EDIT: Title has been retroactively changed to fit the series name.
Hello bloodyelbow readers and BElitists! It's been almost a year since my first (and till now, only!) blog post. I'm now training at a seriously high quality local MMA gym again and thinking of doing a semi-regular technique feature with the help of said school's instructors. Anything you want to see examined, past fights or recent, let me know!
For the first in this new series, I thought I'd briefly examine a small moment from round 4 of the BJ Penn/Frankie Edgar that made it on the highlight reel of Edgar making BJ look very human.
To set up a gif of the moment I'm talking about, here's Ryan Gruhn of Central Pennsylvania Mixed Martial Arts.
Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn UFC 118 - Cut Kick W/ Hand Check (via RealContactFighter)
The cut kick, while not a complicated technique, is under-utilized in MMA. You'll see it a lot more in Muay Thai matches. As Ryan mentions, it's key to this technique's success that you get your opponent reacting to your kicks to the body and legs. Indeed, as the fightmetric report shows us, Frank Edgar set up this technique well in advance throughout the fight, landing at least 2 leg kicks in every round, including the 4th.
Here's Frankie fooling Penn with his body movement and landing the technique we're talking about, a perfect cut kick to put BJ on his back.
In addition to absolutely picture-perfect use of the hand check Kru Gruhn talks about in the above video (Frankie places his right hand on BJ's right wrist to prevent a counter), Edgar's right arm serves another function in the sweep. Specifically, it's a lever to push BJ further off-balance and into the cut kick.
To further illustrate the lever effect, here's Cung Le doing an almost identical technique with a different setup (a caught front kick) against Frank Shamrock.
From this angle, the use of the checking arm as a lever in the sweep is made perfectly clear. As well as stopping momentum for a counter-punch, it pushes Frank's center of gravity and balance further over and away from his plant leg, making the kick sweep all the more dramatic.
The cut kick, just one aspect of Frank Edgar's highly technical kickboxing that worked to assert his superiority over BJ. Hope you enjoy the short technique breakdown, let me know in the comments what you'd like to see in the future!