Friday, June 27, 2008

MMA for the Street: Smith vs. Yoshida

This is the first in a series of MMA video clips which I will break down from a "street" perspective, since I am so "street." Ok, despite my lack of "street cred," I will still break them down for your edification.

The first one is this Maurice Smith vs. Hidehiko Yoshida clip. For background, Maurice Smith is one of the best heavyweight kickboxing fighters of all time. He's a striker who went from WKA to K-1, then to MMA. Having defeated both Marco Ruas and Mark Coleman, he's no slouch. His opponent in the white gi, was a world-class Judo-ka. In fact, Mr. Yoshida won a gold medal in the '92 games.

Stage set?

Watch it first before reading the analysis.

Have you seen it? Yes? Ok then, let's talk about this one.

Tactically, Smith was pretty sound, trying to stay away and strike versus a superior grappler. For a while... The advantage in the clinch and on the ground would obviously belong to the Judo man, so Yoshida nullified or defended the striking well, then closed and took the bigger man to the ground. Well, Yoshida did that.

From a self-defense perspective, Smith nearly did what he should have done from the position he was in (Kesa Gatame or the scarf position) - gouge the eyes. If he had actually done it, and quickly, it may have caused Yoshida to release the hold. As it was, he was prevented from doing so by the rules.

Any other ideas?



Anonymous said...

(I've only been following your blog for a few days now - some good stuff here, keep up the good writing)

Well, speaking from my very limited training experience...

I'm surprised that Smith was so easily backed into the corner by Yoshida; he had fewer options to move once Yoshida went in for the hold. A little shuffle left or right might have prevented that.

I didn't see a lot of effective striking on Smith's part, despite his background and achievements, but perhaps he was just getting a feel for Yoshida. Smith moved well (better than Yoshida, in fact), but it didn't translate into anything.

From a self-defense perspective, I agree, once he was down, Smith was in a good position to do an eye gouge or grab Yoshida's throat.

That's my two cents...
(there's an error on your comment page, my url is

Nathan at TDA Training said...

Welcome to TDA Training, and thanks for the thoughtful comments.

I know it's easy to do some Monday AM quarterbacking, but I can't fault you for that, as that's what most blogs and posts are. I'd venture that Smith got caught. Plain and simple. Sometimes you fake left and go right, sometimes you just go right. Other times you think about it and get caught while thinking. It happens. Tactically, you're right, though, IMO; more sticking and moving would've worked.

The other issue "effective striking" is true. It didn't showcase what Smith can do, but every time you completely commit (including striking), you create an opening. Yoshida is no slouch in the striking department and has an iron chin, so I can understand. It did have a tentative feel to it (the fight), but it was the beginning of the match.

Not sure where you meant there was an error. I'll look around.

Great comments. Thanks.