Friday, May 20, 2022

Chandler: UFC 274 Front Kick Was Only Meant To Find Range

UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has revealed that his viral knockout of Tony Ferguson wasn’t actually thrown with fight-finishing intent.

This past weekend’s UFC 274 main card had elements of action on both ends of the spectrum. While Maurício Rua and Ovince Saint Preux drew boos for a slow-paced rematch and Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza put on perhaps the worst title fight in UFC history, sandwiched between them was a KO worthy of just about every accolade possible.

The lightweight collision between Chandler and Ferguson promised two things: unforgettable action and a damaging loss for one veteran. In the second round, the first element came courtesy of a Chandler front kick, leaving the other certainty on the side of “El Cucuy,” who left the arena with a fourth loss added to his skid.

For Chandler, a second victory inside the Octagon has brought him back into contention and lined him up for another big fight next time out. But judging by his latest comments, perhaps that’s more by luck than judgment…

Chandler: “It’s Not Something I Train”

During a recent post-fight appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Chandler discussed the memorable KO and how it came to fruition.

Despite landing what appeared to be the perfect front kick, the former Bellator champion revealed that he rarely trains or throws any kicks, let alone the one that delivered the knockout blow in Phoenix.

“It’s actually hilarious because it’s not something I train a lot. To be quite honest with you, I’m more of a punch-heavy striker,” admitted Chandler. “I don’t throw a lot of kicks. Truthfully, because I hurt my foot more often than not. I hurt myself more than I hurt my opponents, so I don’t throw a ton of kicks.”

Nevertheless, Chandler and his team had identified a gap in Ferguson’s defense that could be exploited by head kicks and uppercuts. But despite acknowledging that, Chandler actually said he only threw the kick to establish range.

That’s got to be the most effective range-finder we’ve ever seen…

“We saw his hands were on both sides of his head. He was kinda leaving a lane up the middle,” said Chandler. “So, I was gonna throw high-lows and uppercuts. But the kick up the middle looked like it was gonna land so — I honestly threw it out there for a range-finder, but turns out I threw it with some ill intent and it landed on the chin and he crumbled, and the rest is history.”

If there’s one thing Chandler’s four-fight run in the UFC has shown us so far, it’s that unpredictability is the name of the game for “Iron” Mike. Although on this occasion, he seemingly even surprised himself.

Michael Chandler & Tony Ferguson
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – MAY 07: (L-R) Michael Chandler knocks out Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Where would you rank Michael Chandler’s UFC 274 knockout among the best in history?

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