Ah, leg kicks. The standup games equivalent of ankle locks to jiujitsu. You hate them, some are downright nasty and questionably legal, but you have to understand them and train them. Fight.TV breaks down leg kicks with what better example than some fight legends who had a twist of fate.
The gruesome incident that unfolded during the UFC 168 bout between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman left the MMA world in shock. Anderson Silva, often hailed as one of the greatest fighters of all time, suffered a horrific leg break when his leg collided with Weidman's shin during a leg kick attempt. The impact was devastating, shattering Silva's lower leg and instantly ending the fight. Fast forward a few years, and the MMA universe witnessed a cruel twist of fate. Chris Weidman, the very man responsible for Silva's leg break, found himself in a similar nightmarish situation when he faced Uriah Hall at UFC 261. In an eerie parallel, Weidman's leg snapped upon impact as he attempted a leg kick, just as Silva's had done before him. It was a stark reminder of the brutality that can unfold in the sport, a painful and unfortunate chapter in the careers of both fighters.
In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), fighters utilize a variety of techniques to gain an edge over their opponents. One such technique that has risen to prominence is the leg kick. These punishing strikes have the potential to sap an opponent's strength and mobility, ultimately altering the course of a fight.
Fighters with Thunderous Leg Kicks
José Aldo - The former UFC Featherweight Champion, Aldo is famous for his brutal leg kicks. He often targets the thighs and calves, debilitating opponents and forcing them to adjust their game plan.
Edson Barboza - A true technician in the art of leg kicks, Barboza's kicks are blindingly fast and powerful. His highlight-reel leg kicks have left many opponents unable to continue.
Thiago Alves - Alves, known as "The Pitbull," possesses thunderous leg kicks that have broken opponents' legs in the cage. His precision and power make him a fearsome striker.
Types of Leg Kicks
Low Kicks: These are aimed at the opponent's calf or ankle. Low kicks can disrupt an opponent's balance and slow their movement, when executed properly, it's more of a sweep but none the less. Mastering leg kicks can help with your sweeps.
Inside and Outside Leg Kicks: Fighters use these to target the inside or outside of the thigh, affecting their opponent's mobility and causing pain. Consistent barrages to the thigh and calf can drain an opponent quickly.
Oblique Kicks: These are straight kicks aimed at the opponent's knee. While controversial due to their potential to cause injury, they are effective at destabilizing an opponent. Jon Jones is famous for these.
Defending Against Leg Kicks
Check Kicks: By lifting your leg to intercept the incoming kick, you can block or weaken the impact of leg kicks. However, proper timing and technique are crucial.
Distance Management: Maintaining the right distance can make it challenging for your opponent to land leg kicks. Keep them on the outside of your striking range.
Counter Strikes: If your opponent is predictable with their leg kicks, you can counter with takedown attempts or other kicks to deter them.
Conditioning: Strengthening your leg muscles and shins through conditioning exercises can help reduce the pain and damage caused by leg kicks.
In the world of mixed martial arts, checking a leg kick is a fundamental defensive technique that can make the difference between victory and defeat. Leg kicks when executed effectively, can severely damage an opponent's leg. Impeding their mobility and striking power. To successfully check a leg kick, a fighter must lift their shin and knee to block the incoming strike. Identifying when an opponent is about to throw a leg kick is crucial. Watch for telltale signs such as a slight shift in weight to their lead leg or a chambering motion of their kicking leg. Pay attention to the distance between you and your opponent, as they may attempt a leg kick when in close range. By honing your ability to spot these cues and reacting swiftly with a well-timed check, you not only protect yourself from potential injury. You create openings for counterattacks, demonstrating the significance of this defensive maneuver in the dynamic world of MMA.
Leg kicks are a potent weapon in the arsenal of any MMA fighter. With the right technique, timing, and strategy, they can be a game-changer in the cage. Whether you're looking to add leg kicks to your own repertoire or defend against them, understanding the art of leg kicks is essential for success in MMA. So, train hard, refine your skills, and watch out for those thunderous leg kicks when you step into the octagon.