Tale of Two Kings
TJ versus Renan 2 could be the biggest rematch in UFC history, for simple reasons Renan want to prove that the only reason he lost was because of the early straight right counter shot that rocked him. While TJ is proving that he is the new King at bantamweight. Its become this new pattern for combat athletes having a rematch after a title fight where the champion loses in either a close fight or if they lose in spectacular fashion. It seems to be the new thing and will usually happen if the fighters are healthy and aren’t trying to get the location of the fight changed. This article http://fightland.vice.com/blog/killing-the-king-renan-barao by Jack Slack of Vice Fightland detailed the habits and tendencies that Renan has had since his pro carer started. Then read the breakdown of what TJ did to defeat Renan he combined the things analyst said would happen when Renan was supposed to fight Dominick Cruz elusive footwork turning the corner when escaping to counter off of Renan’s wild strikes. Using a Nick Diaz style of boxing where you keep an even burn and never fully commit to every shot, then you see how ghost like TJ was. Then out of nowhere a Dutch kick boxer with Detroit Kronk style defense would unload shots, and disappear like smoke.
So what should you expect from this bout; well expect fireworks and drama leading up and inside the cage. Starting with the fight camps Alpha Male and Bang Muay Thai for TJ and Nova Uniao for Barao. TJ is sticking with what got him to the dance he’s staying with the Alpha Male family for that insane grappling and cardio work, as well as being in the gym with a bunch of killers that are either bigger, faster, or stronger than he is. The other very important key is his work with Duane Bang Ludwig something I think Chad was lacking in his 12 day for Conor. TJ is the only brown belt under the Ludwig system and has exemplified it the best out of all the Alpha MAle fighters. Now it’s not just the drilling he gets or a certain combination it’s all that and more. The more is that Duane is as Joe Rogan and others like Bas Rutten have called him, he is a crazy psycho striking wizard. We are talking about a coach who is analyzing the opponent to dissect everything that can be used to land shots, and force Renan in this case to get off balance.
Now for Renan at Nova Onai again the other top lower weight class in mma. Renan was more then likely training with Jose Aldo helping him get ready for Conor McGregor. The Nova camp mirrors the Alpha Male team but in the Brazilian way. They have a pound for pound champion in the camp, there striking is very good but different very old skool Chute Boxe style striking with a heavy emphasis on pure Muay Thai and boxing. The ground game is based in wrestling but in world class top flight BJJ, look at Jose Aldo as soon as he hits the ground if you can get him there he is like a spring right back to his feet. Renan is a different beast because he’s looking to submit form his back or to sweep and take your back and submit. The heel of this camp seems to be the conditioning do to the weight cut, Renan missed his immediate rematch with TJ do to his body shutting down when he was trying to cut down to 135. There seems to be an ongoing problem with this seems to be an issue at Nova Onia. The x factor for Renan is something I alluded to with Jose vs Conor, his new training partner in Jonas Bilharinho who seems to have the uncanny ability to doppelganger any fighter and do it with few flaws if any when it come to footwork and speed. This all could play a role in us seeing a newly evolved Renan. That’s assuming Renan has accepted his lose and learned from it along with his head coach. If he has not we’ll see a faster version of the first fight. If the changes have been made we will see a brilliant fight and it’s anyones guess who wins this one, the argument could be made at least.
Now for the technical this bout is just a display in the tactical, from the TJ viewpoint its the footwork its the placement in shots its the beautiful grappling from the top and the take down. For Barao it’s counter striking and explosive unorthodox kicks, and a phantom ability to take the back and submit with a high level black belt proficiency. How Barao will counter the footwork of TJ is anyone’s guess in my opinion he has to stay relaxed and calm. Keeping from over extending on shots, where TJ has already disappeared from that area and appears suddenly on the off angle landing punches and kicks with the swiftness. The skill level here is high but the aura that many believed about Barao is gone, many thought Barao had amazing striking I never thought that. I knew that Barao focused on on exploding threw shots and blasting you with a wild kick, and then getting the KO because of his size at 135 lbs or submitting them after stunning them.
Anything can happen in the cage so TJ could do a repeat or do it faster he could lose. In spectacular fashion with Renan returning as the king that has evolved his game or he could get KO’d.