Lando ‘Groovy’ Vannata got back to winning ways against Yancy Medeiros at UFC Rio Rancho last night. The 27-year-old fan favorite from New Jersey picked up a unanimous decision victory during the opening fight of the main card in New Mexico.
In doing so, he appeared to show improvements that may allow him to reach the next level of his career. Perhaps even begin a series of wins that takes him towards the top of the lightweight division.
Since joining the UFC, ‘Groovy’ has endured a mixed bag of results. In seven fights he has won three, lost four and amazingly drew twice. So, fight fans reading this are most likely unconvinced he’s got what it takes to reach the upper echelons of the sport. However, he can and will do, here’s why.
The all-action fighting style implemented by Vannata is what has made the New Jersey native one of the most exciting fighters in MMA. However, what makes him so entertaining, is also what has caused him to lose several fights inside the octagon.
Thankfully for the good of his health and his career Vannata abandoned his crazy fighting style at UFC Rio Rancho. It was a measured display which was still enthralling despite not being the all-out war fans are used to seeing from Vannata. It allowed him to secure a big win, take little damage and move on to bigger and better things. This evolution in his fight game could allow him to begin accumulating wins and climbing the 155lb rankings.
The problem of going to war every time you enter the cage, is it makes even the easiest fights into 50/50 clashes. Things like talent, ability and technique go out the window and it all becomes about toughness, heart and the judge’s scorecards.
Despite his previously reckless style, Vannata has been able to showcase glimpses of elite level striking ability throughout his UFC career. In his first fight with the promotion he dropped and seriously hurt top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson. Beyond that, he has scored a highlight reel spinning wheel kick knockout against John Makdessi. If he’s able to avoid warring, as he did against Medeiros last night, we’ll be able to see more of these moments moving forward, as well as seeing Vannata earning the results his world class ability deserves.
UFC lightweight Vannata is lucky enough to still have youth on his side. At just 27, he still has his best fighting years in front of him. By evolving his game, he’s not only going to prolong his career, but Vannata will also ensure he leaves the game with plenty more wins, accolades and hopefully all his faculties intact. If this new, slightly more cautious style is here to stay, there’s no reason why the Jackson Wink fighter can’t collect wins and maybe even a belt. The talent is there, he’s just got to want to win more than he wants to entertain the crowd.