Ryan Hall, a world-famous and undeniably talented MMA fighter, was dominated by the exciting Ilia Topuira on the undercard of Poirer-McGregor 3.
Known internationally for his slippery and masterful Jiu-Jitsu style, Ryan Hall was undefeated in MMA from 2012 up until he met Ilia Topuira in the UFC last night.
As a 3rd Degree Black belt in BJJ, Ryan’s ground game has been the driving factor in his career. He has amassed several very respectful wins in the UFC over names such as Artem Lobov, BJ Penn, Gary Maynard and Darren Elkins- using almost exclusively BJJ.
However, his awkward BJJ based style was not enough against the talented Ilia Topuira.
From the first round Hall’s plan was to attack Topuira’s legs with BJJ, attempting to pull him into submission. Although Ryan’s style amused fans and the star-studded commentary team, this is a real and sometimes effective way of winning fights. It is a style that was used successfully by UFC icons such as Royce Gracie to dominate and submit large and powerful opposition.
To counter this, Topuira avoided engaging with Hall’s BJJ and used ‘ground and pound’ tactics to knock out ‘the wizard’ on his back. Ryan failed to initiate any meaningful attacks and lacked confidence in his striking.
Topuira’s use of ‘ground and pound’ to counter the talented Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is nothing revolutionary. In fact, this style was developed in the early 2000s and showcased by fighters like Mark Coleman and Tito Ortiz, and it proved to be a great way to defeat Jiu-Jitsu fighters who tended to neglect the striking realm of fighting. The evolution of Mixed Martial Arts has shown us time after time that where there is a technique or style that dominates (like BJJ did in the Gracie era), eventually a counter is developed for it.
Topuira, who is Georgian, has been building an impressive record himself and has demonstrated his well rounded grappling and striking game through having several submissions and knockouts on his record, most notably his KO of Damon Jackson on the undercard of Hermansson v Vettori.
The reality at the top level of Modern MMA is that all elite fighters are now true mixed martial artists. Fighters who are not, like the striker Kevin Holland, The wrestler Ben Askren and the Jiu-Jitsu Wizard Ryan Hall, are usually exposed as one dimensional fairly quickly at the top of the UFC.
Hopefully, though, we can see Ryan Hall add a bit more striking confidence to his game in the future because his BJJ is elite. For now, the praise has to go to Topuira for showcasing the evolution of the sport of MMA through a brilliant game plan and composed performance.