Calf kicks seem to be the talk of the town these days in terms of smart, effective fighting. In recent times, the calf kick came to light when Dustin Poirier successfully used them to dismantle Conor McGregor. Although Mcgregor was the favorite going into the fight, his leg was swollen by the second round which led to his downfall.
Pedro Munhoz Praises Calf Kicks
Since then, calf kicks have been getting a lot of attention and are now being utilized more than ever. This growth was made even more evident after Pedro Munhoz praised his calf kicks after defeating Jimmie Rivera on Sunday night. The victory came in the form of a unanimous decision and also earned Munhoz the fight of the night bonus.
After his win, Munhoz was talking to the press and said “The calf kick is something that hurts a lot. Not only for the person that’s getting the kick but also it hurt me, too, because it’s shin to shin.” He also added, “It’s something that’s part of the arsenal of techniques that I’ve been displaying over the years.”
The victory sees Pedro Munhoz take his winning tally to 19-5 whilst Jimmie Rivera moves to 23-5. It also shows growth in the Brazilian’s techniques and proves that even at age 34, he’s still moving forward.
What is most impressive about the win, however, was the controlled manner in which it was achieved. Whilst calf kicks may not be the most glamorous way to win, they are undeniably very successful. This technique relies on kicking the outside of the opponent’s calf to slowly chip away at their balance.
The result is often that after a couple of rounds, their movement slows significantly and they struggle to attack or defend properly. This is where the likes of Munhoz can take advantage and pick off their opponents.
Although the calf kick isn’t exactly new in terms of MMA history, it’s certainly getting a lot of press lately. You could even compare it to the renaissance that wrestling underwent several years back that also changed the perspective of tactical MMA fighting.
The reason for the resurgence in calf kicks is due to a change in approach. For several years, these kicks were done by kicking the inside of the leg. This isn’t a particularly bad technique and was often used by Anderson Silva; however, the outside leg kick is superior.
One reason for this that the angle on the outside of the leg allows for the shin bone to connect with the nerves. This effectively shuts down the leg which leaves the opponent vulnerable.
As for Munhoz, the victory keeps him firmly on track to stay in the top 10 UFC rankings for the bantamweight division. He now faces potential fights against the likes of Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and Cody Garbrandt who are all ranked above him. Whilst these names are not easy, Munhoz could potentially use his new-found calf kicking technique to claim more victories.
Although it’s still a long road towards a title match, his win against Rivera certainly did him no harm in that regard. As for Jimmie Rivera, it’s back to the drawing board – but with his record, he still doesn’t have much to worry about. In credit to Rivera, he is also 3 years younger than Pedro Munhoz which means he has more time on his hands as well.
So, what is next in store for the calf kick technique? As you may have gathered, it has been successful in several recent fights. However, this doesn’t particularly make it a silver bullet either. As ever in MMA, fighting is an ever-evolving art that will see meta techniques come and go, with people adjusting and preparing better over time. Because of this, the calf kick is certainly a good move, but its dominance may not be around forever either.