We will continue with part two of our technical breakdown of UFC 286.
Main event: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman
I really enjoyed watching the fight between Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev just for the spectacle of it, but after watching hundreds of MMA fights during my lifetime I really prefer substance over spectacle. And this main event was full of technical substance. I was able to isolate more than 20 sequences worth analyzing. And this tells me that this was a great fight. Congrats to both fighters for showing such a high level of MMA.
A couple of thoughts about pressure and moving forward in a fight
One thing that comes to mind after watching the last two fights of the card is that contrary to popular belief, the fighter who constantly goes forward is not always the one winning the fight. This was obvious in both the main and co-main event as both Fizief and Usman kept moving forward. Initiating exchanges is an important aspect of the MMA game but a fighter needs to win them decisively in order to make them count in the eyes of the judges. If fighters get countered and punished when they put on the pressure, being offensive just for the sake of it doesn’t really help them win.
That being said, let’s analyze some techniques from the fight.
We’ll let free subscribers have one technique.
Technique #1: Usman’s Jab
Description: Kamaru Usman likes to use his jab from both southpaw and orthodox stances but Leon Edwards is a fighter that is difficult to hit with jabs. This is because Leon controls distance very effectively. On the other hand, Kamaru is pretty fast with this specific punch but does not finish in the right posture. He often overcommits and thus is not able to pull back to safety effectively. He keeps landing in a crouched stance and gets exposed to Leon’s counterpunches. You can see two examples of Usman getting countered above.
Usman is more successful in the example pictured in sequence C. In this case he launches the jab from an orthodox stance and pivots left towards Leon’s blind side. That is how a fighter should jab against an opponent in an opposite stance: by moving towards their back. As a result of this footwork, Edwards tries to counter and misses with a left hand.
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