The spinning elbow is a Muay Thai technique that can change the outcome of a fight. If you are able to set up the spinning elbow correctly, it can be extremely difficult to avoid. This is the favorite technique among many fight fans because of its precision and skill required to land it.

In the past few weeks there have been a number of good Thai fighters being KOed from spinning elbows. While it takes a bit of luck to land the perfect spinning elbow, you will never land them if you don’t practice them.

This fight between Chanajon PK SaenchaiMuayThaiGym vs Naimjon Tuhtaboev showcased one of the best spinning elbow KO’s I’ve ever seen. This was not an accidental elbow KO. The elbow was intended and it was set up with perfection.

Beautiful spinning back elbow KO.

Check out the full fight Here

Why Was This Spinning Elbow KO So Good?

What sets this spinning elbow apart from the rest is the way that Naimjon transitioned from his punches right into the elbow without a pause. Watch as Naimjon throws a combo of punches and effortlessly spins around to land the elbow. Notice how there is no hesitation as he comes around for the spinning elbow.

To show you the difference in execution let’s have a look at another spinning elbow KO that occurred recently. The fight between Chris “AK-47” Bradford vs Waytharan Sitsongpeenong showcases another amazing spinning elbow KO.

Even though Chris Brandford landed the perfect spinning elbow on his opponent, he happened to miss his hook and then came around with the elbow. Each clip showcases a different setup for each elbow.

This spinning back elbow worked perfectly against this Thai Fighter.

Video Credit: Kentk Ak

Even though both spinning elbows are highlight reel material, the first one is technically a better elbow. There were less elements of luck and the precision and timing were perfect.

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Landing the Perfect Elbow

One thing you will notice in both of the clips above is that each fighter throwing the elbow is stepping forward to close the distance on their opponent. By stepping forward you will put yourself in the elbow range that will allow you to land your elbow.

Once you are in range of your opponent it is about timing and setting the elbow up. If your opponent knows you are coming around with an elbow he can easily block or avoid it, so setting it up with punches is ideal.

While everyone wants to achieve the perfect spinning elbow KO in a fight, the truth is this usually doesn’t happen. Most of the time you land a spinning elbow technique your opponent will not go down.

Here is an example of a very fast spinning back elbow that doesn’t result in the KO, but is still highly effective.

Here is another nice spinning elbow that Nico throws over the guard of his opponent.

Defending the Spinning Back Elbow

The best way to not get caught with a spinning elbow is to keep your guard up! Notice how both fighters in the first 2 GIFs didn’t have their hands up to protect their chins. Having an active guard that is in front of your face at all times will do a lot in preventing KOs from occuring.

Always keeping your chin tucked in with your guard up is a habit that you have to develop. While spinning elbows can still pierce through tight guards, the chance of the elbow landing is reduced drastically with your hands up.

Leaning back is another way that you can avoid a spinning elbow from landing. This is probably the best way to put yourself in a position to counter directly with an elbow of your own. Buakaw demonstrates this in the next clip when he leans back on a spinning back fist and counters with an elbow.

Even though Buakaw is avoiding a spinning back fist, the lean back also works for the spinning elbow.

Another way you can prepare yourself for spinning elbows is in sparring. Light, technical sparring with elbow pads, (no power) can help you get used to seeing elbows coming from various angles. You should only train with elbows if you are experienced because most beginners don’t know how to control power and only use technique.

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Sparring with elbows will get you used to seeing them coming and allow you to develop reflexes to defend them.

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

While it’s easy to say how you can avoid getting caught with a certain technique, the reality is people make mistakes and get caught. One mistake and a little bit of bad luck can result in you lying unconscious in the ring. Training and developing your technique will reduce the likelihood of this happening, but it is still a possibility even for the best Nak Muay’s.

It is important to develop a level of respect for the different weapons of Muay Thai, but never fear them. Fear will not make you a better fighter, it will only make you hesitant in the ring. Remember to focus on what you are going to be doing in the fight, not what your opponent might do to you.

Want to Learn more about Spinning Elbows? Read this article: Ultimate guide to the Spinning Back Elbows

If you enjoyed reading this breakdown you should check out my two new books called Muay Thai Strategy and Muay Thai Counters. These books were written to help you build a complete Muay Thai game and teach you how to Counter your next opponent.