UFC Fight Night 126 is in the books and it is time to analyze some interesting techniques that took place this past weekend. Keep in mind this is not a fight breakdown of the card, but an analysis of specific techniques. The focus of this series is to discover combat-tested examples of technical display in MMA fights, even in losing efforts so please do not expect spectacular highlights or knockouts. We will examine some interesting moves from the event, in order to expand our understanding of the art as we try to determine a blueprint for success in the most complicated combat sport in the world.
That being said here is a breakdown of memorable techniques from UFC pros in action:
Description: Sage Northcutt and Thibault Gouti cross jabs and right hands and Gouti is able to land, thus winning the exchange. They both slip left when they go for the right crosses, but Sage uses a karate-style angle where he is further away and this leaves him open against boxing oriented strikers. In order for fighters to land a punch from a safe angle, their opponents should not be at an angle that enables them to get a clear view of their ear.
Description: Sage Northcutt attacks with a jab and Thibault Gouti tries to duck under and come up with a left hook. Sage is already shooting under the hook and lands a beautiful double leg takedown. Strike combinations to takedowns is an under-trained technical aspect of MMA. I love aggressive takedowns from duck-under and roll-under boxing style defenses. Boxers do it all the time to get the clinch.
Description: Thibault Gouti goes for a jab and Sage Northcutt (barely) slips right and lands a beautiful short left elbow. Elbows generally are not knockout moves but are difficult to defend and can make fighters hesitant to engage in the pocket.
Description: In my articles Defeating the G.O.A.T: How to beat Jon Jones pt. 1 and Part 2 I elaborate on how to counter the oblique kick AKA the Savate kick. Here is another counter on display by Sage. Although this is probably a low blow, Sage is able to counter Thibault Gouti’s oblique kick with a low sidekick to the supporting leg. It is due to the diversity of fighting disciples that are put to the test in MMA make moves like this possible. It is a great counter, but if you get to try this in sparring please be careful as you can hurt your partner’s knee if you land a sidekick with significant force.
Fight: Brandon Davis vs. Steven Peterson
Description: Steven Peterson attacks with a left roundhouse kick to the body and Brandon Davis catches the foot wrapping his left arm around it. In a typical Muay Thai fashion he low-kicks both of his opponent’s feet with his right shin. Peterson tries to go for a spinning back fist but fails as his feet are in no position to generate momentum.
Fight: Curtis Millender vs. Thiago Alves
Description: Thiago Alves goes for a right low kick without setting up the attack with strikes or feints and pays for it, as Curtis Millender blocks with his left shin and counterattacks with a right hand that drops Alves.
Description: Curtis Millender has Thiago Alves with his back against the cage and attacks with a jab and right uppercut that drops Alves as the latter tries to attack with an overhand right. Timing is essential in this exchange as both overhand rights and right uppercuts are risky punches and can counter each other depending on which punch lands first.
Description: Thiago goes for a right low kick (again, no set-ups) and Millender pulls his left foot behind to make him miss, momentarily changes to southpaw and attacks with a right hand and a right kick to the body. As you can see in the gifs above, Millender used this counter attack a couple of times. This is an unorthodox, yet efficient counter. I was impressed with Curtis’ performance, as he took Thiago Alves to school using his reach advantage and slick counters.
Description: Donald Cerrone is very hittable at this stage of his career. That being said Medeiros is not very accurate with his punches. As you can see in the example above and the following ones, Cerrone barely slips incoming right hands and Medeiros still fails to connect. Here Cowboy parries a jab, sort of slips a right cross and lands a nice roundhouse kick to Medeiros’ body. Yancy punches in a “chicken wing” fashion, meaning that he lifts his right elbow up before throwing a right punch. This is a fundamental mistake in boxing and one of the most difficult habits to correct as a trainer.
Description: Here Medeiros feints a jab and goes for a right cross and misses as Cowboy (barely) slips, pivots left and lands a right hand that drops Yancy.
Description: In this final exchange Medeiros goes for a jab and a right cross. Ceronne attacks with a jab/hook hybrid over the top of the incoming right hand, continues with a right cross to the body and lands a left hook, right cross combo that drops Yancy. Cerrone is one of my favorite fighters but his performances are very inconsistent at this stage of his career.
That will be all for now. Please join me next week for another breakdown. For a list of my previous technique breakdowns on Bloody Elbow, check out this link.
About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).