Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber 3: Understanding Dominick Cruz’s fighting style and footwork (Part 2 of 3)

Welcome to part 2 of 3 of the breakdown. If you missed part one, go back here.

The Advantages of Stance Switching

I explained earlier that Cruz switches stance to deny the opponent from using advantageous angles. Lets look at an example to clarify what that means.  In striking arts, moving to the opponent’s outside lead leg is known as their weak side because it’s an angle where the opponent has limited options to strike since the body will have trouble reaching over in that awkward angle. By switching stances often, Cruz denies the opponent a chance to utilize his weak angles. This next example should demonstrate this concept:

Cruz stance switch, arrow breakdown.gif

  1. Faber looks to throw his attack while moving towards the outside of Cruz’s lead leg (the weak side) indicated in the red arrow.
  2. Cruz then pulls his lead leg back and hop steps into the opposite stance( indicated in the green arrow near his feet).
  3. Now notice that Cruz has effectively changed his weak side into his power side and his cross is now aligned perfectly to attack Faber (indicated in the green arrow near Cruz’s arm).

 

3 other offensive feinting tools

Cruz has a variety of other ways to feint an opponent outside of using the slide step. It’s important to have different ways to feint in order to punish the opponent’s reaction. The slide step uses a very committed movement. If you only use a single type of feint, the opponent can adapt to its timing. To resolve this issue, Cruz will use a variety of other feints for opponents who adapt to his slide step. For example, he’ll switch up to another less committed feint like this next one — the front step feint.

cruz front step measure, entry comp.gif
Front step feint. Measure a reaction and punish.

In this less committed feint, he can still use it to measure the opponent. In the above sequence, Cruz feints to read that Faber isn’t looking to counter and is rather inactive. Then Cruz enters offensively on his next approach.

Likewise, just as Cruz used the slide step to bait Faber forward, he was also able to bait Faber forward and throw off his timing using the front step feint as well.

cruz bait, and jab comp.gif
Front steps to pull his posture forward, draws Faber into range, Cruz pulls back and punishes Faber’s forward movement.

The feint that’s less committed like this is best suited when you want to counter with a long strike like the jab.

The Low Crouch

Check out this next sequence where he uses a Crouch feint to kill Faber’s rhythm. He does this on purpose to manipulate their timing. Once he gets the opponent into that rhythm, he switches his speed and breaks the rhythm. See this sequence.

cruz crouch feint arrows with real time.gif
Crouches low to build a rhythm. He then crouches slightly low but quickly abandons it to attack, thereby breaking rhythm.

He mixes his crouch variations with other attack also. See this next example.

cruz low to lateral jab comp.gif

Cruz lowers his head posture,  pops out laterally while throwing the jab. It allows him to use dynamic head movement with offensive entries, making it difficult for opponent’s to hit a moving head.

Roundhouse Feint

Here’s a creative sequence where Cruz sets up a roundhouse feint. This isn’t a defining aspect of his style, but I found it intriguing enough to share. In these examples, he throws a feint roundhouse but then transitions into a spinning cross.

cruz round feint.gif
Feints a kick.
cruz round feint into spinning cross slow.gif
feints kick, but transitions into a spinning cross (unfortunately misses, but kudos for creativity).

 On part 3 we wrap up with some more offensive features. Go here.

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