On JRE MMA Show #96 featuring Just Gaethje & Trevor Wittman, the subject of bone density was discussed. Apparently, Just Gaethje believes his bone density has led to his outstanding leg kicking prowess.
Leg kicks not only sap one’s overall strength but significantly impair mobility. In an early fight, 24-year old Justin Gaethje made Brian Cobb tap from leg kicks. Gaethje throws his kicks with such determined power that his opponents visibly react to them.
Then comes Khabib Nurmagamedov, Gaethje’s upcoming challenge, and the only man who has seemed as close to immortal in the Octagon as humanely possible.
In 28 fights, Khabib has shown no susceptibility to leg kicks. In fact, many opponents have been unable to devote multiple rounds toward kicking enough to do significant damage because Khabib’s opponents don’t spend a lot of time on their feet. ‘The Eagle’s’ suffocating style of grappling against the cage completely nullifies a strong kicking game.
However, Justin Gaethje has shown prowess in throwing leg kicks in close range during past striking exchanges. UFC 254 will determine whether Gaethje can implement his kick-heavy attack against the undisputed Lightweight Champion. Recent history has shown Gaethje’s kicking game can be extremely effective when implemented throughout a 3 or 5 round fight.
Khabib Nurmagamedov however has shown lightning quick speed in catching kicks, however they are primarily body kicks. Gaethje implements a low calf kick from range and in close, which might prove difficult for Khabib to catch without significantly dropping his hands.
UFC 254 will determine whether Gaethje’s kicking game can be solidly implemented long enough to actually impair Khabib’s takedown-heavy offense.