On an initial viewing of that clip of Jorge Masvidal ending Ben Askren’s undefeated professional MMA run with a flying knee just seconds into the match last Saturday, there isn’t much that looks careful or considered. Masvidal holds his hands behind his back as he and Askren talk some shit across the cage, then he leaps in and pops Askren. Maybe it looked lucky, but it was an actual part of Masvidal’s game plan.
The day after the contest, Masvidal’s coach Mike Brown released a video showing the fighter drilling the flying knee from the side of the cage. You’ll note that this is specifically the start-and-stop run that Masvidal did in the fight itself.
Brown also tipped off another American Top Team fighter that they’d planned the knee.
In a post-fight presser chock full of incredible quotes, Masvidal said he knew Askren would duck for a takedown if he saw his opponent try something aerial. “He’s so predictable, man,” he said.
Masvidal explained that the goal was not only to knock Askren out, but to establish consequences for the wrestler if he tried to shoot for a takedown and didn’t secure it:
A part of me wanted to just throw it out there, so he knew like if you do shoot like an idiot—like you only know how to—your head’s gonna get clipped. I would put the brakes on him, and then beat him up for 14 minutes and 30 seconds, then execute him.
Or you know, he took the bait. I put my hands behind my back. He probably thought we were gonna fucking pattycake it up or something. I don’t know, but he walked right into it.
He fell for the bait so hard. I could just see how eager he was just to come forward. So I put my hands behind my back and let him think “come eat.”
(Speaking of eating, Masvidal has not stopped talking trash to Askren.)
Masvidal has also started his last two fights with a burst of flying offense, and if kicking Darren Till’s dick didn’t put that on his scouting report, this knee sure did.