Thursday, March 8, 2007

Renzo Gracie's New York Prodigy: Matt Serra

Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show was certainly unique in its own right. It brought together veterans of the sport who have graced the UFC cage before, but could never break through as a legitimate contender despite dominating the MMA game in other organizations.

After all the fire and brimstone was settled, Matt “Terror” Serra came out on top among his welterweight peers. Season 4 was the strongest overall talent the TUF series had ever seen, and with that comes certain benefits such as an immediate title shot for the winners. Therefore, Matt Serra is set to fight the king of the 170-lbs division, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.

Matt Serra Fighting Style Analysis – Strengths
If you have scoured the internet for videos of Abu Dhabi Championships (World Cup of Grappling), one classic highlight is when Matt Serra Rear-Naked Chokes current Pride Lightweight Champion, Takanori Gomi, which eventually gives Serra the gold medal for the weight class. Strictly grappling speaking, Matt Serra is brilliant. His clinic of submissions and ground control is one to be envied, or if you’re an opponent, one to be feared. Matt Serra is a Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt and one of his star pupils to graduate out of his academy. His ability to not only produce submission clinics but escaping impossible submission holds shows the absolute poetry of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and how it applies to MMA. Serra is also tough as nails when it comes to MMA and bears his absolute heart and soul when he fights. He has never been submitted and only KO’d once in his whole MMA career. Regardless who Serra’s competitor is, Matt Serra is no walk in the park.

Matt Serra Fighting Style Analysis – Weaknesses
Despite showing much improvement over the years, Serra’s major weakness still lies in his stand-up game. For Serra, who’s about to face quite a formidable stand-up, he will need to come to the cage with a thoroughly planned strategy in order to compensate his striking deficiency. However, fighters with proficient striking have posed problems for him in the past with the likes of Shonie Carter, Din Thomas, and BJ Penn. Now that he is facing GSP, the past might certainly repeat itself. Furthermore, Matt Serra, for the majority of his fighting career, has been fighting in the Lightweight division. His recent move up to Welterweight seems make him more explosive since he doesn’t have to cut as much weight, but comparatively speaking, Serra is very small for a Welterweight fighter. Fighters like George St. Pierre cut a significant amount of weight for weigh-ins, but by the time they enter the Octagon the next day, they have regained approximately ten to fifteen pounds of water weight, whereas Serra practically doesn’t need to cut at all. All-in-all, the weight difference can pose another obstacle in terms of both strength and reach disadvantage.

Match-up Against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69
If the same Georges St. Pierre that entered the Octagon to face Matt Hughes comes out to face Matt Serra, Serra will have “The Terror” turn on himself. Georges St. Pierre is simply at the top of his game and could very well dominate his division a la Chuck Liddell is doing in his division. In order for Matt Serra to really be dangerous and neutralize George St. Pierre, is to take this fight to the mat and take top position. GSP is very good on the ground, but off his back has shown a level of weakness and has a tendency to get caught in the most simple of submissions. However, GSP is so hard to take down that Matt Hughes was having fits with engaging. Serra needs to try and work on taking low singles against GSP and do anything in his power to get GSP on his back and hold him there. Otherwise, Serra might need a lot of stitches and rest to heal the damage he will undergo in this fight.

- Bardia Mehrabian BuddyTV Staff Columnist

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