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Did she focus on learning BJJ, or stick more with and Judo and Japanese Jujitsu? Does her MMA style reflect Brazilian influence, or is it still predominantly Japanese?

(My sense of Judo is that it is a more complete grappling art than is reflected in pure Judo competition, and found this site which lists a number of pins, chokes and locks.)

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Did [Kayla Harrison] focus on learning BJJ [as she pivoted to MMA], or stick more with and Judo and Japanese Jujitsu?

Neither. As far as I can tell she took the correct approach and switched to wrestling-for-MMA and how to specifically adapt her judo to gloved, caged, no-gi situations.

You can tell because her MMA strategy demonstrates specific techniques and tactics for the sport. It stands in contrast to former champion Ronda Rousey's extremely judo-like fighting style, which featured a strong reliance on raw aggression to find (judo-like) upper-body clinches. Instead, you see Harrison use level changes to get the fight to the ground, where a skilled eye can see she uses orthodox MMA techniques for circumstances like throwing punches from inside the opponent's guard, which Rousey mostly eschewed in favor of scrambling to find opportunities for her well-honed armbar. You can also see Harrison use wrestling-for-MMA skills like rides from which one can land strikes.

Does her MMA style reflect Brazilian influence, or is it still predominantly Japanese?

All modern MMA has some Brazilian jiujitsu influence, but I would say she has adapted a more global or American approach rather than a Brazilian one.

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  • Dave, thanks for this informed answer. (I'm partly interested in the history of the rivalry between BJJ and Judo/Jujutsu, which goes back three generations, but my sense is that they're pretty much evenly matched, and it probably really comes down to the fighter.) Harrison moves really well, and I would not want to face her! – DukeZhou Nov 11 '20 at 0:08

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