Monday, March 3, 2014

So How Well Did Mark Eddiva Perform In His UFC Debut?

Last Saturday, Mark Eddiva made history by becoming the first homegrown Filipino mixed martial arts fighter to successfully debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest stage in the world of MMA. He accomplished what his team mate Dave Galera failed to do last January. If you can recall, Galera debuted in the UFC a couple of months ago when he faced Royston Wee in Singapore. He wasn't able to clinch the victory.

When he was contacted by the UFC, Eddiva was torn between heeding the call and focusing his studies in a university in Baguio City. Not willing to forego the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Eddiva answered the call, trained for a tough fight, flew to Macau, China and put on an impressive performance over China's Jumabieke Tuerxun. What's ironic was that he wasn't supposed to win the fight (at least in the eyes of most fans). He was a 4-1 underdog. His ring experience didn't stack well against Tuerxun's, he has fought lesser quality of opponents, and he has been inactive for over three years. Many thought that inexperience and ring rust will cause the Team Lakay fighter's downfall. Eddiva erased all of these thoughts by dominating Tuerxun the whole duration of the fight.

No doubt about it. It was a good showing against a skilled opponent. Eddiva has shown improved fighting skills compared to the last time he entered the cage. He can strike. He can grapple. His takedown defense is more than decent. However, he has a lot of ground to cover before he will be able to hang with the top dogs in his division.

One noticeable attribute of Eddiva which is so unlike most Team Lakay fighters is his composure inside the octagon. He is willing to take his time. He doesn't want to rush things. We have seen so many times in the past how reckless Team Lakay fighters often approach their opponents. If an opponent gets hurt or wobbled a bit, they jump in with reckless abandon. This often opens them up for timed counters. Remember Honorio Banario? He got knocked out twice in two fights by Koji Oishi. You could say part of the reason why this happened was the recklessness in Banario's approach.

Ultimate Fighting Championship/Facebook Page
It's good to notice however that Team Lakay fighters continue to improve and evolve. Every time they enter the cage, we get to see more weapons added to their arsenal. A perfect example of this was the recent showing by Eddiva. He was able to impose his will on Tuerxun. And he mixed his strikes very well. Elbows, punches, jabs, knees - he was throwing these all night with success and accuracy.

No matter how good he looked last Saturday night, there are still a lot of questions hovering over Eddiva. His fight with Tuerxun definitely exposed some of the chinks on his armor. The submission attempts by Tuerxun which put Eddiva in scary waters twice or thrice during the third round are bad signs. Yes, Eddiva was able to get out of the attempts but this begs the question of "What if he was up against a high-level jiu-jitsu fighter?"

In conclusion, Eddiva did a great job in defeating Tuerxun. let's hope we get to see him again this year inside the octagon. Good luck to him.