This past Saturday we all saw Erick Silva get back to his winning ways with a dominant win against UFC newcomer Takenori Sato. The Brazilian finished the fight in front of his hometown with a first round knock out in the first minute of the fight. Silva was also presented with one of the new performance of the night awards.
Sato immediately came out ready to bring the fight to Silva. He was instead met by a nasty liver/body kick by Silva that sent him back peddling. Sato then went for a desperation takedown and couldn’t get Silva down. Silva then utilized a technique none of us have seen before. The kick is now being referred to as the reverse heel kick. Silva jumped in the air and was able to kick Sato with a hacky-sack style jump back kick. The kick was in no way a deciding factor in this fight, but was mildly effective.
Fans and spectators were so surprised and straight out impressed with this technique. Silva stated after the fight that he knew this technique would be effective and that they have been practicing it all training camp long. The more I look at it, it seems that the first blow might have been illegal. This is neither here nor there.
The funny thing is, no one is talking about it. It was actually brought up to my co-host and I on our weekly podcast MMAFreak Radio Monday’s at 6pm ET (cheap plug). Like I said before, it wasn’t a deciding factor, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. An impressed move/technique needs to be addressed, but if it’s some what illegal looking, doesn’t that need to be addressed as well?
A downed opponent commonly implies that the downed combatant is lying on the ground, but can technically refer to any position in which anything except the soles of the combatants feet are touching the ground. So, wouldn’t this refer to Sato’s knee being downed as Silva kicked him in the head? His hand wasn’t touching the ground and he was in the offensive position. Some say this is why the kick wasn’t called illegal.
I personally think it wasn’t called because it has never been seen before. It was more of a shock and awe technique that took us all by surprise. The same thing kind of happen with the “Showtime” kick that Anthony Pettis used on Benson Henderson at the last installment of the WEC. We all know the kick I’m referring to. Pettis used the cage to help benefit himself, which we all know isn’t allowed. Or at least it didn’t used to be before this kick. In no way are you allowed to use the cage to hold yourself up if someone is trying to take you down. But if it’s for offense it’s okay?
When Pettis bounced off the cage we all jumped off our feet. Then the spectacular kick actually landed flush on Bendo’s chin. Since then we see the cage being used for offense all the time, but it’s still illegal to use as a defensive weapon.
In the Sato fight and the Bendo fight, these new highlight style kicks are not deciding factors. Some say that Pettis’ kick was the deciding factor in the judges eyes, but that’s not the case. Look at the fight metric system and you’ll understand the unanimous decision that Pettis was awarded. That doesn’t mean that these moves should only be given grace.
We are always wanting to see the new move or killer new technique as fans and spectators of mma. I will admit when I first saw Silva use the reverse heel kick, I was very impressed. And now, I do think it was illegal. The problem with this is, the UFC needs to set certain guidelines before guys just re-write the whole playbook with new/exciting moves.
What happens when John Dodson runs up the cage and does a flying corkscrew moon-sault off the top of the cage? At first we will all jump out of our seat in excitement, but then we will have to see if he touched the top of the cage which would technically be out of bounds, etc. Just because it’s exciting doesn’t make it legal.
I personally don’t think this is a big as deal as it seems I’m trying to make it. I just think it should be addressed and not left unconscious like Sato.
What do you think? Was Silva’s reverse heel kick an illegal kick to a downed opponent?
Ben McPhee (@mmawriter1 Twitter)