What Does it Mean to Check a Kick in MMA | Simply Explained

In this page we will explain what it means to check a kick in MMA, the different ways to check a leg kick, and show UFC fighters successfully checking leg kicks.

Table of Contents

What is Checking a Kick?

Leg kicks can be massively debilitating strikes. One way to deal with them is avoiding them, but when you're unable to avoid them a second alternative is to check the kick. A fighter can check a kick by bending their knee and turning their leg outwards to 'check' the kick with their knee or shin.

mma kick

When someone throws a leg kick, regardless of whether they throw a normal leg kick or a calf kick, they're aiming for the muscle of the leg.

Checking a kick creates shin-to-shin, foot-to-the-shin, or knee-to-shin/knee-to-foot contact which is extremely painful.

You may think "Wouldn't that be painful for the person checking it too?", and you'd be correct.

However, there are many ways to condition your shin to be able to check kicks consistently. Additionally, if you're the one doing the checking, mentally you're prepared for it whereas the person throwing the leg kick is expecting to hit a muscle.

Different Ways to Check a Kick in MMA

Pedro Munhoz is one of the best calf kickers in the game, being able to consistently land devastating kicks on his opponents. However, against Jose Aldo, he was extremely unsuccessful with his calf kicks.

Aldo was able to use the following two methods to seamlessly check Munhoz's kicks:


Turning Your Shin/Knee at an Angle Outwards

Aldo would turn his shin and knee at an outwards angle to create bone-to-muscle contact when Munhoz would throw the kick.

After a couple of checks, most fighters would stop throwing low leg kicks as it becomes too painful and could affect their movement for the rest of the fight.

Munhoz however is unlike most fighters and continued to throw his kicks from the beginning of the fight to the end.

Keeping Knee in Position And Lifting Lower Leg Up

When Aldo wanted to provide a different look on how he'd deal with the calf kicks, he would keep his knee in position and lift the lower part of his leg directly up.

He's able to do this due to the perfect balance in his stance.

Whereas most fighters will lean more heavily on their front or back leg, Aldo is perfectly balanced.

This allows him to lift his leg and put it back down without ever losing balance, thus not needing a single step to recover, and continue marching forward and implementing his game plan.

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