Trainor sets up his flying elbow with his left, causing Budsadee to cover up and duck his head, removing most of his vision and allowing Trainor to execute the flying elbow unimpeded. Trainor either intended to use his left to control Budsadee's head from the outset, or threw a jab and decided to control the head when Budsadee covered up inside it.
Trainor made a basic error here. He was unlikely distracted too much by Budsadee's outstretched right (then again, he may have been), but upon seeing Budsadee burst forward, he covered up and exhibited absolutely no lateral movement, leaving himself vulnerable to whatever Budsadee wanted to do (in this case, a superman punch).
The thing about flying attacks is that a fighter can't really change direction effectively whilst airborne. A simple step to his right would have allowed Trainor to counter quite effectively, or even to evade and recompose. I'm not claiming that a 'simple' step to the right is easy, but for an elite fighter, allowing yourself to be pressured backwards towards the ropes when you are initially well out of range is poor form, and dangerous.
It wasn't a devastating attack by any means. Vision of any contact is obscured, but Trainor didn't appear to sustain much, if any, damage.
Budsadee did manage to reach him before he could evade however, and there are multiple contributing factors to Budsadee's success in this regard.
The first is his quick rebound from the ropes; a position in which fighters will often loiter for a little longer. This gave his attack a degree of unpredictability and surprise.
The second is that, leaping with hands raised, Trainor would have had difficulty determining whether Budsadee was going to attempt another elbow, another superman, a flying front or side kick, or a knee. This added another degree of unpredictability.
Thirdly, Budsadee was extremely quick here. From the ropes, he covers approximately 2 metres (and considerable elevation) in roughly a second. This, combined with the unpredictability of his strike, tips the scales in his favour.
We see here quite clearly that Trainor again sets up the elbow by using his left to both obscure vision and pull the head forward. He only misses thanks to a timely leg strike from Budsadee which tips Trainor off balance. Try this in the gym. You will note that, if you manage to get your left behind your opponent's head and are able to pull it forward and down, you find yourself in a very advantageous position, able to launch a range of strikes relatively unimpeded.
We see the same thing all over again. Trainor, for the third time, is able to provoke a high guard response from Budsadee by transitioning a jab-like motion into a head control. He executes this in a fraction of a second.
If your opponents are reading your flying attacks early, it could be for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- No set-up. Are you feinting? Are you throwing a precursor strike? Are you disguising your attack in any way by utilising ambiguous movements or movements typically associated with different attacks?
- Telegraphing. Get feedback from your sparing partners. Ask them why they are able to read your strikes. If they are honest and open, their feedback may well help to solve your issues, and quickly. It could be just one little 'tell' in your technique that you're not aware of.
- Speed. How quick are you?
- Distance. How much distance are you trying to cover?
The fact that your opponents are able to evade you or throw front kicks when you attack suggests you are likely commencing your strike from too far out and/or telegraphing too much. Note how close Trainor is at 12:45. It would be nearly impossible to land a front kick against him in similar circumstances.