The oblique kick is a technique that appears to have been started a long time ago near the beginnings of the UFC. Some of us remember Royce Gracie sort of using a kind of oblique/front kick to attack the near leg of the opponent to keep that person initially at bay, and then suddenly fall into the kick and attempt a takedown of the opponent. The kick was more of a set-up to control the distance and then used to set up getting into close range to engage in grappling. Jon Jones started using the oblique kick more effectively as an offensive technique. Most recently, Derek Brunson used the technique to terrible effect and appears to have significantly damaged his opponent’s knee.
Many people believe that techniques like the oblique kick are valid techniques and the opponent must learn to defend against them as they do heel hooks. On the counter side, there are few ways presently understood in how to defend oblique kicks other than staying light on the front foot, the onset of the technique is quick and doesn’t allow for a graduated defense, and the attempts to train that same defense may lead to more, not fewer injuries. The oblique kick also may cause permanent damage to the opponent’s knee, so it is not an injury that allows for healing and recovery so readily. Techniques that come on very quickly, don’t have a particularly effective defense, and lead to significant injuries may hurt MMA rather than enhance it. There are reasons we don’t allow head butts and strikes to the base of the skull or throat. The oblique kick may be on those techniques that does not have have a good place in the sport. It’ll be a ongoing debate, that’s for sure.