4 Powerful Stand-up Combos

If you want to be successful in MMA competition, it is all about maximizing your opportunities. You need to have a good arsenal of moves and plenty of skill will help you position yourself for dominance, and it will enable you to score that big knockout. Under-prepared, by contrast, will only give your opponent the advantage, the last thing any fighter needs. One way to prepare well for any match-up is to develop a good command of the several combinations needed to counter, or attack your opponent.

20140104083115_460527697Having an understanding of when and how to execute several attacking options in rapid succession will provide you with an ability to shake your opponent and to  gain strategic advantage. The upper hand, sends a message that you are in total control of the situation. Usually a fighter at the top of his/her game will know when to put together various moves. He/she will have the skills needed before they can apply these combinations. Timing, an ability to know your opponent, read the fight, and good reaction time are absolute necessities to ensure successful combinations.

Everyone knows the standard jab/cross combination and how effective it can be in setting up a number of kicks or further punches. By adding a powerful round kick to this one/two combo, a fighter can catch their opponent when they are at their weakest to take out a leg. Combinations however, should not only be used as a way to score a knockout but they can be used to wear an opponent down. As in the case of multiple low kicks delivered in succession. A round kick off the front leg followed by the same kick of the back leg will have the double impact of taking power away from both your opponent’s legs. For example: while the double round kick off the back leg will eventually take away all power from an opponents countering kicks if done frequently enough throughout the fight. Bottom line; take out the plant leg and your opponent loses power.


THE HOW: One of the more basic combinations is the jab/cross/round kick succession. The idea with this series is to throw the jab as fast as possible to rock your opponent before launching a round kick from the back leg. Typically this kick will connect with your opponent’s front left outer thigh, but it can be targeted at the waist. Kicking to the head in this fashion could be considered rather risky, but this is to a large extent dependant on a fighter’s skill level. Upon throwing the right (the second punch in the combo), draw back your hand all the way to blocking position before executing the round kick as this will ensure you do not leave yourself open for a counter attack should your opponent survive your first two punches. With the kick, pivot on the front foot and twist your waist and hips into the movement for maximal power. Bring back leg quickly.combo1

THE WHEN: This combination can be used often to set up further attacks or keep the momentum going, but the best time would be when your opponent is tired and their hands are dropping. Catch them off guard and then score a knock down with the round kick.


THE HOW: Execute the round kick as described above, before simultaneously bringing the jabbing had up as the leg is grounded, to drive the punch into your opponent’s jaw. A straight cross can be used as a finisher in this 3-strike combo. The round kick should weaken your opponent sufficiently to cause them to drop down into the uppercut.combo2

THE WHEN: This combination can be effective when countering your opponent’s straight cross. Be sure to move to the side when delivering the initial round kick though to avoid the incoming right. As your opponent is trying to stabilise themselves from the round kick follow up with the uppercut/cross. They will be most susceptible to it at this time.


THE HOW: Catching your opponent off guard is an important way to score valuable points. Using the cross/hook/front kick combo, as one of the less common groupings, allows a fighter to cause some major damage while disorienting their opponent. Lead with the right hand, straight from guard position before swinging the hook around, using the waist and hips to generate force. Finish with a standard pushing front kick to the midsection to drop your opponent.combo3

THE WHEN: Again, a perfect combination to use when your opponent is tired as the will be least receptive to countering this series of movements. Also, when jabs are being thrown your way, move to the outside of the jab and sneak your cross hand in as your opponent’s hand is extended. As this connects, swing around with the hook before executing the front kick.


THE HOW: An ideal way to progressively weaken your opponent’s legs, this combination targets the outside thigh on each leg for maximum damage. More of a wearing down combination, this move requires good core stability (waist, hip and lower back strength) and mastery of both back and front round kicks.Kicking with the front leg first will cause your opponent to instinctively block this kick (if it is fast enough they will not succeed), whereupon you bring through the rear leg for maximum impact. Be sure to either follow up with further hand/feet combinations, or move out of the way before selecting your next opening.combo4

THE WHEN: Not to be used too often as it can be physically demanding, this combination can be most effective when your opponent is moving forward on the offensive. Be sure to execute, then move; it can leave you open, particularly if used later in the fight. Also ensure the front roundhouse is delivered with maximal impact, not merely as a set up for the back kick. You do, after all, want to throw your opponent off guard from the outset.

The key really is to know when in the fight to apply various combinations. If your opponent is a strong kicker it might be wise to emphasize your kicking combinations to take away their legs. If your opponent is a strong puncher, multiple kicks, and punches to the shoulder/arm region will eventually cause their punches to lack the desired impact and, in some cases, take away their ability to keep their hands up, thus opening them up for combinations to the head. Although a good command of all basic punches and kicks are needed to win, having a good supply of moves to be used in combination should the opportunity arise, is an area where one can gain the advantage. With the following kick/punch combinations you will vastly improve your stand up game.

Being a well-rounded fighter requires a number of desirable attributes: speed, power, flexibility,strength, and conditioning being fundamental requirements. You can now add to this mix, kick/punch combinations that will knock your opponent into next week. Use the combos featured in this article wisely and you will have improved your fighting game immeasurable.

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