In the latest MMA Bread ‘N’ Butter technique video (above), resident expert, coach Jason Parillo, talks about All-American wrestler Chris Weidman‘s unique ability to finish fights with his left hook. Most fighters, even top ones, still back straight up when confronted with punch combinations.
It can sometimes feel like the easiest and most natural thing to do, and sometimes it works. However, back up vertically forces fighters to quickly run out of real estate, and also often have a tendency to lift their chins up and out of a tucked protective position while doing it.
Furthermore, it leaves them in front of their opponents, as opposed to cutting angles, which can get them out of the line of fire. Though he doesn’t often get credit for his striking, the UFC’s middleweight champion manages to hurt vaunted strikers with his punches.
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"When opponents back straight up and leave their chin up, Chris Weidman makes them pay with his left hook," he says.
"He knocked out Silva and Uriah Hall – two very good strikers – with that left hook."
Parillo says that is due to his business with his hands, his length, and opponents’ bad habits of backing straight up, with their chins in the air.
"Weidman starts getting his opponent’s head up in the air, eventually, with his strikes. He stays busy and keeps throwing. Against Anderson Silva he threw a jab, a cross, and even threw a quick back hand before throwing the left hook that finished their first fight.
"Weidman has the size and length to land that hook from far away. He’s usually the bigger fighter in the cage, and when opponents defend against his strikes by simply moving backwards instead of angling-out, they may think they’re out of range of punches, but usually aren’t."
After working with Ray Longo for years, the grappling-based Weidman is comfortable being busy and balanced with his strikes. In addition to setting up his takedown attempts, having a high strike volume makes the champ a threat on his feet.
"So, Weidman is a wrestler but he’ll let his hands go. He’ll throw his jab, he’ll throw his cross. He may throw his jab, again, after the cross. In any case, Weidman is eventually looking for the guy’s head to go up in the air," Parillo continued.
"Once he throws the one-two, the guy may be shaking or baking out there the way Anderson did, or not. It doesn’t necessarily matter. Weidman being a big 185 pounder, he covers a lot of range. So, when he gets his opponent’s head in the air, though the guy may be far away, when he throws that left hook, it can still reach and hit the jaw.
"And, when it hits, because the opponent has backed up, with his chin in the air, there’s no where else to go, but down."