Dong Hyun Kim spun an elbow into victory against John Hathaway’s elbow. Technically speaking, the elbows weren’t thrown in the way it’s usually taught.
What’s odd about this elbow is that even if Kim didn’t move away from Hathaway’s elbow, it’d still be pretty much off target. The rear-elbow, out of any “orthodox” strike thrown with the arms, is literally the shortest weapon available. This makes it very difficult to land from long-range, and I can only imagine very few would attempt it without setup.
Hathaway committed to this elbow — so much so that he lost stance (too much forward momentum and pressure on the lead-leg) and allowed his rear-foot to drove forward. When he fell forward, his arm was all the way down and literally fell into the spinning-elbow. Committing to such a one directional attack is only acceptable when one’s certain that it’ll land.
In a southpaw vs. orthodox matchup, the spinning back elbow is a viable option off the opponent’s rear-hand strike — slipping to the left as one takes the step with the lead-foot and turn the back. As for Dong Hyun Kim’s “spinning back elbow”, I prefer to call it a spinning elbow. Spinning back elbows are generally thrown with the back facing the opponent and exiting with a step back. In “Stun Gun’s” case, he literally spun all the way through. Had it missed, he’d be out of position and quite vulnerable — this would’ve happened if Hathaway threw a rear-straight while remaining balanced.
This circumstance is quite unique — it’s the difference between getting a hit and missing a hit, and therefore effective and ineffective. While the elbows thrown by either men were not textbook, the different situations, timing, and accuracy deemed one fatal and the other successful. Regardless of it’s unorthodoxy, it worked.