There are many ways to end your opponent before the final bell – submission, ground and pound, knockout win, or TKO stoppage on the feet. But chopping your foe down is one of the most entertaining ways to finish the match as he’ll be unable to stand next to the referee once your hand is raised. You’re above him at the end of the fight, which makes the crowd believe you’re an alpha male and increases your number of fans.
Leg kicks are the symbol of domination, but also one of the greatest ways to start a powerful level change combination. But if kickboxer transitions to the world of MMA, then the majority of three or four-hit combos are finished with a brutal shin to the thigh or calf.
It’s time to get to dive into the world of leg kicks in mixed martial arts.
Outside Leg Kick
This is the most often version of a low kick in MMA, very popular among Muay Thai fighters and kickboxers. There are two versions – a slashing low kick, where your leg travels downwards and diagonally (Thai boxing), and a kickboxing one (your shin travels horizontally towards the opponent’s thigh).
The master of this strike is definitively Jose Aldo. There were many top-notch low-kick experts in the history of the sport, but the former UFC featherweight champion destroyed Urijah Faber and Frankie Edgar with these powerful leg bombs.
Edson Barboza chopped down Rafaello Oliveira at UFC 162 via brutal leg kicks to the lateral part of the thigh, which led to a TKO stoppage.
Unfortunately, this strike is one of the most dangerous attacks for both sides. The opponent could check the kick, which leads to a shin-to-shin collision and a potential tibia and fibula fracture. Chris Weidman knows the best, look at his match versus Uriah Hall. It was his first kick of the night!
Inside Leg Kick
When a southpaw meats orthodox, or vice versa, the inner area of the thigh is endangered. It’s very hard to block it, plus you have to make a perfect step-drag backward to evade it. It seems Kenny Florian was too slow for Jose Aldo at UFC 136.
Jared Cannonier demonstrated the brutality of this strike against Anderson Silva. Later it was rumored that Silva came to the fight injured from the training session, but the power of that kick was brutal!
However, I must warn you, it is so easy to break the leg if you don’t land this kind of attack properly. For example, Anderson Silva got overconfident in the rematch against Chris Weidman at UFC 168, which led to one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of this sport.
Andy Hug’s Tornado Kick
This is one of the rarest kicks in MMA, but it’s worth mentioning. It is hard to land it, but the former Karateka Andy Hug mastered it. In his bout against Mike Bernardo, he unloaded the heel to the opponent’s thigh and chopped him down in one of the most entertaining ways ever seen.
This kind of spinning heel kick to the thigh is more suitable for a video game, isn’t it? If you play Tekken with Hwoarang, I bet this is one of the easiest ways to finish the fight.
Sidekick To The Leg
Sidekick to the body is usually a trademark of Taekwondo or Karate experts, but a modified version could land to the knee and hurt the opponent. You have to hop in the air and target the opponent’s lower third of the thigh or a kneecap.
It is an excellent strike to counter the aggressive attacker but you can also make some damage against the opponent who doesn’t move much (for example, Kris Moutinho) and eats the majority of your shots.
Anthony Pettis and Jon Jones try this strike pretty much often but it’s not too popular. When a southpaw attacks an orthodox fighter, he could get countered and put to sleep with a big weaving overhand right. You must perform it quickly, otherwise, you’re doomed.
Jon Jones’ Leg Kick (Knee Stomp)
This is one of the rare applicable Wing Chun techniques in the world of mixed martial arts. The traditional Chinese kung fu is great for a street fight but before Jon Jones, nobody from the MMA world tried to stop the opponent via kneecap bombs.
Jon usually attacks orthodox opponents with his left foot to their left kneecap. You could’ve seen a lot of those strikes in the match against Rampage Jackson. This strike serves to keep the opponent at a distance and stop him from marching forward.
But it is very dangerous as it might break the opponent’s leg, which leads to a TKO victory. An even more dangerous version of this strike is seen when an orthodox meets orthodox because it is easier to hurt the ligaments on the inside of the knee. Guess who mastered this first – insanely creative Jon “Bones” Jones!
Calf kick is one of the most popular strikes during the last few years. Before 2015, you could rarely see a fighter kicking under the kneecap, but nowadays, the majority of smaller fighters are looking for the opportunity to win the fight via hurting peroneal nerve. It slows down the foe’s movement and turns him into a sitting duck. The Czech UFC fighter David Dvorak claims he’s a big fan of this kick.
For example, Anthony Smith was losing against Jimmy Crute, but then twisted the opponent’s ankle via a violent right calf kick. Despite Crute was willing to continue he was unable to stand on his feet and the doctor had no choice but to stop the fight.
Aleksandar Rakic was pieced up against Volkan Oezdemir via brutal calf kicks, which slowed him down and led to a decision win for a Swiss competitor.
Leg kicks are some of the greatest ways to finish the fight, but this kick is extremely dangerous both for you and your opponent. A fighter with good defensive skills could easily hurt you, but you can feint or attack the upper body before finishing your combo with a kick to the leg.
What is the best leg kick in the history of the UFC according to your thoughts? Please share them in the comment section below!