The “Stand Up” thesis in Women’s MMA started to take shape last month at Invicta I when decorated Olympic wrestler Randi Miller beat Mollie Estes via decision.
Given Miller's background and preparation, I expected a Mack truck throw and submission. Later that night, even Marloes Coenen couldn’t get her famous submission game on against Romy Ruyssen, who she once taped out back in 2008 via rear-naked choke.
In fact 8 out of the 11 Invicta bouts went the distance with a bout average of 7.03 minutes. Four fights went three rounds.
And at Bellator 69, Jessica Aguilar garnered a narrow unanimous decision 29-28 over Megumi Fujii, who wins via submission 76 percent of the time. Aguilar’s stand-up experience made the difference despite some good attempts by Fujii to take her down and submit. Aguilar quickly bounced the fight back up. Aguilar now has five consecutive wins, with four being via unanimous decision (sherdog.com).
An opposing opinion would be that the ground game of women’s MMA has progressed so much, we are now seeing more stand up as a result. This theory purports that the more solid the ground game, the better the stand up.
Same thing was said for Chuck Liddell's stand up until his unstoppable iron chin turned to glass. One can’t rely on a great stand up for long if their ground game has holes in it. I’m unsure women’s MMA is there yet as we are waiting for our female version of dos Santos, but its an interesting consideration.
So will the stand-up trend continue? We have Invicta II taking place on July 28 in Kansas City headlined by two ground gamers: 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann (5-0) and Shayna "The Queen of Spades" Baszler (14-6), who is known for being a submission specialist. Check out the Invicta site for all scores and fighters.
And we can’t leave out the bout of the summer: Sarah Kaufman vs. Ronda Rousey.
Many believe the only way Kaufmann pulls off the upset is by her outstanding striking power, evidenced by her 15-1 career wins, including one over Miesha Tate. Given Rousey’s ground game, Kaufmann will no doubt attempt to prove my hypothesis is correct.
For those of you interested in a better stand up game, I suggest a quick paperback read of Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts: The Stand Up Game.