28 Nov 2012

UFC star GSP strikes with a classic Muay Thai head-high kick

By Patrick Cusick writing for the Bangkok Post newspaper

If further proof were needed to show that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is benefiting from a Muay Thai fusion, then that was delivered in spades by Georges St-Pierre (GSP) in his welterweight championship win against Carlos Condit on November 17.

More recently UFC has warmly welcomed Muay Thai stand-up weapons into the cage as a balance to the on-the-ground submission holds that emanate mostly from Brazilian Ju Jitsu and wrestling techniques.

Canadian fighter St-Pierre showed the value of both boxing and Muay Thai with his early rounds jabs and strike kicks that paved the way for ground-and-pound supremacy in the first two rounds.

But the fight suddently switched in the third round when underdog Condit dropped GSP with a head high kick that would have had the Friday night crowd at Lumpinee Stadium in a frenzy.

The head strike was the closest the fight was to being stopped, which showed again why so many MMA fighters are coming to Thailand to learn Thai grappling and kicking skills.

UFC Middleweight Anderson Silva, who has spent years in Brazil mastering take-down and ground skills, has been a keen observer of the MMA evolution from the sport being primarily a caged ground game of submissions into becoming a more even contest where boxing and Muay Thai skills dominate topside while wrestling and Ju Jitsu submission prevails when the action gets down on the ground.

Unlike boxing where it can take several years for the best fighters to earn the right for a world title, the UFC hierarchy demand that their best combatants face the best in world title match-ups based on fans' demand.

The need to fight-on-demand was acknowledged by Silva when he recently declared that any superfight with him and Georges St-Pierre would happen as soon as directed by UFC President Dana White.

Silva watched the welterweight championship live at the arena cageside and was impressed with GSP's accurate jabs that set up several take-downs and he marveled at how Condit almost stole the fight with a classic Muay Thai kick to the head.

Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has become a frontline UFC star with stand-up skills that would make him a formidable contender in any Muay Thai championship.

There's a lot of talk about a megafight with Silver going up a catch-weight and Jones coming down. That decision will be left to Dana White who seems to favour a superfight between Silva and St-Pierre at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas next May.

The 37-year-old Silver has 33 wins and only four losses and he would like the fight with GSP to be held in Brazil - in front of his home country - and most probably in Rio de Janeiro.

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