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MMA Technique Analysis: The overhand right, part 2 - Spinning edition

Second part of our comprehensive analysis of this devastating punch focusing of clinching and spinning combos.

In part one of this four part series we stressed the importance of the overhand right punch. We provided several ways to use this punch both as an attack and as a counter. Finally, we examined several techniques of the overhand right combined with kicks and knees.

In this post we will continue our analysis of the overhand right with more ways that can be used to deliver the punch and several options to attack with follow up strikes. Please keep in mind that most of these examples can also work with right hooks or straight right hands instead of overhand rights.

The H-Bomb

Left inside low kick to an H-bomb overhand right

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Description: Dan Henderson’s H-bomb is the explosive punch that knocked out Michael Bisping (see clip above) in a devastating fashion. In this specific example, Hendo closes the distance with an inside low kick as Bisping is moving towards the right hand. Henderson seals the deal with his explosive overhand right.

This specific combination was often used by former Team Quest members including Randy Couture. You can see below Randy applying the move against Pedro Rizzo and Tim Sylvia.

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Finally you can see below Daniel Cormier applying the move against Anderson Silva.

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Description: Using an inside low kick to close the distance, Cormier slips a jab, lands a charging overhand right and slips a right hook to go back to safety against the always dangerous Anderson Silva.

The problem with overhand rights is that if you overcommit to them, you end up landing right in front of your opponent’s power hand. You should be ready to slip, roll under, get the clinch or go for a takedown after attacking with overhand rights.

“Double trouble” (both fighters go for a right hand, left hook at the same time)

Whenever fighters throw the overhand right, they usually follow up with a left hook. The right-hand-left-hook combination is the most common punching combination in modern combat sports. This is why it is also common for both fighters to use this combo at the same time.

Whenever this happens, someone is likely going to get rocked. Sometimes, both fighters land but only one is able to land on the right spot. Also, some fighters have better chins than others. Take a look at the following clip.

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Description: In the clip above Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy go simultaneously for right hands and Carlos semi-connects. Both follow up with left hooks but only Condit is able to land. Please keep in mind that both fighters have their right hands down and chins up which is not the proper way to throw left hooks.

Click here for a similar clip (Hendo vs. Shogun Rua).

You can also see below a classic double KO with Dutch kickboxing legends Ramon Dekkers and Rayen Simson.

The “anchor”

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Description: Sometimes both fighters throw overhand rights and their arms get crossed and tangled together (photo 2). I call this the “anchor” because in self defense you can grab your opponent’s tricep and drag the arm towards you while keeping it trapped.

This crossing entanglement is common in striking arts. In this example, against Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson is able to follow up with a crushing left hook.

These two situations above can teach us a valuable lesson: whenever an opponent misses with an overhand right, a loaded left hand is coming. Keep that in mind for the upcoming third part of this series where we will examine ways to counter the overhand right.

Overhand rights to spinning techniques

Missing with overhand right, left spinning back fist

Another possible attack after a failed right hand is a spinning back attack.

Here is an example of this featuring Emanuel Newton knocking out King Mo Lawal.

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Here is the actual clip.

Deliberately missing with a right hand, spinning backfist

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Description: As you can see above, another common tactic is fighters deliberately missing with their overhand right so they can close the distance, distract their opponent and get the proper momentum needed in order to spin and land a backfist.

Deliberately missing with right hand, spinning left elbow

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Description: In this clip you can see a spinning back elbow following a fake right hand applied by Gaston “The Dream Killer” Bolanos. This is his trademark move. For fighters to follow up with spinning back elbows, the fake right hand has to come really close to the opponent.

This is a great move, but keep in mind that spinning moves often result in chaotic outcomes. Once fighters start spinning anything can happen.

Click here for a clip of the mittwork drill used to train this move as depicted in the photo sequence above.

Here is another clip where both fighters go for this move at the same time


Fake right hand, “rolling thunder” kick (spinning heel kick)

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Description: This is a spectacular spinning technique where kickboxer Peter Graham uses a spinning heel kick variation that is called “rolling thunder” to knockout Badr Hari.

This is surely an impressive move but a normal spinning heel kick can have the same result as you can see below.

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Overhand rights from wrestling controls

Single neck ties to right hands

A single neck tie is a great way to deliver punches. However keep in mind that the proper way to use this control is to keep moving towards your tie-side in order to force your opponent to keep moving and resetting.

Here is an instructional by Randy Couture where he provides all necessary details for this single collar tie control.

That being said, this single tie control is a dangerous position. Both fighters usually get a single tie and their heads cannot move in order to escape punches. Uppercuts are very effective from this position but once fighters get some distance between them, a landing overhand right can be devastating.

Such is the case in the clip below.

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Description: Aaron Pico has established a right single inside collar tie on Henry Corrales and the latter has a left outside collar tie. As Pico is attacking the body, there is enough distance between them for Corrales to launch a fight-ending right hand.

Going for uppercuts from the single tie clinch is not advisable. You should try instead to control your opponents’ posture or hide your head by keeping it close to their ear .

Here is how Randy Couture does this effectively with an outside right collar tie.

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Please notice that Randy keeps hitting Vitor Belfort with right uppercuts but as soon as Vitor pulls his head back exposing his chin, thus giving Couture some space, “the Natural” attacks with an overhand right. This is the proper use of this type of clinch.

Let’s examine below a variation from Daniel Cormier.

Single left collar tie, pummel & left step forward to get underhook (opponent gets single tie), right hand

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Description: This is the fight-ending move against Stipe Miocic. When DC cannot get an underhook, he goes for a neck tie on top, places his left foot on the outside, pulls his left elbow down and then goes for the underhook. In this example, Stipe tries to get a single colar tie and pull back with his chin up/hands down. He pays for it with a right hook/overhand.

Landing overhand rights when opponents escape front headlocks.

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Description: In one of DC’s first fights, this time against Tony Johnson, Cormier uses a great way to land a punch from the headlock position. It is common for DC to go from an underhook or overhook and neck-tie control to a front headlock. Being shorter than his opponents, this often results in them being able to escape and just slip their heads out exposing their chin. Cormier takes advantage of this by landing a right hand. He is lower than they are so they don’t see the punch coming. This is a great tactic to land punches from wrestling controls.

In the sequence below against Jon Jones, Cormier goes for the same front headlock. As Jones escapes, Cormier lands a beautiful right cross.

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This concludes the first two parts of this series where we examined numerous ways to integrate the overhand right into a fighter’s offensive arsenal.

In our next post we will focus on defenses against this essential punch.

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).

Follow Kostas on Twitter: and search #fantmoves for more techniques.