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Technical Analysis: A kick to remember, Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili edition

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A technical analysis of the impressive punch-to-kick combination used by Ande Fili at UFC Sacramento.

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Andre Fili put an impressive performance on display at UFC Fight Night 155: Sacramento, when he beat Brazilian featherweight Sheymon Moraes via first-round KO (punches).

There were two counter combinations that helped “Touchy Fili” get the win: a left kick counter and an overhand right counter. The latter was the one ended the fight as you can see in the tweet below.

This winning sequence was a left-hook-to-uppercut counter against an overhand right. Here is a thumbnail image:

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We have analyzed this move in the counters section of our ongoing overhand-right series. Here is an example of this move performed by Floyd Mayweather Jr.:

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Description: A left hook is a common counter to a right hand but some opponents throw the punch while crouching or moving to their left when attacking. That may cause a left hook counter to miss. In this example Floyd throws a left hook, misses and follows up with a right uppercut in order to finish the sequence.

This was a great punch KO by Fili but the focus of this post is the kick that he landed before the fight ending sequence. This is a very effective way to land a right kick to the head. I call it thePeter Aerts kick” and it was analyzed in my previous post Dutch Muay Thai: Moves to Remember part 1.

The “Peter Aerts kick”

Legendary Dutch kickboxing champion Peter “the Dutch Lumberjack” Aerts would often attack with a straight punch in order to close the distance, block his opponent’s vision and distract him, followed by a high kick launched from the same side. Aerts would initiate the kick just a split second after the punch, in order to make sure that his foot would be reaching the target as his hand was retracting.

In this specific technique, the punch can either have power behind it or not but speed is a requirement. The hand is mostly used as a distraction. It does not even have to be a punch, sometimes a pushing palm to the face will do. The follow-up kick, however, must be able to generate tremendous power and cover a lot of distance.

There are two main reasons why this combo is effective:

  1. The opponent does not see the kick coming, and the strike that you do not see coming is the strike that knocks you out.
  2. The punch is used as a range-finder, once you connect it is easy to get a good sense of the distance and land the kick.

The right Aerts kick

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Description: Aerts’ opponent Jérôme Le Banner is in a southpaw stance and attacks with a right jab. Peter checks the distance by touching his opponent with his right cross as he pulls back and this hides his incoming right high kick. The kick connects and drops Le Banner.

Variation: Right kick misses to a left Aerts kick

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Description: In this sequence you can see the “Dutch Lumberjack” applying this technique twice in a row, both left and right. Aerts misses with a hand extension to a right high kick and as his opponent, the great Andy Hug tries to close the distance, Peter pushes him away with his left hand and lands a hard left high kick thus dropping Hug. This is another example of Aerts using the hand connection as a range-finding/keeping method.

Andre Fili’s version of the kick

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Description: In this example, Andre Fili tries to block Moraes’ incoming left kick to the body and misses but is able to throw the right hand and land the right kick in a very efficient fashion. He is able to connect with both strikes. This is not a punch, a stance reset and a kick. Both moves are launched without resetting the stance.

Fili has a great right kick. Below you can see him dropping Artem Lobov:

Description: In a southpaw stance, Lobov tries to handfight “Touchy” and Fili just uses his left hand to push Lobov’s right hand away and land a beautiful right kick that momentarily drops Lobov. As you can see in my breakdown of Jon Jones’ game here, it is not a good idea to let fighters with a reach advantage to touch your extended hand as this helps them establish a sense of distance and connect with strikes at will.

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Training footage and tips

I trained this technique with a student as a counter to a left kick. Here is a highlight video:

Training tips:

  1. I prefer landing the kick on my training partner’s high elbow block (not on the elbow itself but on the arm) as this gives me a better feeling of the distance and connecting power. Of course, Thai pads can also be used for power training.
  2. It is important to be careful so that you do not to land with extreme power on your partner’s arm.
  3. Please do not try this without professional supervision. Kicks to the head are dangerous and although the kick is blocked, the opponents’ blocking hand can still hit their own head and knock them out.
  4. When training this technique, you do not have to use a switch kick. There is enough power behind the kick as it is.
  5. As you can see in the video, it is important to step with your left foot to the left before initiating the punch and this will enable you to kick at an angle with your head out of the way.
  6. During practice, your training partner should step back a bit, in order to semi-avoid the incoming punch. You will find out that you can still hit the target as the kick covers a lot of distance.
  7. The kick works even better if the opponents decide to slip the punch to their left, thus exposing their head to the kick.

Overall, this is a great kick combo and an essential addition to a fighter’s arsenal. The fight game is all about deception, speed and power and this kick combines all three of them.

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 black belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).

Follow Kostas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kostasfant and search #fantmoves for more techniques.

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