Head coach Daniel Gracie expects submission in Ariel Sexton's ONE Championship 77 bout

In an inconstant game such as MMA, accepting oppprtunities even when there’s not much time to prepare for them is a valuable skill.

According to head coach Daniel Gracie, it’s a skill that Ariel Sexton (11-4), who meets Kota Shimoishi (21-5) in a lightweight bout at Friday’s “ONE Championship 77: Pursuit of Power” event, possesses.

“Ariel is a very dedicated student,” Gracie told MMAjunkie. “He trains hard all the time. He’s always ready and that’s why I’m comfortable to get him fights on short notice. Because he’s always ready. And that’s the case right now. He’s fighting at ONE (Championship) again. There was a shorter notice fight and, because he’s in shape all the time, I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’”

Sexton comes into the bout, which takes place Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, off a split-decision loss to former title challenger Ev Ting. Before that, he was on a three-fight winning streak, all submissions, including one (via strikes) over vet Roger Huerta.

Sexton has had another eight of his pro wins come via submission – plus two via knockout. Opponent Shimoishi has had his two most recent victories come via submissions, as well, a pattern which fifth-degree jiu-jitsu black belt Gracie believes is telling.

“(Sexton) is a submission artist; he’s always pulling the most beautiful submissions,” Gracie said. “And even though he has very good striking and heavy hands, he always puts the fight on the ground and finishes.

“His opponent is a jiu-jitsu guy. The probability of this fight ending up on the ground is huge, so I think it’s going to be a submission.”

Gracie, himself a PRIDE, IFL and Bellator vet, hails from Brazil, which, as we all know, is one of the birthplaces of MMA and produced some of its most prominent pioneers and legends, including Royce Gracie. But despite strong weapons such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the country’s deficiencies in other areas of the game, such as wrestling, are also widely known.

Of course, in order to be a strong competitor in MMA’s landscape, the days of being exceptional in just one area are gone. So as Gracie points out, everybody knows a bit of everything. But the coach and owner of Renzo Gracie Philly does believe that, as it was the case with Brazil’s shortcomings, the gaps in Asian MMA are still visible.

“They have very good striking, but their jiu-jitsu is still growing,” Gracie said. “Their wrestling is still growing. So we know that going there, that there are some things they’re not strong at. Of course, (in) every place they’re going to have some complete fighters. But the probability of them getting a weakness on the ground and takedowns is big. …

“It’s just like the U.S. and Brazil, at one point. It’s like now, U.S. and Asia, they need to get a little better on the wrestling and jiu-jitsu. It’s getting there because, again, MMA now is globalized. Everybody knows jiu-jitsu, everybody knows boxing, and everybody knows everything. But we know the weakness that they have, like they know the weakness that we have.”

For more on ONE Championship 77, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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