NEW PUNK WORKOUT VIDEO FOOTAGE
Fox Sports 1’s “The Evolution of Punk” has shocked many MMA fans at how rudimentary C.M. Punk’s MMA skills were as he began preparations for his first UFC fight. Now, a video streamed live on UFC’s Facebook page yesterday may give observers a little more confidence that Punk can hold his own inside the Octagon.
After an inaudible discussion between Punk and Duke Roufus, the video has Punk at Roufusport working, at a slow pace, on some striking and clinching drills. Right before the training began, Roufus can be heard telling the group to practice “not getting hit.”
While the pace is slow, it’s apparent quickly that Punk is more confident in his striking and looks less like he doesn’t belong than he did in the early training footage used in “The Evolution of Punk.” Striking coach Scott Cushman can be seen working closely with Punk and gave him advice as the training went on.
Towards the end of the 30 minute video, the intensity of the sparring picked up as he worked with a visibly larger partner with Roufus looking on and providing guidance. At another point Roufus can be heard shouting “30 seconds,” which was followed by a takedown attempt by Punk that he did eventually complete. It appeared that his partner was resisting the takedown attempt and didn’t allow Punk to take him down. Punk then worked briefly for a rear naked choke, but he lost position and his partner ended up on top as the bell went to end the round of sparring.
After another final 30 seconds of takedown attempts, the bell sounds and Punk lies down on the mat to catch his breath before walking to a corner where he takes off his gloves and sits down, alone, visibly exhausted.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: There’s a lot you can take away from this video, but it can’t be relied upon as an absolute indicator of Punk’s progression. His striking has improved, as one would hope after a year and a half of training with top level coaches, but it’s hard to gauge if he has any power in his striking to phase the much younger Mickey Gall. I found it interesting that there was a pattern of going for takedowns at the end of the sparring rounds. This could just be a drill to push Punk when he’s at his most tired or it could be a peek at a strategy to “steal rounds” by landing late takedowns to influence the judges. When on the ground, Punk’s grappling ability did not look any more developed than his striking, perhaps less so, so that may also explain only going for takedowns late in rounds. That would give Punk enough time to get a takedown and hopefully hold position as the round ends and before Gall can get up or reverse. “Don’t get hit” is probably the most sound advice you can give Punk after everything we’ve seen and heard in the last year and a half. UFC 203 is going to be very interesting to watch. I’m personally looking forward to it very much.
TUESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS
-Iain Kidd of Bloody Elbow presented a very thorough analysis of Robbie Lawler’s drug test results heading into his fight with Rory MacDonald at UFC 189. Lawler Luteinizing Hormone levels were 64.2mlU/mL. A level over 20 prompts further testing. Elevated Luteinizing Hormone levels can be an indicator of PED use but is not proof of PED use in and of itself. These tests were conducted before USADA began testing UFC fighters in July 2015.
-Dana White told NBC Sports Radio that he won’t be stripping Conor McGregor of his Featherweight Championship, but McGregor has to make a decision to either defend his title or vacate it and move on to other things.
-Ben Henderson led the Bellator 160 payroll making a flat $75,000 for the fight with no win bonus.
-Cole Miller will fight UFC “Road to Japan” co-winner Mizuto Hirota at Fight Night: Manila on October 15. Also on the card, Soo Hee Ham will meet Danielle Taylor in a strawweight fight, reports Bloody Elbow.
-Former Bellator title challenger Marcin Held has signed with UFC.
CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S NEWS DIGEST HERE: As if Jon Jones didn’t have enough to deal with, he’s being taken to court by a fan
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Michael Hiscoe is a new MMATorch live events reporter and editorial columnist. He has written reviews for movie websites such as DVDTown.com and MovieMet.com in the past. He has been an avid follower of MMA for over 10 years and now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)