I was so excited for the McGregor vs Porier fight. Eric and JK both came over and we geared up to see the most entertaining fighter in the history of the UFC compete. Eric frequently asks me for my ‘takes’ on the fights before they happen, and I told him what I thought would occur.
I mentioned the probability of an early attempted takedown, lots of clinches, but McGregor’s overall versatility, creativity, power and accuracy of the strikes should take the fight. Clearly, that’s what McGregor’s team planned for. After his loss to Khabib and total domination of Donald Ceronne, another striker, the path to victory with McGregor always has seemed to be on the mat. His team and Porier’s team knew this fact, and the first round played out as expected. And after round 1, there was a clear leader as Porier and McGregor went to their corners.
At the very end of round 1, Porier started landing some calf kicks to the lead leg of McGregor. At first, these types of kicks do little damage, but over time, they really add up. By 2 minutes into round 2, McGregor was almost unable to move at all and could put very little weight on his lead leg. You could see McGregor attempting to ‘check’ the kick, which is how you block or limit these kick’s damage, but it was too late. While McGregor started catching Porier’s kicks, Connor didn't have the explosion he needed to really drive Porier back to the cage and unleash his patented striking.
None needed because he already made it. Porier abandoned the takedown and clinch game as the calf kicks have completely stifled McGregor’s silky smooth movements. As the calf kicks continue to land, this opens up the chance for Porier to hammer a straight right to Connor’s face. From there, the lead-footed McGregor could only bob and weave so long before “The Diamond” ended the fight.
Because of this, he ended up with a decisive TKO loss, and the hopes of Khabib in the future dashed for the time being. Once the leg was so badly compromised, Connor really only had one option, which was land the heavy left. The problem was, with his movement and explosion out of the picture, the power left and the super fast straight left counter were weapons with no more ammunition left. Once you’ve missed your chance for an adjustment, the window of time for change is gone.
Players make adjustments in many ways. Some adjustments are slow and take more time (season to season). Others are faster like a game to game or at-bat to at-bat adjustment. The Fastest adjustments, pitch to pitch adjustments, can ONLY be made if the adjustment has been practiced and planned for. In the instance of the McGregor vs Porier, Connor planned for the takedown attempts and clinch game of Porier. He Neutralized that easily. When Plan ‘A’ for Porier didn’t work, and Connor started landing heavy shots, Porier adjusted. Plan ‘B’ for Dustin was the calf kick. This would slow the faster and better striking McGregor down, neutralize his power, and make him much easier to finish.
Most Hitters’ “plan A” is to ‘hit the fastball. But what if that fails? How are you attempting to plan for the instance where a pitcher is lights out with their best fastball? What if they’re hitting their spots, with movement and high velocity? What are you going to do on their secondary pitches? Do you have an approach plan to fix problems when they arise? Are you TRAINING in such a way to prepare for a nasty slider, a wide strike zone, a pitcher with great velocity or movement? The answer is probably not.
In youth baseball and softball, it's obviously almost impossible to ‘plan for a specific pitcher’ as you don’t have scouting reports or information on their pitches or arsenal. My advice is to plan to master your own movements. Have a great ‘fastball swing’ and then practice ‘delaying’ that swing with a front leg adjustment on slower pitches. Make the plan simple. Take your best swing as often as you can on a fastball, and if it’s not a fastball, delay that best swing. Don’t ‘slow down’ the swing during the swing. Instead, delay the delivery of the swing. This is very important and simple to practice, but it must be done deliberately at first before just throwing players into the fire. Here are some articles on adjustments and how to plan for game situations and practice movements that work for Plan A and then adjustments for Plan B.
Now, Like McGregor, you have the chance to go back to the drawing board between seasons, games, at bagts, and if you're prepared and your training is comprehensive, between pitches. Connor will prepare for the newly envogue calf kick attack that Karate stanced fighters are more susceptible to. Will you prepare your approach or movements to make your ‘Plan B’ as effective as possible? Only time will tell.