We’re now in a new MMA era of the devastating elbow strike made popular by legends like Paul Daley, Kenny Florian and current king of the bludgeon, Jon “Bones” Jones. This was especially apparent at UFC Fight Night 40, where lightweight Daron Cruickshank finished Erik Koch in the first round with a furious feeding of elbows that followed a huge kick to the head.
This is the latest victory in a growing trend of fighters opting for a modified strike to inflict close-range devastation. Jones has proven time and again that this strategy works, as he was able to eek out a win over Alexander Gustafsson and stop Rashad Evans largely due to to this particular weapon. The elbow is a point of bone covered by a few layers of skin and that’s all. Most fighters will agree that a gloved fist to the face is preferable to being jabbed in the jaw with an un-padded bone circling in at a high velocity.
UFC lightweight Nate Diaz along with his retired brother Nick Diaz have voice their opinions about elbow strikes. They have made it clear that they view the tactic as dishonorable at the very least and arguably downright wrong, especially when a fighter is down on his back. The younger Diaz (Nate) explained in an interview with FIGHT! Life:
“There’s really no class in someone elbowing you in the face … why should I have class about taking elbows to the face — why should I watch my mouth. You’re trying to knock me out and bloody my face … I don’t care about putting my middle finger up to that …”
Another recent fight with elbows as the finishing weapon went down in the EFC Africa. A match between Keron Davies and Booto Guylain ended with tragic results. Guylain died due to complications stemming from the injuries inflicted by Davies’ elbows.
The debate will volley on, meanwhile Cruickshank is adding a digit to his win column in his quest to rack up a total of four wins in the Octagon in 2014. Chances are good that more elbows can be expected then — that’s what seems to be working these days.