After watching UFC 119, I realize that some of the fighters had changed their style of fighting. I believe they do it to win one of several bonuses the UFC gives to fighters.
A fighter has a chance of winning one of several of the bonuses of the night -- "Submission of the Night", "Knockout of the Night", or "Fight of the Night".
Some times the bonuses are more than the fighters are making for the fight. For UFC 119, the bonus pay out was $70,000.
Should a fighter be rewarded for abandoning his style of fighting and deciding to stand toe-to-toe with his opponent? What if they do so not because it’s a better strategy, but because bonuses are paid out to fighters that are engaged in a back and forth war.
Shouldn’t he be fighting to win the fight with the skills he has displayed in getting him to this point in his career?
I understand if a fighter changes his plans because his strategy for the fight isn’t working. Most guys make adjustments throughout the fight. But if you are a ground guy and you decide to stand toe-to-toe and fight and you get beat for three rounds, what was the logic in that?
At UFC 116, welterweight Daniel Roberts almost lost trying to win a bonus check. Speaking to mmajunkie.com, Roberts said, "I’m definitely happy I won, but that by far wasn’t my best performance.
“I’m not going to beat myself up too bad, but there’s definitely a lot of stuff I did wrong. For one, I was kind of concentrating on a ‘Submission of the Night’ bonus. I was like, ‘I’ve got to take him down and submit him. Take him down and submit him.’ That’s normally not how I think when I fight. I usually have more rage in there.
“I could have definitely used [the money]. But I’m not going to worry about stuff like that anymore. I’m just going to stop my opponent any way possible. … I’m just thinking damage. The more damage I can do, that’s the way I usually fight, and I didn’t fight like that. So I’m a little upset with my performance.
“I had a one-track mind. ‘Take him down and submit him.’"
Matchmakers put bouts together based on contrasting fighting styles.
In my opinion, UFC 119 had its share of fighters changing their approach to fighting. A prime example was in the Matt Serra versus Chris Lytle fight.
When Serra and Lytle first fought in 2007 at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 finale, Serra won by taking Lytle to the ground and using his Jiu-Jitsu and submission game. It’s what he does best.
Serra won first place at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Pan American games in 1999 and he has competed in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, choking out Takanori Gomi. He took on a MMA fighter that was a former pro boxer with 15 professional boxing fights in Chris “Lights Out” Lytle.
Two fighters with contrasting styles should have been a perfect combination, right? No
Serra decided to stand toe-to-toe and fight Lytle and not take him to the ground. So we watched a boxing match. And now I know why I don’t watch boxing as much anymore.
It can be boring.
In Serra's previous two bouts, he had won one of the bonuses of the night. Against Frank Trigg at UFC 109 he earned “Knockout of the Night”, and against Matt Hughes at UFC 98 he won “Fight of the Night”. In the fight with Trigg he doubled his purse, from $75,000 to $150,000, and in the fight with Hughes he went from $75,000 to $135,000 by winning the bonus.
So you can see why a fighter would want to try and win one of the several bonuses of the night.
Lytle, in his last 10 bouts, has won a “bonus of the night” seven times.
I believe if you are going to give out bonuses, it should only be for winning your bout. If you win, you double your purse. Then only will a fighter look to win their match with the style that got them there in the first place.
UFC President Dana White saved some money by not giving out the “Knockout of the Night” bonus at UFC 119. If only we could have saved some money and not gotten such a weak card.