The concept of challenging any man, any size really comes from the mindset put forth by the Gracies and their brand of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Their craft was the great equalizer. Now that fighters all over the world are gettng well-versed in defending against submissions, is it time for Brazil to open its mind a bit when it comes to developing fighters? It seems like a lot of the recent prospects coming out of Brazil are behind the times with their striking. We get to see another unbeaten fighter on Saturday at UFC 95 in Paulo Thiago. His opponent Josh Koscheck, 10-3 in the UFC, doesn't seem too intimidated by Thiago's jiu-jitsu game:
"He's fighting a guy he's probably watched on TV the last four or five years. He's fighting a guy who's improved tremendously. I definitely think he bit off a little more than he can handle."
Koscheck also thinks that fighting on the big stage saps some fighters:
"Fighting in the cage, in the UFC is definitely different, It takes a period to get used to. The crowds are so intense. You can cut the tension at some of those big fights with a knife. It's a lot for a lot of these guys who haven't been there."
Click to hear Koscheck talk about newcomers in the UFC, Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields (ESPNRadio1100 w/Cofield):
Certainly Brazilian veterans like Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Mauricio Rua, Lyoto Machida and Wanderlei Silva are all dangerous strikers. But we've seen guys like Paulo Filho, Rousimar Palhares, Waggney Fabiano, Rafael Dos Anjos all look a bit awkward on the feet. Yet you're seeing the Brazilians who are training with American Top Team in South Florida like Thiago Alves, Jorge Santiago and Wilson Gouveia coming by leaps and bounds with their hands. Have the American gyms distanced themselves from Brazil in putting out well-rounded fighters?
Join Cage Writer for the UFC 95 postfight show on ESPNRadio1100/Yahoo! Sports. We'll have some of the winners from the event and be joined by guest analyst Ariel Helwani. Show starts at 11:30p PT on Saturday night.
- Josh Koscheck