In our young sport, you sometimes need to stop, just to ponder whether the athletes develop their skills in response to the set rules, or do the rules develop around the fighters’ skills? It’s a bit of a chicken and egg mystery, I suppose. Though I found myself wondering how the UFC would be different if it implemented different rules. In this series we will examine which fighters, both contemporary and historical, would thrive under alternate rule sets, starting with Mortal Kombat rules.
How do those rules work?
Mortal Kombat is a no-holds barred stand-up only fight that can only be finished by KO, or decision. Throws and slams are allowed but no ground grappling is permitted. There are 99 second rounds, and you must win 2 rounds by KO or more damage done to win. The winner has the option to execute his opponent, initiate friendship, shrink him to a baby, or just land an extra blow.
So who would excel under these rules?
While ‘Decision Dan Era Hendo’ probably wouldn’t fare too well under Mortal Kombat rules, it’s amusing to imagine how the ‘H-Bomb throwing American Maniac era Hendo’ would fit right in with the brutal violence that Mortal Kombat is so well known for. Most importantly of all; Hendo has already shown his willingness to go for the Fatality finish, evidently seen when he decapitated Michael Bisping at UFC 100 and then proceeded to crush him with the almighty ‘H-Bomb’. As you do.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson:
Rumble is one of the few fighters who might actually be better under MK rules than MMA rules. He wouldn’t have to worry about conserving cardio, and he wouldn’t have to worry about getting wrestled and controlled against a Daniel Cormier type character. Rumble has the power of Mortal Kombats’s Jax, and that’s without the crazy robot arms. Rumble would likely be the Mortal Kombat MMA GOAT; especially when you account for the short rounds.
This entry is pretty similar to Rumble — With Ngannou being a powerful brawler who fights in explosive earth shattering bursts. Francis is an obvious call on this list for a reason, and we’d be silly to exclude him. He’s probably the only fighter whose uppercuts are actually as Overpowered as the crouching uppercut in Mortal Kombat. Hell, we even saw it used to murder our StipeTapped hero – Alastair Overeem.
When you think about MK fighters you tend to think about dishing out violence, but to compete in Earthrealm a fighter has to be able to endure a heavy dose of kombat as well. Few have the proclivity for heavy war like the Underground King. Fellow Lightweight Tony Ferguson gets an honorable mention, but MK rules prioritize brawling and disregard grappling, so EA gets the nod. Eddie’s 2017 KO win over the then-undefeated Justin Gaethje for the self-proclaimed title of “Most Violent Fighter” cemented that.
Of course the Axe Murderer would excel under any ruleset that makes the fight more violent and wild. In his prime Pride FC run, Wanderlei often fought as if he was fighting under Mortal Kombat rules, with his rapid rambunctiously powerful blitzes of hooks and overhands. Plus, respectfully said = Wandly kind of looks like Baraka, no?
Thanks for reading! Come back next time for cutting-edge scientific analysis of rulesets including pro wrestling, Bloodsport “Kumite” rules, and many more!