Originally Posted by McGrain
I'll have a punt.
It's geeky as ****, but in boxing I deal with these points in the fight I call "inflection points." I don't write about it or even post about it because nobody wants to hear about that shit, but in a nutshell I mean points in the fight where very subtle changes which are hard to detect cause much larger shifts in the momentum of the fight. The ability to spot them represent sthe difference between a good boxing analyst (not to mention trailer) and an average one.
As an example...a circling fighter with a moving style is circling to his own right 30% of the time for the first four rounds. His opponent has the kind of jab which is brilliant when he can get it working but can see him out-jabbed by the best jabbers he faces because of certain mental or physical limitations (think Oscar). Our man - doing the circling - is a speedster and was rellying upon that to keep him from the jab, but actually Oscar is landing it a fair bit. After four, his corner advices him to start circling to his right less, say 15% of the time. Now Oscar's jab is landing less and our speedster is making the angles on his own jab. That's an inflection point. Go deeper. The speedster decides that he's not going to circle to his right at all any more because he's having so much success. That's an inflection point because he's showing less variance and Oscar times him over the top with a right that dumps him in a round he was winning at a canter that he's now lost 10-8.
What evaporates an inflection point is "the puncher's chance." A good boxer controls a slugger with a series of well judged inflection points then gets wiped out for KO8. Inflection points are what make boxing deep - what makes it "chess."
In MMA there are many more "puncher's chances". Kicks. Knees. Punches. Take downs. Referee splitting. Submission. Locked guard. Etc. etc. After a take down new types of inflection points can develop BUT they are not reprasentative of an overall pattern because the two begin the following round in a different arena - on their feet.
In this sense, I think boxing can be regarded as literally deeper in terms of complexity (think chaos theory) if not in terms of technique. I believe this is also what MMA fans mean when they describe it as "more exciting". Less subtlty on offence, fewer terminals for evolution of the fight mean it is more likley to end suddenly and very violently.
Although on the flip-side, inflection points can open up the chances to land destructive punches.
You will see this more and more in MMA as it becomes more mature as an international sport with deep grass roots. The actual form of fighting itself is still going through the growing pains of a relatively new sport in the public conciousness, and we are only just beginning to emerge from the early stages where certain types of fighters dominated for a period of time due to a lack of broad technical ability amongst the general MMA community.
As time passes, and techniques are honed to defend against the prevalent styles, we will see fewer 'punchers chance' moments, and more 'inflection points. This has already happened quite a bit in the ground game, but not so much with the stand up, at least to the extent of my knowledge.
The ability to spot these adjustments on the fly will start to become the factor that separates a great fighter from a good fighter, in the mean time there are still too many technical flaws that often allows the great fighters to win by much more simplistic means.
Each generation will get better. Even kids training in MMA now will still be getting tuition from guys who competed in the earlier stages of MMA, hence won't quite have developed the appreciation for the subtleties that will start to become important. When this generation of fighters move on and some become trainers, then we will have kids being trained from the start with broader sense of MMA. Repeat this a few times and we can start to compare boxing and MMA. Right now, it's not even like comparing apples and oranges, it's more like comparing grapes and wine.