The gap between boxing and mixed martial arts is smaller than it ever was. No thanks to the freakshow fights like Conor McGregor vs. Mayweather or Pacquiao, mind you. It’s in the crossover that happens on many levels with coaches, trainers and specialists moving from sport to sport, erasing the hard lines and selfish differences that once kept the two combat sports in spheres. very separate.
One of boxing’s latest crossovers in MMA is trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas. Atlas has become active in MMA circles lately, helping Francis Ngannou with some striking pointers.
He also spoke out on the outcome of the UFC 253 main event between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa, explaining the psychology behind Adesanya’s victory that helped the middleweight champion roam the bigger Costa and stronger.
“The hits, the victory started with the mental side,” Atlas said on his vidcast The Fight. “It started with the final weigh-in showdown. It showed he wasn’t going to be intimidated, get into her head. He got into his head. He made his opponent Costa to behave the way he wanted, to fight the way he wanted. Almost in a foolish and reckless way for him to take advantage of it. He could take advantage of the bigger guy. The bigger one thought it was enough to be bigger. Blachowicz realized he had to be something other than just the bigger guy. And the big guy here, Costa, thought that was enough to be strong and big and intimidating.
“We used to have a saying, when part of your package, part of your plan is to bully a guy, when that doesn’t work, the bully gets bullied. And that was part of it. He couldn’t mentally intimidate this guy and this guy Adesanya went into his head and knew he could make a puppet out of him. Be a puppeteer where he could pull the strings to him and make him act the way he wanted. Again, reckless, foolish, maybe crazy. And be a walking dead man where there is no trust, no belief, no thought.
“There is only one ship, but the ship has no leadership, no one is running the ship, it’s just a ship at sea that is just a ghost ship,” Atlas concluded. “He made him a ghost ship. He no longer had his will, the will had disappeared. He took his will away, he made the guy believe that he no longer had a say in the fight, that he couldn’t control things. That Adesanya controlled. It’s brilliant. Adesanya’s special.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is Atlas on point here? Did Adesanya really beat Costa mentally before physically flogging him? Or was Costa’s loss the result of secret “problems” (no excuses) that “Borrachinha” had that would explain the defeat?