How To Fight A Southpaw

Published on February 21, 2011 by in Blog, Featured, Striking

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“What’s a southpaw? It means you’re left-handed. A southpaw throws your timin’ off, see? Other guys, it makes ‘em look awkward. Nobody wants to look awkward.

You know where southpaw came from? A long time ago, a couple of hundred years ago, this guy was fightin’. I think it was around Philadelphia. He was left-handed. His arm was facin’ towards New Jersey. And that’s south, so naturally, they called him Southpaw.

You see? Southpaw, South Jersey, South Camden, Southpaw… You know what I mean?”

– Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” -

Rocky had it right when he said that nobody wants to look awkward.

And we’re going to give you a few tips to help you with that situation.

Fighting a left handed fighter or “Southpaw” can be a difficult proposition. Almost everything you do is backwards.
More times than not, you’re taught to lead with your Jab, but with a Southpaw, your more often encouraged to use your straight right.

The video below will explain some of the basics behind why this is the case.

As an Orthodox Fighter (Right handed with a Left Handed Lead) the cornerstone of counter Southpaw tactics is to move towards your left and keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s lead foot. This same theory applies to a Southpaw fighting an Orthodox Fighter.

And although the emphasis of a lead straight right, shown in the video above has it’s origins in American Pugilism, the technique is so sound that it carries over to Muay Thai, Kickboxing and MMA. It works well in the realms of Mixed Martial Arts because of it’s simplicity, power and the fact that your lead hand can still be used to fend off takedown attempts should they occur during your attack.

That is not to say that there aren’t other weapons that are also effective, but if you watch the following video, you will see that many of the most devastating and prevalent strikes are the lead straight left (for Pacquiao) and lead straight right (for his Orthodox foes).

In addition to the hands, there are other weapons that we as Mixed Martial Artists can bring to bear vs the Southpaw, so long as you adhere to the fundamental of staying outside that lead foot of his, and thus further away from his power tools.

Another such technique has been recently popularized by Anderson Silva as a result of his KO victory over Vitor Belfort. In this case we had 2 Southpaws squaring off and thus the outside lead foot rule was not in effect. Nevertheless, the fight proved the effectiveness of the Front Snap Kick for MMA, although the kick has been around for centuries.

There are going to be times when your opponent is much more experienced at playing the outside lead foot and Southpaw game than you are. After all, a Southpaw gets to go up against Orthodox fighters all the time, while Orthodox fighters only see Southpaws every once in a while. Below is one way you can take that advantage away from your opponent.

Fighting for the clinch or a takedown aren’t the only way to handle and opponent who simply owns the outside lead game. We’ve addressed this as well as shown some ideas outside the conventional Counter Southpaw box in our members only area where we have a total of 15 + videos dedicated to the Southpaw series, in addition to the 230 videos which cover all aspects of the MMA game.

If you’ve enjoyed the articles and videos brought to you by www.DamageControlMMA.com please show your support by picking up a membership, telling a friend about our site, friending us on facebook, or joining the discussions on our free forum at www.DamageControlMMA.com/forum/

Doing so helps us to continue on our journey and bring you top quality instruction.

Until next time, keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponents foot, keep your hands up and your chin down.

12 Responses to “How To Fight A Southpaw”

  1. TCMAG says:

    Great article as alway!!! This is useful to me, because I fight both South Paw and Orthodox and some of the guys in the Gym do as well. Love it!

  2. Kiser says:

    This was one of the most in depth and detailed series we have shot to date. Great work putting it all together Yamasaki.

  3. Dickey says:

    I’ve never faced off against a southpaw, but I wrestle southpaw (my MMA or Thai stance is orthodox). When sparring, I switch sometimes when looking for a takedown or clinch, but not always. I’ve been told it throws people off because no one I spar with has ever seen a southpaw. I can use this to teach some of my buddies about the mystical world of southpaws.
    Thanks Dr Sick! Great article!

  4. kenseisato1989 says:

    i want to do the front snap kick to a southpaw now

  5. Amy says:

    I love it. Very informative! Keep the wonderful articles coming.

  6. Matt says:

    Guys, your site is really just great instruction! Really appreciate it.

  7. paulR says:

    WOW… you guys are awesome. Miss training with ya.

  8. Ken says:

    This was freaking awesome. I’ve come back to this article multiple times now. I love the fact you take your members suggestions and questions and try to answer them. keep up the good work.

  9. BrianTakeoYamasaki says:

    Hope that video comes out, don’t know if it will work with livefyre. If not the direct link is at http://www.youtube.com/v/AjLDuYXXH1Q

    Anyho, you can see our fighters Curtis Johnson, Kensei Sato, Sterling Nitsuma and Dan Berry fighting in there. Especially note Sterling Nitsuma and Dan Berry and how they both knocked out their opponents with Straight Rights. Did I happen to mention that those guys were Southpaws? Southpaw Fundamentals. WORD!

  10. BrianTakeoYamasaki says:

    http://www.youtube.com/v/AjLDuYXXH1Q?version=3&…” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.youtube.com/v/AjLDuYXXH1Q?version=3&…”>

    Hope that video comes out, don’t know if it will work with livefyre. If not the direct link is at

    Anyho, you can see our fighters @Curtis Johnson, @Kensei Sato, @Sterling Nitsuma and @Daniel Berry fighting in there. Especially note Sterling Nitsuma and Dan Berry and how they both knocked out their opponents with Straight Rights. Did I happen to mention that those guys were Southpaws? Southpaw Fundamentals. WORD!

  11. Southern X~posure says:

    A great article and videos! You can gain access to all of the videos in the Southpaw series by getting a membership at http://damagecontrolmma.com/!

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