What Is an Oblique Kick in MMA/UFC? (Should They Be Illegal?)

In the ever-evolving world of MMA/UFC, one technique has sparked heated debates and divided opinions: the oblique kick. This controversial move, a diagonal sidekick aimed at the knee or thigh, has raised questions about its legality and potential for causing severe injury.

While some argue that oblique kicks are a strategic tool for maintaining distance and controlling fights, others argue for their banning due to the risk of long-term damage.

This article delves into the intricacies of oblique kicks, examining their effectiveness, impact on fighters, and the ongoing debate surrounding their legality.

Key Takeaways

  • An oblique kick in MMA/UFC is a sidekick or push kick aimed at an opponent's knee or thigh, causing pain, swelling, and tissue damage.
  • Oblique kicks are effective at keeping opponents at a distance and can be used both defensively and offensively.
  • Oblique kicks cannot be checked, making them difficult to defend against, but there are techniques such as sidestepping and switching stances to avoid them.
  • Oblique kicks have caused significant injuries, including knee surgery and torn ligaments, but they have also been used strategically to gain points and control the fight.

Definition of Oblique Kick

The definition of an oblique kick in MMA/UFC is a sidekick or push kick aimed at an opponent's knee or thigh. This technique, thrown diagonally with the toes facing outward, has gained both popularity and controversy in the world of mixed martial arts.

The oblique kick has its pros and cons, with its effectiveness and potential for injury being at the center of the debate. On one hand, oblique kicks allow fighters to keep their opponents at a distance, control the range of the fight, and cause significant damage with minimal energy output.

On the other hand, they can't be checked and can lead to hyperextension, pain, swelling, and tissue damage. Due to these controversial aspects, there have been discussions about potentially implementing rules regarding the usage of oblique kicks in MMA/UFC matches.

Effectiveness and Defense Strategies

Oblique kicks in MMA/UFC have proven to be highly effective in controlling the range and tempo of a fight, while also causing significant damage with minimal energy output. These kicks are a valuable tool for fighters looking to keep their opponents at a distance and dictate the pace of the match. However, their effectiveness comes with inherent risks that need to be evaluated. Are the benefits of using oblique kicks worth the potential for serious knee injuries?

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Techniques to Defend Against Oblique Kicks in MMA/UFC:

  • Sidestepping: Moving laterally can help evade oblique kicks and create angles that make it difficult for the opponent to land the strike effectively.
  • Switching Stances: By switching between orthodox and southpaw stances, fighters can change the target area for oblique kicks, making them less effective.
  • Adapting Bladed and Square Stances: Altering foot positioning and stance can minimize the vulnerability to oblique kicks and make it harder for the opponent to land the strike.
  • Lifting the Targeted Leg: Raising the targeted leg before the kick connects can help avoid hyperextension and reduce the impact of the strike.
  • Clinching and Countering: Engaging in close-quarters clinching and counter-striking can neutralize the effectiveness of oblique kicks and limit their impact.

While oblique kicks can be devastating, there are several techniques that fighters can employ to defend against them. By implementing these defensive strategies, fighters can minimize the risk of sustaining significant knee injuries and neutralize the effectiveness of oblique kicks in MMA/UFC.

Examples of Oblique Kicks in the UFC

Several UFC fighters have utilized oblique kicks to great effect in their matches. These kicks have become a controversial topic in the MMA community due to their potential to cause severe knee injuries. Let's take a look at some examples of oblique kicks in the UFC:

Fighter 1 Fighter 2 Event
Jon Jones Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson UFC 135
Khalil Rountree Modestas Bukauskas UFC FN:191
Yoel Romero Robert Whittaker UFC 213

These fighters showcased different oblique kick techniques, each with varying outcomes. While Jon Jones and Khalil Rountree successfully used oblique kicks to gain an advantage, causing damage to their opponents, Yoel Romero's oblique kicks did not result in any injuries for Robert Whittaker. These examples highlight the effectiveness and potential risks associated with oblique kicks in the UFC. The controversies surrounding these techniques continue to spark debates within the MMA community.

Impact and Recovery From Oblique Kicks

After sustaining a devastating oblique kick during his fight with Khalil Rountree, Modestas Bukauskas required knee surgery and a five-month recovery period. The impact of oblique kicks can be severe, causing significant damage to the knee joint and surrounding tissues.

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The recovery time for such injuries can vary, with some fighters needing months of rehabilitation before they can return to training. However, the long-term effects of oblique kicks are a cause for concern. Chronic knee injuries can persist even after surgeries and prolonged recovery periods, affecting a fighter's performance and overall career.

This raises the question of whether oblique kicks should be illegal in MMA/UFC, considering the potential for long-lasting damage they can inflict on fighters.

Debate: Should Oblique Kicks Be Illegal?

The ongoing debate surrounding the legality of oblique kicks in MMA/UFC centers around the potential long-term damage they can cause to fighters' knees. Supporters of oblique kicks argue that they're effective and strategic strikes that add depth to the sport. They believe that banning oblique kicks would limit the fighters' arsenal and take away a valuable tool for both offensive and defensive tactics.

Additionally, they argue that with proper training and techniques, fighters can defend and avoid oblique kicks. On the other hand, opponents of oblique kicks argue that they pose a significant risk of severe knee injuries that can have long-lasting effects. They point out that only one fighter has been stopped directly by an oblique kick in the UFC, but knee injuries can become chronic and hinder a fighter's career.

Considering the pros and cons, there's a possibility of potential rule changes in the future to address the concerns surrounding oblique kicks and ensure the safety of the fighters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Oblique Kicks Only Legal in the UFC or Are They Allowed in Other MMA Promotions as Well?

Oblique kicks are legal in multiple MMA promotions, not just the UFC. Their effectiveness and controversy make them a subject of debate. Fighters and fans have differing opinions on whether they should be allowed due to the potential for severe knee injuries.

What Other Techniques Are Commonly Used to Target an Opponent's Knee in Mma/Ufc?

In addition to oblique kicks, other techniques commonly used to target an opponent's knee in MMA/UFC include leg kicks, knee strikes, and takedowns. These targeting strategies can be effective in weakening an opponent's base and limiting their mobility.

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Can Oblique Kicks Cause Long-Term Damage to the Knee, Even if There Are No Immediate Injuries?

Oblique kicks in MMA can potentially cause long-term damage to the knee, even without immediate injuries. However, their effectiveness as a defensive technique depends on proper training and techniques to avoid and defend against them.

Are There Any Specific Rules or Restrictions Regarding the Execution of Oblique Kicks in Mma/Ufc?

There are rules and restrictions regarding the execution of oblique kicks in MMA/UFC. However, the legality of oblique kicks in different combat sports is a topic of controversy and debate among fighters, promoters, and fans.

Have There Been Any Instances Where Fighters Have Been Penalized or Disqualified for Using Oblique Kicks in a Match?

There have been no instances of fighters being penalized or disqualified specifically for using oblique kicks in a match. However, the question of whether oblique kicks should be illegal in MMA/UFC is a matter of ongoing debate.


In conclusion, the debate surrounding the legality of oblique kicks in MMA/UFC continues to be highly contested. While some argue that these kicks are effective for maintaining distance and control in a fight, others raise concerns about the potential for severe knee injuries and long-term damage.

As the sport evolves, it's crucial for regulators and organizations to carefully consider the risks and benefits of oblique kicks to ensure the safety of fighters and maintain the integrity of the sport.

Mike Williams
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