The Severe Spotlight: Ricardo Ramos

13 fights. 9 finishes. 1 featherweight war. Picking a candidate for the Spotlight this week was tough. Each finish, and each fight had a story that deserves to be told.

Josh Emmet and Calvin Kattar collided in a brilliant main event. It was a fight that should determine who will fight the winner of the upcoming trilogy between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway. In reality, the fight was a close one, with the judges scoring the contest for Emmet via a split decision. Both men displayed variety and depth to their games with multiple adjustments round by round. Blood, guts, grit, heart, and technical skill in abundance.

Cowboy Cerrone and Joe Lauzon were again pulled from the card. This time due to a Lauzon injury, so Kevin Holland and Tim Means filled that slot. The questions coming into this fight prophesised as to whether Kevin Holland could dial down the antics and dial up the fighting. He settled into round one midway through, sitting down on his shots, and showing impressive leaps in his get-ups. Punishing and tiring Means late in round one, he took that same momentum into round two, finishing Means with a d’arce. Questions answered.

Joaquin Buckley stopped Albert Duraev due to a closed left eye after a good performance. Damir Ismagulov and Guram Kutateladze lived up to the pre-fight excitement. Ismagulov picking up a split decision win in what was a razor close affair. To break this fight down would need its own article, but this was high level MMA from start to finish, think Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs Weili Zhang 1 in terms of the causing and punishing of tiny mistakes.

Gregory Rodrigues steamrolled Julian Marquez with voluminous shots from the opening bell to the eventual brutal finish. Adrian Yanez finished Tony Kelley in the first round. Yanez continues to offer a dichotomy in his performances. His upsides are so fruitful, but his deficiencies and reliance’s are just as obvious. A real test is needed for him.

Natalia Silva looked great in her UFC debut win over Jasmine Jasudavicius. Jeremiah Wells removed the stabilisers from his UFC bicycle with a vicious finish over veteran Court McGee, Ricardo Ramos landed his second (of only 5 in UFC history) spinning elbow knockout in his fight with Danny Chavez, we will get to that shortly.

Maria Oliveira got her first win in the UFC, Cody Stamann destroyed Eddie Wineland in what looked to be a mismatch both on paper and in practice. Phil Hawes decimated Deron Winn in a fight that should have been stopped multiple minutes prior to when it was. The curtain jerker saw Roman Dolidze finish Kyle Daukaus in just over a minute with knees from the clinch and punches.

After that whirlwind, lets talk about Ricardo Ramos.

Ricardo Ramos walked out against Danny Chavez to his 11th UFC appearance. Amassing a record of 8-3 inside the promotion, with losses only to Said Nurmagomedov, Lerone Murphy and Zubaira Tukhugov. None of those names bring any shame, specifically the first two. He began his UFC tenure at 135lb at only 20 years old, naturally he began to grow and fill out so upped his belongings and moved to the 145lb division.

Ramos showed all his capabilities in the one minute and twelve seconds that this fight lasted. Obviously, there is a wild and flashy side to Ramos. He opens this bout with a step up, naked high kick. Just to set the tone. Immediately after, however he set about splitting the footwork of Chavez, who, was looking to laterally circle, found Ramos charging into the middle of his space putting him under immediate pressure.

For all the flash of the jumping roundhouse kicks, there is a method to the madness of those roundhouse kicks, along with the spinning hook kicks. That method is simple, it is to push his opponent back toward the fence, whilst cutting off the escape routes. Ramos wants his opponents to second guess taking a left or a right for fear of running into a roundhouse, a spinning hook kick or something similar. This is an approach that Conor McGregor took in his early run at 145lb. He would throw these wild, long spinning hook kicks and side kicks to back up his opponent and line them up for the left hand.

Replace the left hand with a spinning hook kick, and the tactic and application of the tactic is the same here. Prior to the finish Ramos throws three jumping roundhouse kicks, two spinning hook kicks and a spinning side kick. To those spinning attacks, Chavez exits quickly putting his back on the cage and sticking to the cage as he circles out to safety.

However, each of those exits are sewing and watering the seed that exits are only found by the cage, so as Ramos advances with his aggressive footwork and feints, naturally Chavez begins to back up to the cage. The line up for the spinning elbow is a thing of beauty. Ramos is advancing forward, pushing Chavez back to the fence, he first offers Chavez an exit to his left, but quickly shuts that off with a step to his right, Chavez’ only option is to take the route to his right-hand side which is closest to the cage.

Ramos cuts the cage well to meet him with Chavez essentially in a square stance. Remember, the spinning attacks thus far have come from his legs, and Chavez is already expecting this as the feinting to throw the elbow begins as he brings both of his hands up toward the right-hand side of his face. Ramos dips his level after leaving a lazy right hand out, faking an entry to Chavez’s hips. That fake brings the left hand of Chavez down to begin a down block as Ramos comes over the top and lands the cleanest spinning elbow you could plan to land. Tip of the elbow, perfect to the temple. Chavez was removed from his consciousness immediately, however Ramos landed a kiss goodnight left hand to ensure he was tucked in safely.

Note the physical application from Ramos also. Power is generated first from the pivoting of the feet, that generates force that allows the hips, trunk, and core to rotate which in turn drives power to the shoulders, or arms. Ramos steps forward with his left foot, rooting it firmly as a primary anchor. That allows him to in turn spin through with his right leg, which drives power from the whip of his hips, and the arch of his elbow as he throws elongates the power from his core and trunk. Perfect.