UFC flyweight Paige VanZant is ready to win. After all, the recognition that comes from victory is what gives the fighter her drive to compete.
“Nothing else makes sense for me,” she says. “I don’t want to do anything else with my life—I have other goals and aspirations along this journey but I want to get them because of fighting.”
VanZant is primed to get back to winning after her last two fights ended in the loss column, starting with her matchup against Rachael Ostovich at UFC Fight Night: 143 in Brooklyn on January 19.
She and her husband, Bellator MMA fighter Austin Vanderford, met up with Men’s Health once she got to the Big Apple for the fight to share the top 5 moves she uses in the Octagon. Tune in to the match to see if she throws down any of these maneuvers against Ostovich—but first, check out the video above to take some pointers for yourself.
Paige VanZant’s Top 5 Moves
Getty ImagesJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
- 1. Being Tough
This innate quality isn’t really a skill you can pick up from following a list of tips, according to VanZant. “It’s something you cannot learn, something you’re born with,” she says. “I was definitely born with some toughness.” With some gritty fights on her 7-4 record going into her latest matchup, we’re inclined to agree.
This move—which VanZant used to great effect in a second round-stoppage of Bec Rawlings, earning her UFC’s Knockout of the Week—is all about setup. Start with low round kicks to your opponent’s front leg. Repeat a few times until they begin to anticipate your strikes, then hop off your front foot to strike your opponent in the head.
VanZant took inspiration from another fighter, Yair Rodriguez, and put a different spin on this fight-stopping move. To pull it off, feint a takedown at your opponents legs. Once they bend down to defend and enter your guard, twist around and strike their exposed chin with your elbow.
This move looks like it’s all flash, but if you pull it off correctly, it can be near impossible to defend. “They come out of nowhere,” she says. “It’s really hard to stop somebody coming forward like that because you don’t know what’s coming next or what kick they’re going to throw.” Take one step out in the direction you’re kicking with your front foot, then step forward and plant your back foot (with your heel facing out), swinging your front to gain momentum. Spring off that planted foot and kick through the air, then land softly to finish the maneuver.
VanZant likes this MMA ground submission because it’s brutal. “It’s very dangerous, and people tend to tap very quickly,” she says. “It puts their knees at a very high-level risk for injury.” Unless you’re competing yourself, there’s no need to learn this move—so if you really want to learn it, go find a jiu jitsu coach to show you the ropes.
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