The right uppercut is a power punch but it is very short so it is used primarily as a way to make space while your opponent has you against the ropes. You can use it to lift the head to set up for the #3 or left hook. [Remember that there are tonnes of different combinations and I am only giving you some very fundamental basics to get you started.] Using the left shoulder to push him off then turning and lifting the 6 can give you the opportunity to slip out to the right and shove him to the ropes as an example.
The main points for throwing a good right upper-cut are:
1. Push and turn off the back foot.
2. Translate that turn through the entire body until the left shoulder is pointed behind you, rotating the right shoulder on the axis of your spine, keeping your head to the right of your opponent.
3. Connect with the chin, try to lift his head from inside his guard.
4. Bring the hand back to the face.
The next inside punches we will look at are the upper-cut punches. The number 5 or the left upper-cut is used sometimes as a set up for the 4 punch. It is rare that a fighter has the power to knock their opponent out with the upper-cut. Mike Tyson would be an exception but we don’t all have his genetics. Picture the opponent’s chin protected by both his hands covered with boxing gloves; not easy to punch through that to hit the button but lift the head with the 5 and it’s ripe for the 4.
The main points for throwing a good left upper-cut are:
1. Lift and turn off the front foot.
2. Translate that turn through the entire body until the right shoulder is pointed behind you, rotating the left shoulder on the axis of your spine, keeping your head to the left of your opponent.
3. Connect with the chin, try to lift his head from inside the guard.
4. Bring the hand back to the face.
I apologize in advance for all the video in this post but I feel that it’s the only way to convey my thoughts.
The sport of MMA is evolving at a dizzying pace with the strong foundation of wrestling, boxing, Judo and Muay Thai, now comes the addition of techniques from other martial arts. If you look at a fighter like Lyoto Machita coming from a Karate background and his unorthodox style you can imagine the possibilities.
In the beginning we saw Karate, Sumo or the Samoan bone breaking art “Lua” Gung Fu, most of these were quickly wiped out by the more competitive disciplines. What I mean by that is; the martial arts that converted into a sport like Wrestling, Kickboxing and Judo reap the benefits of years or centuries/millenniums of trial and error through thousands of actual combat situations. Martial arts like Karate or Gung Fu were designed, as I have said before, often for multiple opponents, based largely on theory and might not be best suited for one-on-one sport fighting. Machita’s win streaks will belie that assumption but you can not deny that he has more skills than Karate! He does rock the traditional Japanese stance but those don’t look like Karate punches and he aint using no Kata on the ground!
A nice example of this is this famous Capoera knockout by Marcus “Lelo” Aurelio of Axe Capoeira in Vancouver when he knocks out Keegan “The Marshall” Marshall at North American Challenge #24 in North Vancouver, BC on April 4th 2009. Marshall is a pretty straight forward kickboxer and in the video you see him watch the first kick fly by which made him flinch and drop his hands then the second kick lands on his chin flush like the cheeks on a red-head skating Lake Ontario!
Edson Barbosa spins around quite a bit for his kicks and backfists, so does Cung Le. Jose Aldo and Jon Jones love the flying knees and land them better than most folks can land a punch.
What ever you do, make sure you get a solid foundation with the basics. There was an article written by Coach Mike Boyle called “There Is a Reason There Is a Box” on strengthcoach.com where he talks about the need for any coach or athlete to start with a good, solid, basic foundation before moving on to specialized movements. Now, granted, he was talking about weightlifting but the same applies to any type of training; before you explore “outside the box” training, you gotta master “the Box”.
Most MMA athletes will have a schedule of rolling Jits, working take-downs and clinch with a wrestling coach and hitting focus mitts and Thai pads along with sparing standup. After the fundamentals are sound, the fighter has to learn the art of putting them all together. We know now how a fighter who is extensively trained in boxing can be thrown off his game by a wrestler shooting in and this is because the human brain can only consciously pay attention to a couple things at once. An MMA competitor has so many things to focus on at one time and it is difficult to train for this. Imagine your opponent brawling it out with you against the cage, then suddenly dropping level to catch a single and finally lifting off to a flying knee to your face. With so many ways to make a mistake and be beaten and yet, be able to pull off a spinning heal kick and actually land it is an amazing feat of mental focus!
The right hook is another very powerful punch, though, it is short enough to be considered an “inside” fighting technique. The torque on the punch is tremendous so it makes a for great knock-out but it has to be set up well. The same rules apply to the #4 as to the #2 punch except we don’t extend the arm at the end, it is kept in the hook position throughout. Some of the ways it can be set up are; from the outside with a low jab and a step to the right or with an upper-cut from the inside. As I have said many times; any technique will work with the proper timing, distance and accuracy.
The main points for throwing a good right hook are:
1. Push and turn off the back foot until the leg is straight and the heel is pointing outward.
2. Translate that turn through the entire body until the right shoulder is pointed at your opponent’s chin, the left shoulder replaces it to protect your own chin.
3. Connect with the chin, try to pull it across to his opposite shoulder.
4. Bring the hand back to the face.
Howto boxing, MMA Fighting Stance
The fighting stance that we use is a great crossover stance that will serve you well in MMA. We use the basic foot position used in wrestling, boxing and Muay Thai which are the essential parts of the standup game in MMA.
The trick with adapting it to Mixed Martial Arts is to be quick and versatile with the level changes and to train counter techniques for the transition between toe-to-toe and inside grappling as well as take downs and the defense of take downs. For example; a traditional Muay Thai stance is very upright and the advantage it lends is the speed at which a person can throw a kick from there or check and counter. The problem is that, with so much weight on the back foot, it is hard to keep good balance when the opponent is driving forward as a wrestler would. In this case, a fighter who is very confident with his ground game might be ok with this because he knows he can take a toll on his opponent with kicks and if he gets taken down he will survive. An example of this type of fighter would be Donald Cerrone. Most of the time he can get the better of his opponents with his fantastic stand-up and if someone does shoot in and take him to the floor Cerrone would make his life suck badly! Where this is not good for him is when dealing with a boxer like Nate Diaz.
The lower stance, the crisp boxing head movement and the angles tore down Donald’s very upright stance and defense.
Another aspect that is coming in to play in the last few years is the fact that Dana and many other promoters are paying bonuses for fight of the night and the careers of the fighters depends so much on making exciting fights and the brawling stand-up battles are becoming more common. No matter what you can do on the ground, the stand-up game is in play!