Probably the most underrated strike in MMA is the leg kicks, due to the late effects. Leg kicks are sometimes called chopping trees down since they possess similar concept. Once you have no legs, there is no mobility for the fighter and their power is decreased as well. It can be described as a jab for the legs.
In the fight of Dustin Poirier against Conor McGregor, Poirier just chopped McGregor’s leg from the opening bell. Poirier said that McGregor’s wide stance made it easier to hit and both are southpaw as well. It paid dividends as it led to a devastating knockout. Mcgregor could walk properly after the fight.
A lot of champions have used the leg kicks to win big fights. Jose Aldo reigned in the featherweight because of his vicious leg kicks. It neutralizes a lot of his opponent’s weapons, one opponent that had the worst beating in the leg was Urijah Faber. After the fight Faber could barely walk for weeks.
If we compare in the more recent title fights, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski (both are teammates) used their leg kicks to win their fight against the best in the division. Adesanya used it against Costa, which made it difficult to close the distance and until Costa became more aggressive was the time Adesanya landed counter punch that sealed the deal. It can also be used to setup traps to fake low and hit high.
A fighter that is known for his mobility, Dominick Cruz also had his legs chopped when he fought Henry Cejudo. Being a shorter guy, Cejudo initiated volume leg kicks to disrupt the rhythm of Cruz, it was proven to be effective as he set a bait to lead a knee strike to seal the deal.
Leg Kicks are fast and effective, that could prove to be lethal in the later rounds due to its delayed effect. Khabib also said that Gaethje’s leg kicks were a little bit of threat during their fight, given he was already injured prior to the fight. Fortunately for Khabib, he finished the fight before having his legs destroyed.