UFC 155 weigh in body language

I am a very firm believer in body language. In many instances, body language reveals more about a person's psyche than anything they say. Never is body language more revealing than in the MMA weigh in ritual. And rarely is a fighter under more pressure than at the weigh in. It's the first time fans get to see the fighter after the long weeks of training camp. His very outspoken boss is front and center, the crowd is usually, for big fights, either booing loudly or cheering wildly.

The fighter knows at this point there is no turning back. If training has gone badly, perhaps he is hiding an injury, or knows he hasn't recovered sufficiently, it's very difficult to not betray concern. He might have had a flash knockout in training camp, that has shaken his confidence in his ability to withstand the champion's fearsome punching power.

Whatever the reasons, the weigh ins offer the first chance for the fans to gauge that most important weapon in a fighter's mental arsenal: confidence.

It's where both fighters have one final chance to look into each other's eyes, and many times, you can almost sense the fear of the eventual loser.

UFC 155's weigh in just went down and being the undisputed champ of the non pro body language readers, I make these proclamations:

Chris Leben vs Derek Brunson - Easy call here. Brunson looks in magnificent shape. More importantly, he looks utterly at ease. He enters the stage bounding up the stairs with a smile on his face. Leben comes in looking totally focused and serious. At the faceoff, it's difficult to read Leben. Veteran fighters are the hardest to read because they have done this so many times before, they can look utterly detached, but still bring serious heat during the fight (ie Shogun). Brunson however clearly looks like a fighter who has absolutely no fear of Leben. Dangerous fight for Leben and it looks like the end of the line for the vaunted original TUFers.

Brunson by KO.

Yushin Okami vs Alan Belcher - I am on Alan Belcher's mailing list so I admit to some favorability towards Belcher. His body language is very relaxed. He chats with Dana, wears a silly Dennis Hallmanesque speedo and lets out a WWE yell after his weight is announced. Very relaxed. However his opponent is a Japanese fighter, well known for his calm demeanor outside the octagon, but a beast inside. I throw my readings out the window here because Okami looks no different than he normally looks. No intimidation seen. I still favor Belcher because he is on a mission, but these are two fighters of equal stature and confidence.

Belcher by TKO.

Tim Boetsch vs Constantinos Phillippou - Not much to read here. Boetsch could bewalking on crutches at the weigh in and he would still fight like a man posessed.

Boestch by KO

Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon - Jim Miller never looks like a fighter that exudes confidence, so his body language is somewhat difficult to read. Lauzon on the other hand, looks utterly unconvinced that Miller can do him any harm.

Lauzon by submission

JDS vs Cain - This heavyweight exchange is where the reading of body language tells the biggest story. Cain steps on the scale and he looks soft. His middle is alarmingly undefined, almost jiggly. The champ on the other hand looks spectacularly ripped. At the faceoff, Cain looks like a man with a huge weight on his mind. Fear? Uncertainty? Apprehension? Who knows? His short interview with Joe Rogan is almost painful. He mumbles something about wanting to fight the best and that's what he's in there for. Dos Santos comes next and he defiantly tells the crowd he knows they like knockouts, and he'll be happy to provide one tomorrow.

Dos Santos KO 1st round.

Wow, all finishes eh

well you got the most dangerous heavyweight puncher, the most dangerous middleweight puncher and the most decorated fight of the night fighter.

i see finishes.

Well, I was spectacularly wrong on the main event here. Both JDS and I vastly underrated Cain Velasquez, and at the same time overrated the punching skills of JDS. But it doesn't diminish my theory that pre fight body language is crucial in determining the outcome of a fight. How can I say that when my analysis proved incorrect? Because like I said concerning Leben: veteran fighters are the hordes to read. They learn to control or mask their true emotions. But body language still provided clues to Cain Velasquez's mentality, which I completely overlooked, overconfident in the KO power of JDS.

ariel Helwani interviewed Cain right after the weighins and a surprised Helwani asked Cain about JDS getting so many boos? Cain's answer was the most important piece of body language I missed.

Velasquez went blank for about 3 seconds, and then admitted he had not even noticed the boos. A spectacular admission: indicative of his intensity and focus, not of lack of confidence and apprehension.

Pre fight body language is an art yet in infancy.

With patience and support from the MMA community, it can one day grow into professionalism and fulfill the expectations and dreams of fighters and managers and the betting public.

Are you a wizard? Phone Post

I don't think it means anything. Rory told Penn to get the fuck out off his face, and fans here predicted Rory's demise. Penn was dominated for five rounds.

Wtf is a wwe yell ?

Body language can certainly indicate confidence etc. But confidence etc is not a good predictor of who wins the fight.

edward nigma - Wtf is a wwe yell ?

He means a pro wrestling type yell. Phone Post

If it's a close fight on paper or I don't know either guy I go for the guy who looks more nervous walking to the cage, he wins more often than not.

doesnt mean very much imo

You didn't take Cain's mirroring of JDS' stance as an assertion of confidence?...
Cain appeared unfazed and quite determined in the staredown, while JDS was seemingly clenched with more visible tension than I expected...

Please do this again for the next UFC, so that I know who to NOT bet on

it is always fun to speculate on it though

solid predictions

He picked Brunson by ko, you should have stopped reading there.

I always try to read the fighters at weigh ins but the reality is its probably the worst time to try and read them. Most of them are depleted from cutting wait, miserable, hungry, tired from media duties and repetitive interviews. I think a lot of the time they get up there and go through the motions. The fighter walk in when there coming out to the fight may be a better time to get a read on a fighter. Also being nervous causes the body to react better so that can be a sign that someone may win. GSP comes to mind. Phone Post

I don't think you can consistently gauge a fighter's performance by the way they look. The best example of this (in my opinion) is Joe Lauzon vs Pulver. I remember saying to the people in the room that Joe looked scared shitless and was going to get murdered. As we all know, I was very, very wrong.

What an idiot hahahahahah THIS guy Phone Post

Hahahahaha amazing picks Phone Post