Flash And Fundamentals: Lando Vannata Versus David Teymur

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UFC 209 is one for the fight fans. Yes, it has one of those silly interim belts on the line, but don’t let that fool you. This card is stacked from top to bottom with young prospects in exciting matchups. Whoever put this card together deserves a box of chocolates from everyone else at the office, maybe even a half day on Friday, because this is matchmaking done right. The perfect example of this is the fight between Lando Vannata and David Teymur. Both are hot prospects in the lightweight division, and both come to throw leather. While Vannata is a slick, unorthodox, and creative striker, Teymur is not as technical, but is just as dangerous as a Muay Thai specialist. The fight guarantees fireworks and whether it is Flash or Fundamentals that prevail, the sky is the limit for the winner of this fight.

Flash And Fundamentals: Lando Vannata Versus David Teymur

David Teymur: Fundamentals

David Teymur is an easy fighter to misinterpret. As an established Muay Thai fighter, there is a certain degree of technical acumen that is to be expected from Teymur. However, Teymur can be a little wild. He often throws naked low kicks, his punches can get a little loopy, and his chin rears it’s head when he gets aggressive. What Teymur has is a grasp of the intangible fundamentals of striking. Distance. Timing. Ring Control. Reading an opponents reactions. Teymur may not have the crispest technique in the world, but he is without a doubt one of the more well-schooled strikers at 155.

At his base, Teymur operates as an MMA fighter much like he did as a Muay Thai fighter. Standing in a southpaw stance, he looks to land his left round kick and left straight. This combination has been the bread and butter of many southpaws in the striking arts. Most notable in MMA is the revered heavyweight star Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic. The hip rotations for the left hand and left kick are difficult to tell apart, and they require two very different blocking positions. By utilizing these two techniques in tandem, Teymur can play off the expectations of his opponents and land hard shots without needing a set up blow like a jab.

Teymur’s use of the left kick to create openings is not just limited to the left hand. He will mix up his levels very well, working low, middle, and high. He will often look for a high kick directly after landing a good low kick. This is a good way to catch your opponent unaware, as they will either look to kick you back, or they will be looking to check the low kick.

Like any good Nak Muay, Teymur is great at using his kick to shut down his opponents’ offence. He will try to time his left kicks under his opponents punches as they throw the right hand. This is a great way to wind an opponent. When his opponent begins to keep the arm tied to their side, Teymur will happily kick that too.

This is a fantastic way to shut down a predominantly right-handed fighter. They either get winded from constant flush kicks to the body, or they abandon their punches to protect their rib cage.

An interesting thing about Teymur is how effective he has become by limiting his arsenal over time. During his UFC career, Teymur has phased out the jabs, stance switches, and combinations that were more present in both his Muay Thai career and early MMA fights. While those are normally desirable traits, Teymur has become better by focusing on his true talent, counter-punching.

Teymur understands distance and timing very well. His recent knockouts have come as a result of him staying conservative and letting his opponents walk into his punches. As a very experienced kicker, Teymur can convince his opponents that they need to pressure him to crowd his kicks. He will give ground and continue to pot shot from range, and the more he moves, the more his opponent tries to catch him. When they become convinced that Teymur is running, they start stepping to where he will be, rather than where he is. At this point, Teymur sets his feet and throws his left hand.

It may not always be pretty, but his power is undeniable. The fact that his opponent is usually walking into the shot only adds fuel to the fire.

A big part of Teymur’s defense is his hands. Rather than keeping a tight guard, he will look to put his hands on his opponents and physically push them away. He will stiff arm when guys attempt to press forward, and he will shove opponents away after landing his own shots. It is highly overlooked in MMA, but if you are falling backwards, you can’t strike effectively.

Teymur’s real talents are his power, and his ability to find ways to land it. He doesn’t have the prettiest form, but he doesn’t need it. His comprehension of striking intangibles are what make him dangerous. He knows how to keep himself safe and create openings for strikes.

Lando Vannata: Flash

“Groovy” Lando Vannata has earned a spot in many MMA fans hearts after his performance against Tony Ferguson and his spectacular knockout of John Makdessi. With only 10 fights on his record, he is already being looked at as a future contender. What makes Vannata so appealing to fight fans is that he is a stylish fighter. He has developed a game unique to himself and he finds ways to maximize his talents while covering up his flaws. There is no mold for a perfect fighter, and Vannata proves that by breaking conventions and continuing to impress.

The cornerstone of Vannata’s offence is his lead right hand. While convention dictates that a fighter should lead with their jab first; Vannata will jab a little, then start darting in with right hands. He often likes to cut the distance down by stepping off to his opponents right as he does so.  This is called a darting right hand.

Vannata has an extremely dexterous and powerful right hand. While his punches tend to be either straights or uppercuts, he can utilize them on the lead or counter. If he is in a fight, chances are Vannata is looking for an opportunity to throw and land his right hand.

Another facet of Vannata’s game that makes it so aesthetically pleasing is his head movement. Few people have committed to the weave in MMA as heavily as Vannata. After throwing a right hand, Vannata will look to weave under his opponents counters and come up looking for more. This is a great way for him to reset his right hand, while making his opponent swing and miss.

Vannata’s knockout of Makdessi highlights another interesting facet to his game, kicks. Much like Conor McGregor, Vannata uses his kicks mostly as a means of drawing offence. He will pick up the leg and flick it at his opponent, rather than turning the hips through. This allows him to quickly retract the leg and be ready if his opponent decides to step in after the kick.

Throughout their fight, Vannata kept touching Makdessi’s lead leg with side kicks. Never hard or with the intent to hurt, but merely looking to score, and remind Makdessi that it was there. The finish came when Vannata placed another kick and caught Makdessi trying to circle past his lead leg. It was a fantastic knockout, and one that had been set up by dulling Makdessi’s reactions to Vannata closing the distance with the side kick.

This is another set up that Vannata likes a lot. Against Tony Ferguson, he spun several times off the kick looking for a backfist.

That is not to say Vannata has been flawless. His style has a few areas that can, and do cause him trouble. For example, while the kicks proved supremely effective against Makdessi, his vaunted right hand was much less effective. Makdessi would hang on the outside, step out of range as Vannata looked to dart in, and stick him with a hard counter jab for his troubles. The lead right hand is a flashy tool, but if an opponent is prepared for it, it can be very easy to draw and counter as it leaves you so open.

Against Ferguson, Vannata had huge success in the early going. However, as the fight wore on, his weaves began to get him in to trouble, as they set him up for a snap down and an eventual D’arce choke. His game is high-risk, high-reward, and he walks the line very well.

Final Thoughts

Both Vannata and Teymur are silky smooth strikers and excel at setting traps for their opponents. They play to their strengths but in different ways. Teymur looks to draw people in to his left hand, and mixes his left kicks up between all three levels. Vannata looks to land his right hand, and kicks much lighter in order to score points and, more importantly, create openings.

Vannata has the much more prestigious hype train here, but he is walking into a dangerous fight. Teymur likes to wait on punches to counter, and his left kicks have the potential to trap Vannata’s potent right hand. Teymur has shown an affinity for counter uppercuts, and that could be dangerous for a guy who likes to duck his head as much as Vannata.

Vannata is an exciting fighter, even an unusual fighter, but he is not a finished fighter. He has shown amazing poise since the start of his career, but he is still a developing fighter. At only 24 years old, the sky is the limit for him. Despite the fact that he is not as well-known, Teymur definitely presents a new problem for Vannata. If he can make it past Teymur, he could make a quick rise up the UFC lightweight ladder.

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Beginning martial arts at a young age, Dave has been studying in either Taekwon-do, Kickboxing or Boxing since before he was a teen. Formerly a writer for lasttimeout.com, he has been obsessed with MMA since the late 2000's, and has been using his fight breakdowns as a way of improving his analytical ability and writing prowess with the goal of providing information to others while furthering his own understanding of the wonderful world of Mixed Martial Arts.

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