.
If Schaub could develop a decent double-leg takedown it would vary his attack. He could mix in shots with his punches and keep his opponent off guard.
He is a strong fellow and hits like a hammer. If he was throwing haymakers from the guard he could do some real damage.
And for those times he did want to keep it on the feet, he would be better able to do so. No one has really challenged him in this regard as of yet, but controlling where the fight takes place is never a bad skill to have.
Become Less One-Dimensional
In conjunction with improving and using his wrestling, Schaub needs to expand his game as a whole.
Time spent shooting for takedowns, grounding and pounding opponents, and working for submissions is all time not spent being punched in the face.
For Schaub, this means less time spent being unconscious.
If Schaub fails to to diversify his game, opponents are not going to struggle to beat him. His weak chin is a poorly kept secret, and fighters know that if they stay in the pocket and exchange with Schaub chances are good that they will knock him out.
It's time for the "Hybrid" to actually be more than a boxer.
Use His Range Better
Despite the annoyance of chronically being knocked out, Schaub likes to box. And, luckily, he is quite good at it—aside from the being knocked out all the time thing.
While the suggestion to diversify his game remains, he should not—cannot—abandon his striking completely.
Schaub has very fast hands and significant power. When harnessed properly, these attributes make for valuable tools.
Rather than chasing opponents around and staying in the pocket, Schaub needs to rely on head movement, foot movement and his jab to dictate the pace of his fights. He did this against Mirko Cro Cop and won, but abandoned the strategy after the fight for an unspecified reason.
If Schaub uses his speed and power to land shots in volume, he will be an extremely dangerous striker in the UFC's heavyweight division.
Tighten Up the Holes
While it's all well and good to suggest a fighter change his game plan from striking only to a rounded attack, the fighter must be adequately prepared in every area of the game to adopt such a recommendation.
We haven't seen much of Schaub's ground game, nor his wrestling, though the latter gave him some troubles during his time on The Ultimate Fighter.
Schaub needs to diversify his game, but before he does that he needs to make sure his jiu-jitsu and wrestling are both at the level they need to be for him to succeed in the heavyweight division.