The kicking game has evolved exponentially in the sport of mixed martial arts, where having a background in a traditional discipline which employs effective kicks, has become a more than a weapon, but a threat to end the fight from any angle, at any time. From leg kicks, roundhouses, spinning hook kicks, to teeps, the arsenal which present fighters choose to employ in their attack is vast, and has been seen to end fights in the most exciting, and brutal fashion. In addition to the array of kicks which exist, many of the kicks are executed differently by different martial arts backgrounds. The setup, and execution varies between the styles, the fighters which make up this list represent this very example, as they have been compiled with consideration being given to their creative and effective nature. Without further delay, the list of the best fighters to use the kicking attack in mixed martial arts.
#5 Conor McGregor, Featherweight, UFC
Conor McGregor has been on a meteoric rise to the top of the the featherweight mountain, his ascension in the sport is unparalleled, and coupled with his promotional ability, the man is unbelievably talented. Conor uses a wide, semi-karate style stance and rattles off very creative kicks which are absolutely beautiful to watch. The snap and power is evident, as well as the balance displayed in the finish, which is brilliant. Spinning hook kicks, lead hook kicks, spinning back kicks front side kicks, and a Meia Lua de Compasso (compass half moon) which comes from his practice of Capoeira. The creativity of Conor’s kicks can arguably be placed in the top slot of this list, as the evolution of his ability continues, it will be exciting to see what else is in the Dubliner’s bag of tricks.
#4 Edson Barboza, Lightweight, UFC
Edson Barboza has the best leg kicks in mixed martial arts. The ferocity is evident, as two, to three landing flush requires a switch in stance, additional landing, and loss of planting ability and use of that particular leg all together. Rafaelo Oliveira, Mike Lullo, and Marcello Giudici have felt this pain as they were all stopped by Barboza via leg kicks. Barboza also has a knockout victory over Terry Etim by way of an unbelievable spinning wheel kick, making Etim go stiff. That knockout is considered one of the greatest knockouts in the history of the sport. The kick was meant to continue through the point of contact, as it did, sending the British fighter to the canvas without consciousness. With Barboza’s propensity to attack the legs, opponents need to completely gameplan around this attack, easily landing Barboza on the list as one of the most effective in the game.
#3 Vitor Belfort, Middleweight, UFC
The Phenom, as Belfort is described is just that. The Brazilian star came into the sport at 19 years of age, and was known to have the fastest hands the sport had seen, blitzing opponents, and overwhelming them with a barrage of punches. Enter the new Vitor Belfort in 2013 when he kicked Michael Bisping’s head into the front row of the audience, then blasted Luke Rockhold via spinning back heel kick, and subsequently rattled the old bones of Dan Henderson by vicious head kick. This is a new Vitor, showing the execution of power and technique in the kicking department which places the Brazilian with the elite. Vitor steps into the cage to challenge for the Middleweight strap opposite Chris Weidman at UFC 187. His ability to finish three divisional top contending stalwarts in a row by kicks lands the Phenom at number three on the list.
#2 Lyoto Machida, Middleweight, UFC
The Dragon, Lyoto Machida is the most effective Karateka in mixed martial arts. Machida has exceptional movement and leaps in and out of attacks with fluidity. Machida likely masks his kicks better than any fighter on this list, as his karate background allows him to execute his kicks without setting them up, no pivoting, no giveaway turn of the hips, he simply unleashes the kicks from his stance. Finishes have come from roundhouse head, liver kick, and to one of the greatest ever seen, a jumping front switch kick over Randy Couture, reminiscent to the “Crane Kick” made famous in the Karate Kid movie. Lyoto’s kicks are very hard to defend against, while he sacrifices some power in lack of setup, the speed and unpredictability make them highly effective in finding their target. Machida would likely have landed the top spot if not for the sniper occupying the mantle.
#1 Anthony Pettis, Lightweight, UFC
The man who goes by the name Showtime, made his name for throwing fantastic kicking techniques which have not been seen in the sport. Cartwheel kicks, and the famous “Showtime Kick” which saw the former lightweight champion leap up off of one leg, press against the cage with the other, and spring off of the cage, launching his hind leg in roundhouse fashion at his opponent Benson Henderson. Had the kick resulted in a knockout, instead of simply a knock down, it would have been the greatest finish ever seen. As those kicks are recognized, Pettis has also shown great ability to mask his attempts and they have led to huge success in the form of head kick knockouts, as well as the brutal liver kick finish. Pettis has no qualms or hesitancy in throwing whichever kick his creative mind believes the body can execute, he was a runaway pick for the top spot, as he embodies the creative, as well as the effective aspect of the kicking attack.
Honorable Mentions: Anderson Silva, Daron Cruickshank, Donald Cerrone, Jose Aldo, Stephen Thompson
*WATCH* DaveNoseMMA – Aljamain Sterling Knockout Aftermath
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220
UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)
Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:
“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.
— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.
If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.
Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.
UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.
Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview
Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.
LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.
Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.
Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)
The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.
In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.
Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.
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