It's been awhile since our first feature on Frankie Edgar's use of the cut kick. Both myself and Ryan Gruhn, owner and head instructor at CPAMMA have been extremely busy since that time. Technique Central will continue to be a feature here though, so please let me know through a comment or email if you'd like a particular fight or technique examined. Video and write-up after the jump! 3 gifs, slow computers beware.
GSP's Lead Super Man to Kick (via RealContactFighter)
Additional link to facebook video.
As Ryan mentions, this is a technique GSP has used in multiple fights-every fight since Serra II if I recall correctly (or at least the jab part). Here's the gif of his spectacular combination on Matt Serra.
Ryan talks about the head movement the superman jab gives you, putting GSP's head far to the right and off the line of the jab Serra throws, which seems to hit him in the right pec. Additionally, you can see (both in the gif above and the video) that the roundhouse kick then brings GSP's head over to the left side, throwing off any attempts to catch him as his head comes back to center and allowing him to duck Serra's return hook.
This is a result of using proper roundhouse technique, rolling the lead shoulder up and moving the head off center while keeping your eyes on the opponent. It's not something Ryan mentions, being that his technique is instinctive, but that's not the case for every fighter we watch in the UFC. GSP does it beautifully.
I'm generally not a fan of the criticisms of GSP as a "safe" fighter, but I think it applies (in a good way) to his standup. Most of GSP's striking starts off the lead side, which favors his seldom-mentioned speed advantage over most of his competition. If you don't believe me, look further down for the gif of the superman jab GSP lands on BJ. Anyway, GSP fights more like a traditional boxer in this sense, jabbing and moving in order to wear down his opponent and set up the power shots rather than wading straight in with bombs. See Leonard vs. Hearns for a spectacular example of what I mean. For someone with a speed and technique advantage and who consistently has 5 rounds over which to wear his opponent down, this strategy makes perfect sense.
For a fighter who initiates most of his offense with either the jab or a front leg kick (see the Koschek fight, where he consistently applied both to great effect), the superman jab is a perfect bridge between both in order to set up a power shot from the rear side. Notice the superman jab he lands on BJ Penn in their second fight.
In addition to displaying just how much speed GSP possesses (he's making a lightweight look like he's moving in slow motion, remember), notice how until just before GSP's back foot comes off the ground, it's very difficult to tell whether he's about to step forward and jab, or throw a lead leg kick. All that gives it away is tiny lean forward and a slight drop/windup on the lead hand. This is kickboxing technique at it's finest. After setting up his opponent to react to the jab and front leg kick through the fight, this superman jab is just the way to paralyze an opponent who's worried about receiving both. Then, as Kru Gruhn's excellent analysis shows us, GSP can use that confusion and his jab hand covering his opponent's face to dig in an unblocked power leg kick.
Just for fun, here's one final gif (and a link to another) demonstrating that GSP does indeed use the lead leg kick and jab to set up the power rather than resting on his laurels and jabbing his way to decisions.
Be sure to visit the CPAMMA facebook page if you're interesting in knowing more about the school or instructors. Until next time!