Fake The Shot and Land The Elbow with Artem Levin
The difference in strategy between traditional kickboxing and MMA share many similarities, but are very different at the same time. Obviously this is because of the allowance of takedowns and submission grappling in MMA. While the striking itself is similar in both, feints and fakes start to become different when you can threaten the takedown.
In kickboxing the only level change you really have to worry about is when your opponent is going for body shots. It's definitely a significant threat and something you need to be aware of, but you never have to worry about getting low enough to sprawl to avoid the takedown. It’s level changes like these in MMA fighting that can provide both great opportunities as well as threats.
Really, there is just more to be aware of. It’s one more thing you need to think and worry about in a fight. When you understand this, you can start using it to your advantage. Obviously it is in your best interest to have training in grappling before you start going for or threatening takedowns, but if you do, adding takedown shots or fake shots can really change the dynamic of a fight.
In this video, Artem Levin shows a variation of a fake takedown shot into a nasty elbow right up the middle, check it out below!
The technique itself is fairly simple, it’s the selling of the takedown shot that is the most important. When you go for a takedown, the natural reaction of your partner is going to be to sprawl, which includes getting his legs back behind him which makes them harder for you to grab, as well as becoming top heavy to try and stuff your shot. Generally, when sprawling it's hard to protect your head because you will likely be using your arms to help try and stuff the shot.
For this variation you are going to change levels, take a step forward with your lead leg, and reach out with your left arm towards your partner's leg like you are going to try and grab it for a single leg. As your partner sprawls, his legs are going to end up behind his shoulders, effectively leaving the top half of his body and his head sticking out in the open.
From here, instead of dropping down to your knee and shooting for the takedown, and are going to stand up and regain your posture while taking a step forward with your rear leg and throwing your right elbow right up the middle.
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Taking a big step up the middle with your rear leg allows you to cover more distance, and using your right elbow which was previously your rear arm provides more momentum behind the shot. In thinking about the movement, your right leg and right arm should essentially be moving forward synchronously.
If you prompt your partner to sprawl, his head will be at the perfect level for the elbow. That is why selling the takedown is so important. You may still be able to catch your partner off guard and land the elbow effectively if he doesn't sprawl, but getting him in that position definitely plays to your advantage.
There are a few different strategies you can use for this. Perhaps you go for a few takedowns early in the fight, so when you go to change levels your partner is definitely expecting the takedown. Also, really focus on the level change and the quickness of it. If you just sort of slowly bend the knees a bit, you aren't really selling it. Perhaps you bob up and down a bit and then quickly explode down while taking a step forward like you are going for a shot, and really make it believable.
When you get your partner to sprawl on a fake takedown shot, they are in an extremely compromising position. There are tons of options for attacks from here, but the elbow is a great option for a seriously damaging shot. You may also be able to land a knee or a hard right cross. This is something you can drill and play around with in the gym to find the best attack that suits your style and then bring it into a fight.
About Artem Levin
Artem Levin is a Russian middleweight Muay Thai kickboxer. He is the former Glory Middleweight Champion, and is the 5th ranked middleweight in the world. He has consistently stayed in the top 10 middleweight ranks for the past nearly 7 years.
Artem has made quite a name for himself since he began fighting in Glory in 2013, with a current professional kickboxing record of 55-7. He consistently fights big names, and his list of titles is seemingly endless.
About Artem’s Instructional
Artem has dedicated the entirety of this instructional to mastering the use of the elbow in MMA. Included you will find techniques such as shadow boxing to make elbows a second nature, parrying to opposite elbows, spinning elbow jab split, superman elbows, and so much more.
Artem has proved year after year with his impressive record that he is one of the best in the middleweight division. His extensive training in Muay Thai is more than apparent, and his technique is master class. Improve your vision and effectiveness of elbows, check out his instructional here!