Knees are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal during MMA competitions. These strikes generate power from your momentum, legs, and hips, allowing you to generate a devastating amount of power. A flush knee to anyone’s face is virtually guaranteed to end any fight.
Knees can be executed from a variety of positions like the clinch, ground positions, punching range, or kicking range. Effective knees can even be landed from bottom grappling positions, but they are not commonly used since the fighter on his back is typically viewed as the person who is losing the fight.
Just as is the case with any other technique, the key to landing a knee is setting it up with other strikes or timing your opponent as they shoot in for a takedown or duck under to avoid strikes.
Setting Up Knee Attacks
A key to throwing effective knee strikes is to understand that the technique is a lot similar to throwing a roundhouse kick. Many MMA fighters throw straight knees, but these have their limitations, like not connecting with your opponent at the right angles.
MMA World Champion and Evolve MMA Head Coach Siyar Bahadurzada recommends throwing your knees so they hit your opponent at a 45-degree angle. This gives you a more powerful attack that is harder for your opponent to evade.
Here are some of the ways you can set up effective knee strikes during MMA contests:
1. Jab, Switch knee
Here’s a simple way to hide your intention of throwing a knee. You distract your opponent with a few jabs, then you switch to the opposite stance and fire off a knee from the same side you threw the jab from. You throw the knee as if you were throwing a roundhouse at your opponent’s body, but you don’t extend your leg. This allows you to generate maximum power.
2. Cross, Knee
This combination works well for MMA fighters, and it allows them to cover large distances if their opponent backpedals. Throwing a stiff, hard cross is the key to executing this combination. You want the cross to grab your opponent’s attention, then you step towards them and unload a knee with your back leg.
Taking a step before the knee puts your legs in the proper position to throw the knee, removing the need to make any adjustments before firing away. It also allows you to still connect if your opponent tries to retreat.
Want more tips on setting up knee strikes? Watch the video above to learn tips and tricks from an MMA world champion.
This article, "Here’s What You Need To Know About Setting Up Knees In MMA", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.