(Yep, still painful to watch.)
Want to know how Chuck Liddell’s going to beat “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97? Simple: keep his eyes open and avoid right hands. That’s essentially what Olympic gold medalist boxer Howard Davis Jr., who helped train Liddell for this fight, told MMANews.com. Davis said he spent a lot of time working with Liddell on “avoiding the right hand, slipping and blocking the right.”
That sounds almost so basic as to be stupid, but then you remember Liddell’s recent knockout losses to both Rashad Evans and “Rampage” Jackson. The right hand counter did him in both times. Now he’s got Davis helping him, so, problem solved?
Maybe it’s not that easy, but he’s also been helping Chuck keep his eyes open during the fight:
“Chuck needs to see punches coming at him.” started Davis Jr. “Some fighters close their eyes before a punch hits them and they don’t watch the punch come at them which means they don’t have enough time to slip. I’ll use the analogy of a pitcher throwing the ball at someone who can hit a baseball extremely well like a Barry Bonds or a Hank Aaron. The reason these guys were exceptional was because they could see the ball come out of the pitchers glove and were able to slow the ball down so to speak so they could hit it. It’s the same with defense. If you don’t see the punch coming nine times out of ten you are going to get hit.”
Remember when Evans said that one of the things that helped him know exactly when to hit Liddell was waiting for him “to make that face”? Maybe that face is the one where he closes his eyes. Again, problem solved. Thanks, Howard. Look the fuck out, Shogun.