Ok, so this is going to be quite a brief post because I'm at uni cramming.
At face value, it seems that Vitor is randomly throwing kicks that are just happening to catch people. Comments denoting his success despite 'no set-up' are plentiful. However, Vitor's recent KO's have not been even remotely caused by a combination of random kicks and chance. They are part of a well known strategy.
The strategy involves establishing oneself as a power striker, thus forcing ones opponent to frequently slip or circle away from ones power punch. At this point, the opponent is very susceptible to kicks (they have blocked incorrectly and are moving towards the kick).
Spin kicks are very powerful. However, they land infrequently because the spin telegraphs the attack. But there are a few ways to use them effectively. That is, one shortens the spin by:
- distracting the opponent while stepping across to set up the attack; &/or
- tricking/forcing the opponent to slip or circle towards the spinning attack; &/or
- tricking the opponent into thinking a liner attack is coming, so that they react accordingly such that their reaction to the spin (the real attack) is slowed
Vitor has established himself as a powerful striker who attacks with his fists in a linear style. He often utilises what is termed a straight blast (stepping forward with the back leg while firing 1-2's in rapid succession). His hand power is feared and opponents know it is coming straight.
- Rockhold is watching Vitor;
- Vitors left shoulder pulls back and his right jerks forward;
- Rockhold expects either a (loaded) lead left hook, a jab or (most likely) a right straight;
- Thus, Rockhold back hand rises to parry, he braces & he begins to slip to his left;
- Rockhold realises he has reacted incorrectly and tries to return his hand to block and to brace on the opposite side; and
- BAMN! Too late.
In summary, Vitor's opponents adapted to his linear power style by practicing their slips and circling, and he in turn adapted by developing a kicking game that intercepts them as they manouvre away.
Cheers from Australia,