Jiu-Jitsu lessons from one who got the mount but lost in the UFC

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Fabricio Morango monta em Melvin Guillard montou mas nao levou no UFC

Fabricio Morango punishes Melvin Guillard at UFC 148: he got the mount but not the win. Photo by Josh Hedges/UFC publicity.

What do Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Marcus Bochecha and Melvin Guillard have in common?

Recently, all of them won fights even after have been dominated and mounted. It’s a trend that is becoming all the more common, although perhaps meaningless, in the UFC; but one that has even reared its head at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, as with the case of Bochecha in his match against Rodolfo Vieira.

Bothered by the frequency of this occurrence, GRACIEMAG.com had a talk with Jiu-Jitsu black belt Fabricio “Morango” Camões, one of the latest to witness it up close, real close, at UFC 148.

“It’s truly frustrating when it happens to us,” said the Gracie Humaitá fighter after dropping a judges’ decision to Melvin Guillard.

The highlights of the conversation and Morango’s reflections follow:

1. ISSUE OF TIME IN MMA

“Everyone who steps into that octagon knows they’re going to do some things wrong and other things right, and they learn from their mistakes. My coaches were satisfied with my appearance; Melvin is one of the top dogs in that weight group and I did alright. I messed up some at the end of each round, like the spinning punch and spinning kick, and he capitalized on those mistakes. In the mount, I sensed that he was really prepared and savvy in defending. I feared time was running out and wasn’t sure whether I should drop bombs on him or go for his arm, and he capitalized on that to push my knee and shrimp out of the position. I’m going to fix that, because it’s frustrating when it happens to us; mounting is too good a position.

2. THE MOUNT AND A LESSON FROM RICKSON GRACIE

“I was talking to Rickson about Jiu-Jitsu and MMA one time, and he told me this: ‘When you get the mount in MMA, what’s important is to not let the position get away from you. You can’t digress; you have to maintain control of the guy, and after that you can naturally go on to end the fight.’ And if I hadn’t let him get out, eventually he’d have offered up an arm or turned his back, or at least I would have scored some points at the end of the round and maybe won the judges’ decision. I’m going to work on some finer details of my mount with Royler so I don’t let the position slip away again.”

3. THE TACTICS ISSUE

So we asked him whether everyone isn’t just a lot better prepared to defend these days, and whether black belts might be neglecting practicing the mount in training. Morango feels it’s more of a physical issue than a technical one: “You can see that Melvin never stopped for a moment. He was bridging the whole time, turning sideways to make room, and he was exploding to get out the whole time. Folks are really studying mount escapes a lot, mainly the athletes who know they might end up there. It’s a question of survival. And they’re strong and explosive enough to get out, but the key is really for us to not go off halfcocked and keep top position at all costs. The knockout or submission will come around naturally, I believe,” he said.

4. ISSUE OF THE JUDGES

“It really does seem to me that it’s becoming more and more common to see someone get the mount and still lose the fight, but there’s one side of the debate that bothers me. Could it be that the judges don’t understand just how valuable the mount is? Is the guy getting the mount scoring the points the position he achieved is worth? I don’t think so. You can even hear the crowd cheering more when a fighter escapes mount than when one tries for a submission or to mount. That falls under another question. The way I see it, the judges aren’t rewarding the one who gets in there looking to win and finish, but the one who’s in there not to lose. All the guy does is defend, doesn’t expose himself, doesn’t try for the takedown, and some judges fall for it. At UFC 148 the judges showed they were using different criteria, because my fight and Tibau’s were similar. If I lost, then Tibau won. Tito Ortiz got the takedown and took it to the ground, and the judges felt he lost. I feel that more and more they’re rewarding the ones who train to stall, the ones who train not to fight, and we’re left asking the question: Would it be better if we just trained not to expose ourselves, rather that train to get the submission or knockout, in the UFC?”

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