A concept which I spoke about in a previous piece called The Curious Case of Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filopovic is that of the double threat or double attack. When I speak of a double attack I don't mean throwing two punches at once such as in karate's more ludicrous applications, nor do I mean two strikes in rapid succession. The double threat or double attack is the act of basing your power striking around two strikes (or two types of strike) which will set each other up. Jimi Manuwa did this in the form of overhand right hand strikes when Kyle Kingsbury was stood upright, and upward left knees, kicks and uppercuts when the overhand strikes forced Kingsbury to duck. Double threats have often proved an effective way to secure fast knockouts and we'll look at them in a little detail today.
A southpaw, Mirko Cro Cop is famous for his left high kick but it was not the kick alone that won him fights. Indeed when Cro Cop began abandoning all else and expecting to still be able to head kick his opponents his career really went down hill. Cro Cop's left high kick was part of a two pronged attack. Mirko's left straight was a key piece of the puzzle - providing a lightning fast power strike which opponents were forced to react to. When opponents reacted to Cro Cop's fast left hand by carrying their right hand ready to parry it or ducking away from it, Cro Cop would simply kick through their right hand as it was in no position to block his kick or kick them as they ducked respectively.
1. Cro Cop delivers a left straight. Igor has had his right forearm held away from his head ready to block Cro Cop's high kicks but has been flustered by Cro Cop's previous hard left straight.
2. Igor brings his rear hand across his body to parry Cro Cop's left straight - not a great idea against a southpaw but an adjustment which Cro Cop's fast and dangerous left straight forced Igor to make.
3. When they resume action in the centre of the ring Igor's right forearm is no longer high and outside of his shoulder ready for the kick. Cro Cop steps as if to throw his left straight and instead throws a kick.
4. Igor's hand is moving to parry the left straight, making it easy for Cro Cop to simply kick through it into Vovchanchyn's head.
I highly recommend watching this double attack in action. Notice how Vovchanchyn's high guard disappears when Cro Cop begins flustering him.
Another classic example of a double attack is Sergei Kharitonov's right hook to the body and right hook to the head. The two motions are almost identical spare the height of the punch and Sergei is practised enough in throwing both hard that he can force an opponent to overcommit to one or other defence, allowing him to connect clean in the unguarded area.
Against Kyle Kingsbury, Jimi Manuwa was able to utilize a double attack very effectively throughout the fight to fluster Kingsbury and get an impressive first victory in the UFC. Throughout the fight Manuwa alternated between an overhand right and his left uppercut / left knee / left high kick and it worked an absolute treat.
From the start everyone knew that Manuwa was a power puncher with a big left hook, so he immediately opened with it to establish the threat. I doubt he anticipated being taken down so quickly and held down for so long, but he established the threat and realised that Kingsbury was going to duck. From the moment that Manuwa returned to his feet it was simply a game of striking Kingsbury with hard right overhands and elbows when he stood upright, and hard left uppercuts, knees and kicks when Kingsbury ducked.
Notice that Manuwa's first left hook travels almost parallel to the mat - from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. This is easy for Kingsbury to duck.
Every subsequent left hook that Manuwa threw was nothing like his first - travelling diagonally upward in order to catch Kingsbury as he leaned. Notice in the stills below how Manuwa is throwing his hook upward in order to catch Kingsbury ducking. It is highly likely that Manuwa threw his first hook so high and obviously to make Kingsbury duck under the huge gap between Manuwa's elbow and body. From there on in most of the damage that Manuwa inflicted came as Kingsbury was ducking into the left hook, left high kick or left knee.
Of course Kingsbury was not going to keep ducking if he kept getting hurt when he did so. He's a middling fighter but he's hardly a stupid fighter - so Manuwa offered up other dangers to ensure that Kingsbury couldn't stand upright. Every time Kingsbury stood upright Manuwa attacked him with overhands and overhand elbows.
By forcing Kingsbury to duck with hard overhands, Manuwa was able to herd his opponent into hard uppercuts, left knees and left kicks. I will always advocate a strategy based around a hard jab but if you want to power strike with an opponent and overwhelm him with offence - forcing him to pick a defence and then exploiting that defence is an excellent way to go.
Creating a double threat with power strikes isn't the prettiest strategy in the world, nor is it the most scientific, but it's probably one of the smartest ways in which you can overwhelm an opponent in a short time as Cro Cop and Sergei Kharitanov excelled at. It is a testament to Kingsbury's heart and chin, and to a degree the shoddy job his corner did of considering their fighter's health, that stopped Manuwa from simply steam-rolling the over-matched Kingsbury in the opening round.