Europe has given us some of the best fighters in the UFC today. Currently, there are three champions from across the pond: Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. However, the continent may have more to offer than just talented fighters. Eastern Europe may just have the next great innovation for MMA.
MMA fights in Latvia are experimenting with 5-on-5 team combat. The goal of the fight is to eliminate each of your opponents by submitting or knocking them out. Once you eliminate your opponent, you can help out a teammate. The team to eliminate all of their opponents first wins.
The new dynamic in the sport could really shake up the world of MMA. While combat sports in general are highly individualistic, this new 5 vs. 5 format could help with coordinated attacks and team combos. This style of fighting could really freshen up the sport, which has not seen a real change since the explosion of the UFC 10 years ago.
Another interesting aspect of these team fights is that we may finally get to see whose training camps are better. Can you imagine some of the best fighters in AKA taking on the dudes of Serra-Longo? Or if Team Alpha Male was able to compete with Jackson-Winklejohn? That would be a fight that I think most UFC fans would want to see. An all-out war with your closest teammates.
While the team-based fights have not really taken off outside of Eastern Europe just yet, there is hope that one day it may make it on to the main stage of combat sports. This new dynamic could go a long way in shaking up the sport and giving the fans something new to cheer for.