Throw Off Your Opponent With Melvin Manhoef's Creative Counters
Counter The Jab with Melvin Manhoef
Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef is a former kickboxer and a current MMA fighter for Bellator’s Middleweight division. Melvin holds the MMA record of the highest percentage knockout for any fighter with over 15 wins. With 32 wins and 29 knockouts, the man deemed “No Mercy” has a knockout percentage of 91%. Having achieved Champion status in both fighting sports Melvin is a person who understands what is needed to be a powerful, effective striker.
In this clip from Melvin Manhoef’s aptly titled instructional, “Creating KO’s”, the former Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Champion shows fighters how to slip an oncoming jab and follow it up with a devastating three punch counter.
Rather than just slipping the jab initially and following it up with the counter, the fighter assisting Manhoef starts by throwing a right cross. In this specific instance, the fighter is ensuring that his opponent will use their jab. Melvin explains this by telling the viewer that instead of knocking out the opponent, it may force them to move away from the power right hand.
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Once the distance is created by the cross, it will force the opponent to use their longest punch, the jab. If a fighter tries to throw other techniques such as a hook, uppercut, or a kick, they will not have closed enough distance. This will make it easier to dodge the oncoming technique with less movement and result in a complete miss by the striking fighter with a faster counter from the defending fighter.
After the initial cross and Manhoef’s explanation that the jab will be better for hitting the opponent from a distance. The two fighters go through the rest of the drill. As Melvin jabs, the fighter slips his head outside the jab while pivoting his front foot and lifting his heel slightly. As Melvin pulls his jab back, his assistant returns to a fighting position and unloads with a three punch combination. As he shifts his weight back to even footing, the striker throws the back hand starting the combination with a right cross, following with a front left hook and finishing with another powerful cross punch before returning to his fighting stance at a safe distance.
Even if the initial right cross is not strong enough to move the opposing fighter back, they still cannot move into it. If they do not try to move out of the way, then the only other option is to stand in the current spot; this makes it the job of the person who throws the first technique to move back out to a safe distance, forcing the opponent to use their jab, rather than continuing to stand toe to toe. This is seen during the pairs next few demonstrations of the drill, as Melvin stays in his spot while his partner throws the cross and returns back to his stance at a distance where his opponent cannot throw looping punches such as a hook, but must throw straight punches like the jab.
Manhoef also emphasizes that the fighter who slips their head, must have a forward motion while they are slipping the jab. This helps to close the distance again while they defend the oncoming punch safely. Melvin and his partner show what happens if the fighter slipping moves their head back. Although they stay out of range of the initial strike, they are directly in the line of fire for a second punch which would generally follow the jab, the power cross. In contrast, when Melvin has his partner slip while moving his weight forward, he shows the viewer that his jab, cross combination completely misses his partner. This is the reason Melvin says to always slip forward, and never backwards.
Once Melvin establishes the key points of the drill, the two fighters go through the combination with more intensity and speed. After a few demonstrations, the two change angles and show the combination once more. Initially bouncing in his fighting stance, Melvin’s partner explodes forward for the first strike, the cross. All in one motion he returns to his stance, quickly slips Manhoef’s oncoming jab, and returns three powerful strikes.
It is important to understand the drills first, breaking it down to individual movements and techniques. Once both the fighter and the coach or pad holder understand the movements, it is key to bring more speed, movement, and intensity to the drill in order to simulate an actual fight situation.
This is how Manhoef and his partner perform the drill, and it is how the viewers should implement it into their training. If you go too fast too soon, you may miss key technical elements, whereas if you do not go at full capacity at all, you will not be able to implement it in an actively changing fight situation.
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