Elevation, Heavyweights a Bad Combination
In the two heavyweight bouts at UFC
135 on Saturday in Denver, the action often looked like an
underwater brawl in the Mile High City.
In MMA, the relationship between size and stamina is a decidedly
inverse one, especially when comparing weight classes as a whole.
It’s hard to name a single Top 10 lightweight who doesn’t have
excellent stamina, but among the equivalent cohort of heavyweights,
it’s considered a standout trait for a big man to have proven
stamina; if for no other reason than we are surprised when he can
maintain the pace with which he opens the first round.
Denver’s altitude cannot have helped any of the competitors in the
Broughton bouts, both of which evidenced visible fatigue by all
involved. After his decision win over Broughton, Browne didn’t use
the altitude as an excuse for his deceleration, but it had to have
been a factor, as Browne showed a much better gas tank in his draw
with Cheick Kongo
at UFC 120.
Rothwell and Hunt were similarly plagued in what was an exciting
fight, but it was largely defined by Hunt’s half-life of stamina
being slightly longer than that of Rothwell, who looked like he was
halfway to a heart attack over the final minutes.
I’m not saying the heavies should never, ever be used at altitude,
but it does give some second thought to the matchmaking involved
for future events.
Jason Probst can be reached at Jason@jasonprobst.com or
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