UFC 222 is in the books and it’s time for us to watch and learn from our favorite fighters. Our sport is an unpredictable one as there are so many variables that come into play inside the Octagon. Great fighters can get away with technical mistakes but eventually opponents will catch up to them as coaches study tape and identify potential weaknesses.
But there is no need to study tape yourself, as we do it for you in this series. Here is a breakdown of interesting moves from UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya.
Fight: Alexander Hernandez vs. Beneil Dariush
Description: This is a tale of two right hands. Both Alexander Hernandez and Beneil Dariush launch a right jab-left hand combination from a southpaw stance. However, Hernandez starts first and has better positioning, moving his head forward as if he is trying to headbutt his opponent. Dariush on the other hand tries to land more of an overhand left and moves his head to the right with his chin up, and gets caught and dropped. Striking is a game of angles and proper distance and all it takes is one mistake to get caught.
Fight: John Dodson vs. Pedro Munhoz
Description: This is a rarely-seen move and a great one. Pedro Munhoz attacks with a right kick to the body and John Dodson in a southpaw stance catches the kick with his left hand, wraps it under his armpit, uses his right hand to grab his opponents head, circles right, and pushes him downwards to the ground. Dodson is able to grab the head with ease as his opponent crouches in order to avoid punches. This move is a great option when that happens.
Description: Pedro Munhoz launches a right kick to the body and John Dodson in a southpaw stance is able to catch it with his left hand and place his right hand on top of the foot, drag it to the right and push it upwards. Dodson finishes the move by landing a left low kick to Munhoz’s supporting leg and moves in to clinch if necessary. This is a great Muay Thai move.
Fight: C. B. Dollaway vs. Hector Lombard
Description: This is a different counter to the same move as above. C. B. Dollaway launches a right kick to the body and Hector Lombard in a southpaw stance catches the kick with his left hand, and connects hard with a right jab, left hook that drops Dollaway. Although Lombard got disqualified as the one-two combination landed after the bell, this is still a great move. If you examine photo two above, you will notice that C.B. lands right in front of Hector after the kick and his head is so close to his opponent that the shorter Lombard is able to land two punches without stepping in. Very poor body positioning by Dollaway. On another note I prefer high kicks when attacking with the back leg against an opponent in an opposite stance. The body is too far away. Should you decide to attack with a body kick you need to hide the kick behind a feint or a punch to avoid getting countered.
Fight: Ketlen Vieira vs. Cat Zingano
Description: Cat Zingano is able to sweep Ketlen Vieira from the bottom using a basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu move, a sickle sweep. Here is a detailed instructional by Emily Kwok:
Description: Cat Zingano goes for the clinch with double underhooks but before she can connect her hands, Ketlen Vieira pummels her right hand inside and uses a left whizzer (overhook) grip to hip throw Zingano. Although I have shared the following video in the past here are some options from the whizzer position:
Description: Ketlen Vieira has left underhook control and Cat Zingano decides to attack with a left knee, which is not a good idea when you only have overhook control against a wrestler. Ketlen Vieira just drops levels and takes her down with a double leg/outside trip takedown.
Here are several video tutorials:
Description: Sean O’Malley took Andre Soukhamthath to school several times during their fight. Here Andre goes for a fake jab to a right cross and O’Malley catches him over the top with a right hand. What I love about O’Malley is how he mixes things up in an unpredictable manner. Here he goes after Soukhamthath with a right high kick and a right spinning back kick.
Description: I love trapping techniques in MMA and here is another example. Sean O’Malley in a southpaw stance has Andre Soukhamthath with his back against the cage. Sean uses his front/right hand to trap Andre’s left hand and lands a left cross to the body. Soukhamthath tries to catch him with a low jab but misses as O’Malley’s head is properly positioned to the side (photo 4).
Description: Mixing things up part two! This is a classic combo that is often taught in kickboxing schools around the world: a right spinning back fist to a left high kick.
Here is a tutorial :
These two strikes work together very well. Here are a couple of knockouts from an alternative mix of the two (high kick to a spinning backfist):
Fight: Brian Ortega vs. Frankie Edgar
Description: Brian Ortega looked huge compared to Frankie Edgar during their fight. Frankie was actually landing on several occasions before Ortega knocked him out, but Brian did not seem to get stunned by his opponent’s power (or lack thereof). Edgar often closes the distance with a fake jab, which is a dangerous tactic once opponents figure it out. Anyway here, Frankie closes the distance with a fake jab, right uppercut (probably, not a good angle) and probably catches Ortega with a right hook as Brian backsteps to the left by changing stances.
Tip: When you move away from punches you should have your chin down and hand up on the side of the direction you are moving towards, or be prepared to roll under incoming punches.
Description: Here is another example of Frankie using his fake jab, but this time he pays for it like Donald Cerrone did against Darren Till (gif). There is a psychological side and an intimidation factor that comes into play when it comes to striking. If you know there is never any power behind a certain strike, then you can take chances with it and get creative. In this example Frankie goes for a fake jab and a fake right and gets caught by Ortega’s vicious left elbow. That being said, anybody can get caught - Frankie is a great fighter and I expect him to come back stronger. On the other hand, this was a solid performance by Ortega.
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).