This week’s fight was Daniel Spohn from Team Penn versus Team Edgar’s Todd Monaghan in the first light heavyweight matchup.The promos leading into this week would have you believe that there was a big knockout coming. It did not happen and Dana White was confused by the fight. He added to the confusion by criticizing one fighter for not listening to his coach. Then he criticizes the other fighter for listening to his coaches.
Make up your mind Dana.
First, he did not understand why Spohn decided to wrestle Monaghan. He rocked him early with a left hand and then went for a takedown. Which was the game plan that BJ Penn and his coaches had devised.
If Dana did not like Spohn’s approach to the fight then his criticism starts with the coaches who devised it.
They wanted to catch Monaghan looking for the standup and take him down to the ground. The plan was to work more ground and pound but Monaghan did a good job of keeping Spohn busy from the bottom threatening several times with a kimura.
In the second round Dana felt like Spohn did not do much with a dominant position. He did not do a lot of damage from the top he did however get Monaghan’s back and was going for a RNC; a move that Dana also criticized Spohn for not throwing punches from that position. Instead, Spohn did exactly what his coach BJ Penn was telling him to do.
Penn was yelling at him to go for it and when he started to lock it in Penn was yelling, “you got it! You got it!”
Dana’s biggest criticism of Monaghan was not listening to anything that Frankie Edgar or special guest coach Renzo Gracie said during the fight.
It is valid as Monaghan did not appear to even attempt many of the instructions they were giving him but he cannot then turn around and criticize Spohn for doing what he and his coaches wanted him to do in the fight.
While it is easy to criticize a fighter for not listening to their coaches, it is a skill set that not every fighter has available to them.
For many fighters, they have a hard time adjusting during fights. Edgar is one of the best at adapting during a fight and listening to his corner. It is one of the things that separates him from many of his opponents. It is not something that is necessarily easy taught.
It requires the ability to listen in the moment and apply the advice while someone is trying to knock you out. It is also difficult for many athletes to change their game plans. This ability is often one of the things that separate champions and contenders from the rest.
Recently Jon Jones did this in his win over Glover Teixeira. During their fight at UFC 172 Jones changed things up and went inside on Teixeira and dominated the fight. To be able to change things up during a fight you also have to be a well-rounded fighter like a Jon Jones or a Frankie Edgar.
It will be interesting to see if he can help his team with that skill during this season.
Penn wanted Spohn to take the fight to the ground to not only get the win but to all keep Spohn healthy. You have to fight frequently to get through this show up to three times in six weeks to get to the finals.
Spohn now has two of those fights out of the way and one more win and he will be in the finals. He was happy with his performance and that he showed some more of his skills. His takedowns from this fight will force his future opponents to worry about them and that could create some openings in up the standup.
After the fight, Monaghan reflected that he was not even worried about the takedown going into the fight, which shows how smart Penn’s and his coaches game plan was for Spohn for this fight. They caught Monaghan looking for standup and they got their fighter through to the next round injury free.
It was good to see Monaghan take responsibility for this loss. He was preparing for a standup fight as he put it, not a MMA fight, and that cost him. He also had one of the best ground fighters in the world in Renzo Gracie to work with in preparation with his fight.
If he can learn the lessons from this fight it will help him grow as a fighter.
Monaghan did lose but he did not take a lot of damage. That is important on this show as injuries can happen and he can step in if needed during the rest of the season.
Spohn is in a great position going into the next round. He came out of the fight healthy and displayed a well-rounded skill set. He will be a difficult matchup for his next opponent. He also showed the ability to listen to his coaches and is eager to learn.
Both teams have strong coaching staffs and often times it is the fighter who grows the most during the show that wins the whole season. Kelvin Gastelum from TUF 17 being one of the best recent examples. He continued to improve the whole season until he won it.
Dana was excited about next week’s matchup between Tim Williams from Team Penn taking on Dhiego Lima. It should be fun fight according to him. There will be a preview and breakdown of that fight coming early next week right here.
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