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At UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway, Lyoto Machida connected with a fight ending kick to the liver early on in round 1. In this video we analyse the kicking opportunity that Machida found on Dolloway, specifically the role that the back arm has in terms of either defending or creating the gap that allows the round kick to sneak through to the liver. We focus on the placement of the back arm and the effect the angle of the body can have.

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The key points are:

  1. Look for openings in 3 main areas – the inside leg, under the back arm, to the head
  2. For the liver kick you need to be delivering the kick with your left leg to the right side of your opponent
  3. Look for a gap between your opponent’s back arm and their body
  4. If your opponent leans to their right then they potentially increase the gap and make the liver kick more available

Looking after the placement of the back arm is a fundamental defensive concept that needs to be understood in all combat sports but particularly in MMA as there are a range of attacks that can be used against a poorly positioned back arm.


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