ByBas Rutten, writer at
Official Creators profile of Bas Rutten. Retired MMArtist, entertainer, host for the podcast
Bas Rutten

People underestimate body shots.

What they don’t understand is that the body is sometimes weaker than the head, especially when your opponent gets tired. I get why people don’t use body shots; it's a psychological thing; it's nerves. I never threw a body shot in my first fight. Nobody throws a body shot in their first fight. If you see someone throw a body shot in his first fight, that guy is going far, because he can really control his nerves.

I found out how effective body shots are in my first Thai boxing class. I knew karate, so I thought I was a badass. Then I stepped into a Thai boxing class and thought I could go against the professional fighters who were there. I came from karate, so my hands were low, you'd think that would protect the body, but nope. As soon as he hit my head, I panicked and threw my hands up, so he dropped me with a liver shot. That's where my love of the liver shot comes from.

That, and watching Ramon Dekkers, who was the best Thai boxer to ever come from Holland. He was a good friend of mine, and he was the first foreigner to ever be awarded the fighter of the year award in Thailand. He was a very special athlete, but a lot of people don't know him. If that's you, Google him, Youtube him. Then, you'll see how amazing he is. I trained at his gym and I really loved his style - throw everything with power and go for the body. There’s no better philosophy for fighting than that.

Here's the thing; fighting is easy. Hit someone really hard in the head until he covers up, then hit him in the body. When he defends the body, go back to the head. The first thing my father taught me is if you get in a street fight, lift your knee up so they think you're going to kick them, then punch them in the head. That works!

Everybody should be throwing more body shots, and everybody should be throwing more kicks to control distance as well. Look at great fighters like Jon Jones, look at Joanna Jedrzejczyk. What are they doing different? They're throwing a lot of different kicks out.

Jon Jones throws out little kicks that won't do a lot, but fighters see it as an attack and they react to it. Once you react, now he's set you up, now he knows what you're going to do when he throws that kick. Then, Jones waits for a bit, he throws some little punches so you forget about the kick and don't think it's a setup. BOOM! He throws the little kick and follows it up with a straight right, or whatever strike he wants to follow it up with.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

There's a guy in World Series of Fighting who fights out of Greg Jackson's, his name is Timur Valiev. The first time I saw him fighting, I knew this kid was going to be a world champion. He's unbelievable. There's no pattern to what he throws. One kick is a distracting kick for a punch, the next one is hard.

There are some guys who can just fight on instinct and it blows me away. I remember seeing a guy land a spinning back kick to the head, and I complimented him on it after the fight. He looked at me and went, "Did I throw a spinning back kick?" That blows me away, because I would know every move I made, but this guy was an instinct fighter, and those guys can go far as well.

If you only take one thing away from this blog, make sure it’s to stop headhunting, and start using those plentiful gaps in the armor that fighters are so prone to leave unattended to land some leather to the body.

Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

One more time, it’s really as simple as this, you hit somebody hard in the head with some great shots, his defense HAS to go up, and voila, there is your new target.

Last thing, when you drop somebody with a liver shot, but he manages to pull through it—he’s hurt, but can still fight, what do you do?

Do NOT listen to what your mind tells you, because your mind (and sometimes even coaches) can play tricks on you. Think SMART, and the smartest thing is to start hitting his head.

Why? Because you just dropped him with a liver shot. Trust me, his defense will be there, protecting the liver. So, go back to the head with a combination of hard strikes, and the body opens up again. WOOP there it is!

You THINK you “only” have 30 seconds or less before he recoups from the first liver shot, and that’s why normally, they start attacking the body, but trust me, 30 seconds is a very LONG time!

When you start dropping people with well-placed body shots, just remember where you heard it from. You can thank me later.


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