CM Punk’s Path to Victory
CM Punk is a huge underdog, and with good reason. He’s got no competitive martial arts experience and is fighting a legit prospect. Still, he has the skills required to win this fight, and the smarts and toughness to apply them. This is his path to victory.
First things first, CM Punk wasn’t a complete novice before he started all this. Sure, he was a white belt. But many fighters said his BJJ skills extended beyond that, he just never trained in the Gi enough to get a belt promotion. Those grappling instincts were also made evident through his chosen strategies in lots of the sparring sessions that have been aired. He’s repeatedly claimed his biggest advantage for this fight is his ability to dictate where it takes place. He shoots for takedowns often, despite enjoying a brawl. His style is that of a grinder. That’s good, that’s what he’ll need to be to win this fight.
He doesn’t have to be better at grappling than BJJ wizard, Mickey Gall, to beat him on the ground. Punk just has to put himself in the right positions and inflict damage while keeping himself out of trouble. How can he do that?
Clean Wrestling Technique
For him to use this strategy, it starts with top position. To get there, he needs to have efficient, old-man takedowns. The beginning of this Embedded video shows that he has great instincts for that, executing clean takedowns in close quarters. That’s the kind of grinding fight he will need to pursue in order to win. His movement and sharpness in those drills show that he has the muscle memory and knowledge to utilize those takedowns. He just needs to force that position without getting hurt and execute what he knows in a live fight.
Heavy Ground and Pound
CM Punk clearly has heavy GnP, as you can see from the punches he throws on the ground at 15:33 of this video. He pulls his arms back, throws his body into those shots and keeps a strong base while doing so.
There was also a candid quote from Scott Cushman about Punk’s punching power. He used the tone of someone who was pleasantly surprised, as it was still early in Punk’s training. It doesn’t seem biased, because there were plenty of times where they said Punk did things that they didn’t like. In light of all that, it seemed genuine. Anyway, it’s quite evident from the videos released that Punk does hit hard, and he’d be wise to use it in the form of GnP to wear Mickey down and score points, if not set up the finish.
The Wild Card – The Guillotine
Anthony Pettis’s guillotine is one of the best P4P MMA submissions on the planet. In general, the guillotine lends itself well to being something inferior fighters can use to beat superior fighters.
The physical technique required to use it is not a tough task which makes it easy for newbies to pull off, let alone someone as experienced as Pettis. In this sport, the best of the best are becoming harder and harder to finish. Yet Pettis still finds a way to latch onto that guillotine in the transition phases of a fight, catching BJJ black belts who normally don’t tap.
It’s great in scrambles, when the other person is focused on something else. There are many times in a fight where someone leans their head a little low due to being tired, shooting awkwardly, getting worried on the feet and ducking out of the way, etc. All that combined with it being quick to apply makes it the perfect wild card move in a fight.
Those of you who are real rasslin’ fans also know how similar it is to a front face lock, the classic shoot move. I find it hard to believe that Punk didn’t take well to a guillotine lesson from Pettis, keep an eye out for it.
What CM Punk Should Not Do
Facebook Video of CM Punk Sparring
Looking at this recent video of CM Punk sparring, it’s obviously a tech session so he’s not going hard. But that makes his fundamental mistakes even more glaring. He drops his hands and steps into the pocket with his chin up. He does look comfortable on the feet and moves much better than the ‘wounded animal’ he was portrayed as early on. As mentioned before, he has power too. Still, it wouldn’t be a good strategy for him to keep this fight on the feet.
We all saw the gifs that made the social media rounds taken from 19:05 of this video, where he gets seriously rocked. That could just be him adapting to get hit in the head, which happens to everyone when they start sparring. This scene was early in his training, so that would be understandable. But with his history of concussions in the WWE, it’s very dangerous to get into a slugfest. There’s a chance his chin could already be cooked.
Gall is flawed as a striker, but he hasn’t taken any damage in his career and still does a lot of things right. He has punching power and the solid striking structure to be effective using it. His mechanics are sloppy which is why he’s still very hittable, but it is too risky for CM to stand and trade with him.
Lack of Pressure For Punk
All the pressure is on Gall. Punk is supposed to lose. If that’s what happens, that’s what people expect. It’s Gall that is the biggest favourite on the card. He’s supposed to run right through Punk in the first round. If that doesn’t happen, his confidence will take a hit.
CM Punk won’t be afraid of the crowds, he’s used to them. He’s looking at this like it’s just a fight, and he’s more than ready for it. He has an intensity that’s real, he always throws back in firefights. The stress won’t get to him, he won’t perform any less than what he’s capable of. He won’t wilt due to pressure.
CM Punk Represents What the Martial Arts Are All About
It’s ironic that many ‘hardcore’ fans are unhappy with this situation, because CM Punk’s road to the octagon is ultimately what the martial arts are all about. Can a strong mind lead an older, injury-ravaged body to victory against a young, skilled, physically superior killer? Can Punk push himself to the limit to learn the best and most effective techniques required in order to win?
CM Punk losing wouldn’t necessarily answer those questions in the negative, but the result isn’t even relevant. Punk did this to learn more about himself and grow in the process. He felt like he was doing a job in the WWE, now he feels like he’s living his purpose. This fight is a chapter in that journey. That’s what the martial arts have always been about, and any true MMA fan should appreciate that.
Most of my head says Gall wins this because most of the ways to win are in his favour. Still, I BELIEVE Punk can do it. He is a smart guy and he’s dedicated, he knows how to follow the path to victory. Punk wears Gall down with wrestling and hard GnP before getting a guillotine or TKO stoppage in the third.