Kickboxing Becoming More Prevalent at UFC Level
Once again in UFC on Fuel TV 9 we saw the evolution of Mixed Martial Arts on display. Kickboxing is becoming more and more important in the success of fighters in the octagon. Once again our goal is to break down some of the successful (or not so successful) techniques you watch in the fights to show you how to do them yourself, how they can be set up in a fight and what you can expect them to accomplish if you are in a street self-defense situation. While there were four submission finishes in the event, the other nine fights were dominated by standup, with three KO/TKO’s. This follows two straight UFC events that featured 8 KO/TKO’s and zero submissions.
We’ve discussed before the evolution of MMA from a submission dominated sport, to one dominated by ground and pound wrestlers to the introduction of reverse wrestling by Chuck Liddel where he would use his wrestling to stay on his feet and utilize his incredible striking ability to knock people out. This has become very prevalent in MMA, most recently highlighted by NCAA Wrestling Champion Johnny Hendricks string of knockout victories.
It is clear that any martial artist who wants to truly translate their art into real life self-defense needs to know a healthy dose of ground self-defense, but also must master the most successful techniques of kickboxing.
Uppercuts Used to Perfection
Two of the 12 fights on the card Saturday in Sweden featured uppercut knockouts. What was really cool is the use of uppercuts for two different purposes. In the first fight Irish newcomer Conor McGregor used them perfectly to take advantage of his height. The 5’10” McGregor was fighting the 5’4″ Marcus Brimage. Brimage’s stocky build made it hard for him to keep his arms close together. His arms formed more of an inverted V instead of a more effective #11.
Lefty McGregor turns hips into Uppercut. Perfect angle on his punch leads to KO!
>McGregor started out the fight by picking off shots over Brimage’s attack, but as he began gaining momentum the supremely relaxed Irishman started throwing powerful uppercuts in between Brimage’s guard. The results were devastating ending the fight by KO in the first round.
Later in the fights Matt Mitrione used uppercuts to defend against an opponent bent on taking him to the mat. Mitrione had to stuff a Phil DeFries takedown attempt seconds into the fight. After securing an underhook and shrugging DeFries first attempt off the two came back to standing at a distance.
DeFries wasted no time shooting again, but this time Mitrione was throwing a powerful back hand uppercut the clipped DeFries behind the ear. This is one of the most disorienting shots you can absorb and DeFries’ takedown attempt ended with his head smashing into Mitrione. DeFries was down for the count.
Spinning Back Heel Used to Perfection
We had to cover Adlan Amagov’s use of the spinning back heel on Chris Spang. This is Joshu Craig Alexander’s favorite unusual technique to pull out. Amagov features excellent kicks and Spang began to back away from Amagov’s low kicks. Amagov expertly stepped through like you would on a spinning back fist, or spinning back kick. Instead of going to the head or body, which a competitor of Spang’s level would be more used to, he straightened his leg and swung his heel right at the front thigh of Spang.
If you never felt this before you can’t understand the level of pain this causes. Joshu (this title literally translates as assistant in Japanese) Alexander has hit me with this kick in training and I literally had to stop. If we had been fighting he would have scored a KO off that one kick. To his credit Spang was able to keep fighting, but you noticed even the seasoned MMA fighter began keeping all his weight off his front leg thereafter, something the announcers commented on.
Amagov uses variety of spinning kicks and crazy suplexes to dominate Spang!
In a Self-Defense situation this means you no longer have to worry about your attacker being able to throw any power shots at you. If you can’t plant hard on your front leg you can’t hit hard. Great technique by Amagov who is a very exciting up and coming fighter in the UFC. His combination of great kicks and crazy suplexes is incredibly entertaining. Plus he gets points for a great beard.
Keeping Your Opponent Off Guard
Akira Corassani had a great chance to build his reputation in the UFC on Saturday. The native Swede was fighting on the main card in only his second UFC fight after a promising stint on The Ultimate Fighter Reality show. He would face off against a fellow Featherweight coming off a victory, Robbie Peralta. Corassani was coming off a narrow split decision over fellow TUF alum Andrew Ogle. Robbie Peralta was coming off a devastating Knockout victory.
Problem for Corassani is he is a stand-up fighter. This is not a good thing when your opponent is known for knockouts, nine in his career. Making matters way worse was Corassani’s three official losses were all by KO/TKO, while Peralta had never been knocked out. Corassani had his work cut out for him and he did just that, worked. He used a great display of foot movement and unorthodox lead techniques to keep Peralta just off balance enough to control the fight.
Corassani won battle of strikers by using variety of lead techniques!
Corassani trains with Frankie Edgar under Boxing instructor Mark Henry. If you’ve ever seen Edgar fight you know how good his movement is and how he will attack from all angles with lead jabs, crosses, body shots, low kicks or anything else that happens to present itself. Corassani’s foot work was not as obvious as Edgar’s, but he did constantly mix up lead techniques to keep Peralta from getting a bead on a strong counter punch. Peralta was able to land one stunning left hook during the fight. But he simply couldn’t string together any consistent offense against the variation Corassani presented to him. Great win for Corassani and great example of how you can mix up your kickboxing to great effect for Self-Defense.
Jab Still Reigns In Self-Defense
The Main Event featured top 10 Light Heavyweight Gegard Mousasi fighting a late replacement, Ilir Latifi. Latifi is a training partner of Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson suffered a severe cut a week before the fight and was forced to pull out. It’s hard enough to find a top level replacement on five days notice, let alone having to fight overseas. Thus the door opened for Latifi, a training partner of Gustafsson’s in Sweden, to make his UFC debut.
Swing and a Miss for Latifi! Haymakers don’t work!
This is a setup type situation for Mousasi. He was an underdog against Gustafsson and all of a sudden all the pressure is on him to carry the show against the little known Latifi. Problem is Latifi was no slouch. He was the most dangerous kind of replacement opponent, the one with one punch knockout power. On top of that, he represented the total opposite of the tall, lanky Gustafsson, a shorter stocky fireplug.
Last hurdle for Mousasi, a training knee injury that will apparently require surgery. All told it would have been an easy fight for Mousasi to give up. With the UFC offering free health insurance to all it’s fighter this has been a common occurrence lately, especially with fighters who’s opponent withdrew on late notice. Mousasi chose to be a warrior though, a relief to the UFC which didn’t have a marquee name to headline the show if he pulled out.
Gegard Mousasi Uses Jab to Perfection!
What he didn’t do was fight like a dumb warrior though, instead utilizing a technique that has dominated every striking art in historyd. Mousasi used a series of jabs throughout the fight to frustrate and eventually damage the newcomer Latifi. The fifteen minute fight left Latifi’s face with evidence of the damage a well thrown jab can do. While not the most powerful punch in fighting, it continues to be the most effective. Mousasi proved why he is a top level Light Heavyweight and provided a great Self-Defense lesson for any Martial Artists watching.
UFC on Fuel TV 9 wasn’t the most hyped event in the recent past and with the very successful Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Finale next weekend and UFC 159, Jones v. Sonnen the following week, even hard core UFC fans may have missed this one. What wasn’t missing were great fights. The card featured a dozen of those. Nor was it missing some great examples of the effectiveness of kickboxing!