The first 5 – 30 seconds of most MMA fights are awkward. They are the psychological battle before the fight ever begins where confidence and experience battle with a mixed martial arts fighter’s fears and shortfalls. Let's face it, this is the part of the fight where people throw powerless punches and un-aimed kicks without ever hitting their targets, but this first 5 to 30 seconds can make or break not only the fight, but the image of the fighter as well.
It all starts with two combatants staring each other down with their focused and worried expressions on their face, they want to know the other’s stance. They watch their opponent's movements, just waiting for one to trip up. One throws a punch, a light tap just to gauge how quickly the other moves or if he moves. Trying to get an idea of how the other guy will react. How fast is he? How strong is he? Can he take a hit?
Questions like: Am I faster? Should I try to make this a ground fight? Who has the farther reach? Can I catch his punch? Run through their heads while they get ready to attack.
This doubt and self-questioning can be the worst part of an MMA fight. It's one thing when you don't have time to think. It's another when the other guy is capable of breaking your arm or putting you into the concussion you might never wake up from. One mistake and your opponent will charge you.
The first few seconds of an MMA bout can make or break a fighter. Try watching a few videos and see if you can spot this moment. It's a crazy time slowing sensation where the fight seems to last forever before it actually begins.
For instance, 5 seconds:
Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
An example of a big mistake and getting charged:
Henderson vs. Cerrone
Even in school yard fights you'll see this.
There is an advantage that confidence will give you in the first round.