Re-watching the main event from last night & recalling the McGregor Vs Mendes main event fight gives me two conclusions.
1. Just because it looks like someone is winning the fight doesn't mean they are actually winning the fight.
2. Wrestling isn't as important as people would like us to think in comparison to other forms of grappling.
Now before you wrestling advocates go off on me, I didn't say wrestling isn't important at all. I am saying that if you have a "wrestling only" approach to grappling you are doing yourself a dis-service.
Wrestling has shown to be a positive for MMA fighters in terms of conditioning & discipline. However fighters who depend too heavily on wrestling (or wrestling alone) find themselves at a huge disadvantage over more well-rounded MMA fighters who have a balanced grappling arsenal.
In last night's fight Tito Ortiz seemed to have an easy time getting Liam McGeary to the mat. It was a sloppy (telegraphed) takedown but Tito did manage to get Liam on his butt & then on his back.
I'm sure Tito supporters will say that the inverted triangle submission "came out of nowhere" and that Tito was "winning the fight until he wasn't" but neither of those are true.
Just like with Conor the McGregor/Mendes fight, Liam remained calm while on his back & was dealing with the attempted ground & pound of his opponent.
And just like with Mendes, Ortiz was thinking he was winning the fight, but this proved to be a false sense of security that was exploited by the fighter on his back that eventually resulted in a win for the non-wrestler.
If you were paying attention, Liam was attempting submissions almost the entire time Tito was on top of him. There were a few moments where Tito did have control of McGeary's hand/wrist, but
because Tito was so focused on GnP he wasn't realizing how he was putting himself into dangerous positions.
Commentator Jimmy Smith recognized that Liam was working for a chance to launch a good submission, and almost as soon as you hear Smith say the phrase "inverted triangle" Ortiz was tapping from that exact technique.
It wasn't a case of "bad luck" for Tito or a "good luck" situation for Liam... what happened last night was a case of preparing for a bad situation & executing the remedy for being put on your back.
Just like with the McGregor/Mendes fight.Chad was thinking that all he needed was a takedown or two and some GnP to win the fight. But that gameplan goes to "poop" if the opponent can withstand punches, or even get back to their feet.
Conor took everything Chad tried to land & then after getting back to his feet McGregor used his superior striking to end the fight.
Ronda Rousey has shown that Judo can be used to not only negate other forms of grappling (such as BJJ and Wrestling) but can be superior to them.
Tito (like Chad) was counting on a "wrestling first" gameplan being all that was necessary to win. That may have worked back when Tito was UFC Light heavyweight Champion... but in this modern era of MMA it is not enough.
Most (successful) fighters have at least a basic understanding of wrestling in addition to other forms of grappling and various styles of striking. The fighters at the top have a well-rounded arsenal of attacks - even if many of the champions in the top promotions have a wrestling background.
The two fights I mentioned show that getting too secure with just one style can lower your chances of success. Just because something used to work in the past doesn't mean it will always work.
Chad Mendes has time to develop a more well-rounded fight attack, but I believe Tito Ortiz is out of time. He is on the wrong side of 40 and last night was his 31st fight. His glory days are in the past, and he should be thinking of what to do after fighting instead of trying to prolong his career beyond his abilities to compete at the top tier of fighting.
Fighting isn't about luck, it's about hard work & preparation... but even that can't keep you competitive forever. Everything has its time. Nobody stays undefeated forever - just like nobody stays champion (or on top) forever.
Tito Ortiz is a victim of age & a narrow approach to his craft. Chad Mendes doesn't have to suffer that fate... just like other fighters don't have to. The lesson to learn from Ortiz Vs McGeary is to prepare for any opponent, and give yourself the best chance for success by having a well-rounded gameplan.