A debate around the legality of the oblique kick has come to life in the fallout of Khalil Rountree’s vicious TKO win at UFC Fight Night 191.

One person who doesn’t have a problem with the technique? Modestas Bukauskas, the man finished by Rountree on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

After landing some head head shots in the first round and taking control in the second of the light heavyweight bout, Rountree (9-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) fired off a right oblique kick to Bukauskas’ (11-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) left knee. The stomping motion had immediate effect, with Bukauskas crumbling to the ground in agony and forcing the bout to be waved off.

It’s over! Khalil Rountree is VICIOUS with the side kick #UFCVegas36 pic.twitter.com/rw4MBgZZxv

— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) September 4, 2021

The oblique kick is a sometime frowned-upon technique since it can cause career-altering damage. Quinton Jackson said he was never the same after taking one from Jon Jones in their UFC 135 title fight in September 2011, and more recently Darren Till had to undergo a knee surgery courtesy of a kick taken from Robert Whittaker.

According to the current unified rules, though, there’s nothing outlawing the use of oblique kicks, and Bukauskas isn’t one to complain. He provided a Sunday morning health update where he said it was fair play by Rountree. Bukauskas said he shoulders the blame for the result for not using better defense (via Twitter):


— Modestas Bukauskas (@balticgladiator) September 5, 2021

“Getting MRI when I get home … probably ligament damage … And yo please give my opponent some slack, that kick was all good, it was my job to defend and I didn’t. Let the man enjoy his victory.”

The upside is Bukauskas does not appear to have any long-term damage to his knee, but said more tests are required to confirmed the extent of any injuries.

Although there only are a handful of instances of the oblique kick causing long-term, lasting effects, it’s clear the move ruffles a lot of feathers within the MMA community. There was a vocal section of fighters who reacted to the result on social media, and bans of the technique were even suggested by the likes of Belal Muhammad, Jamahal Hill and Vinc Pichel.

Ahhh that technique should be banned that’s career changing

— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) September 4, 2021

That’s exactly why that shit shouldn’t be allowed!!! Hoe shit!!!#UFCVegas36

— Jamahal Hill (@JamahalH) September 4, 2021

I don’t care if I’m unpopular for this but that bullshit kick should be banned.

— Vinc Pichel (@FromHellPichel) September 4, 2021


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