The Severe Spotlight: Molly McCann

Often, when analysing a fighter and their career progression, the ability to add vast changes to their skillset is stereotypically seen as a “diminishing returns”. There is an apex, which often is seen to correlate with a fighter’s youth of age or experience in which a fighter can make big changes. On the decline its often seen that the frequency of macro changes decreases, whether that is due to a misconception of age, whether there is a feeling that fighters max out their bodies athletic ability at a certain age

Molly McCann proved on Saturday night that important changes can be made if the fighter applies enough efficient, diligent work. Of her 6 losses, 3 of them have been by submission. Her first round armbar over Diana Belbiţă is the first submission win of her career.

After two submission losses back-to-back, McCann has taken it upon herself to improve her grappling significantly and specifically. Prior to this performance, McCann tested herself by taking a pure grappling match on one of the biggest promotional stages in Europe against a storied judo blackbelt and BJJ brown belt, submitting her in just over two minutes with an armbar.

The Liverpudlian started fast with a 1-2 down the pipe and an immediate thudding right hook. Light on her feet she slipped calmly away from the Belbiţă return attempt before digging the ball of her right foot into the midriff of the Romanian fighter. As the first minute ticks on the hooks keep flying and the right hand sticks steadfast to block the return left hooks.

The second minute saw McCann continue to stick right hands down the throat of Belbiţă, before switching to southpaw and landing a crisp left, paired nicely with a lashing left kick upstairs.

It is almost as though the Next Generation team had devised a minute-by-minute gameplan for McCann, minute one: start fast and land damage, minute two: switch stances and diversify, minute three: use the false sense of security to level change and show off our new skills. As soon as we ticked over to the third minute McCann times a Belbiţă advance, level changes taking a grip of both thighs and drags Belbiţă to the mat, dropping into a half guard.

Unhappy with the situation on the ground, McCann allows Belbiţă back to her feet with a spinning side kick. We don’t need to wait too long before McCan continues to show off her advancements. Belbiţă hangs around in the clinch too long and gives up double unders, McCann with good head position looks to ground her opponent, when Belbiţă rode the trip well, McCann switched off to land a flush spinning elbow. Dilemmas.

Confidence rises and McCann begins to really sit into her shots, one or two occasions the confidence cup runneth over and her movements turned a little wild, but its obvious that McCann firmly feels in the driving seat.

53 seconds left see’s McCann lift Belbiţă with a high crotch single, and as she dumps her – strafes to her right to ensure her hips are covered dropping right into mount. Right away she forearm frames on the head of Belbiţă before smashing her with elbows. She takes a wrist-to-wrist grip of the left arm and thinks of sitting off for an armbar right away. Smartly she chooses not to, instead sitting into a high mount and lands more damage.

With 9 seconds left having landed a barrage of elbows, McCann chooses to switch to an s-mount armbar. The force of the switch sending Belbiţă face down to the canvas. McCann chooses a crucifix grip and as the tap comes in, the angle on the arm of Belbiţă does not look good.

An incredibly professional, impressive performance from McCann. Oozing with confidence, a promising sign for the new entrant at 115lb.

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