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UFC Fight Night: Struve vs. Volkov – Moves to Remember

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UFC Fight Night 115: Volkov vs. Struve had some interesting match-ups. And although most fighters competing in this card were relatively unknown, there were some excellent techniques on display this past weekend.

The main focus of this post is to educate rather than entertain, and the target audience of this series are mostly coaches, fighters and educated fans who train in MMA or in the individual sports/martial arts which comprise Mixed Martial Arts. Listed here are some effective techniques which can be added to a fighter’s arsenal and a great opportunity for students of the game to appreciate diverse approaches to MMA fighting. This diversity of fighting backgrounds, when applied in action against each-other, is what makes our sport so exciting.

That said, here are some very interesting techniques:

Marion Reneau vs Talita Bernardo


Marion Reneau vs Talita Bernardo

Marion Reneau is positioned on top, with her right foot inside Bernardo’s deep half guard. Photo 1 above shows Marion controlling her opponent’s left arm to prevent a sweep towards that side. Talita rolls her the other way – a common move in deep half guard – and is able to get the sweep. Without losing her composure Reneau keeps pushing her opponent’s head down, posting her left hand on the floor (photo 3), as she moves from a sitting position to a kneeling one. Finally she stands up, frees her leg by kicking forward and jumps backwards to get the back take. Here is another angle of the back take:


Marion Reneau vs Talita Bernardo

To do this technique correctly fighters should be able to use active posting, hips switching from sitting to kneeling, while maintaining their balance. As pictured in photo 4 above, when taking the back, it is important for the top fighter’s hip to connect with the hip of the fighter in the turtle position. If a fighter rushes to put the hooks in without establishing this hip connection first, their opponent may be able to stand and throw them over their heads.

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Michel Prazeres vs. Mads Burnell


Michel Prazeres vs. Mads Burnell

As shown in the sequence above, Prazeres has his right foot trapped in his opponent’s half guard. He is able to underhook Mads Burnell’s right thigh and free his leg by stepping back. Notice how high Burnell’s head is, as he is trying to look at what his opponent was doing. Prazeres is able use his left arm to wrap the neck while using his right hand to block the hip (photo 3). This helps him establish the north and south position and get the choke. In photo 6, Prazeres’ hips are low towards the ground; Burnell’s chin is trapped between Prazeres’ armpit and ribs. There is no space for the chin to move left or right, . (Click here for clip/gif)

This is an underutilized choke in MMA, as it is very easy to get from a variety of positions. It is called the “North-South” choke and was made famous by legendary BJJ competitor Marcelo Garcia. It is highly recommended for fighters to add this choke to their arsenal. Here is Marcelo explaining this technique in detail:

Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena

Technique #1

In the following pictures, Bryan Barberena attacks with a left kick from a southpaw stance and Leon Edwards is able to catch it under his armpit and wrap his right arm around it. Edwards counterattacks with a left hand and keeps controlling the foot while pressing forward. He does so while keeping his posture up, making Barberena lose his balance. What is impressive here is that Edwards keeps controlling the foot until the last minute, enabling him to follow his opponent to the ground and establish top butterfly control. This is an excellent takedown-to-top-ground-control transition.


Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena

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Technique #2

Another example of tight grappling by Edwards can be seen below. He controls Barberena with a half nelson and a palm to palm grip while using a single leg hook, in an attempt to get his opponent’s back. Notice how Leon used his instep to extend Barberena’s leg, making it difficult for him to stand-up (photo 2). When his opponent manages to stand, Edwards uses this same hook to sweep the far side leg (photo 4), forcing Bryan to drop his butt on the floor. This is a subtle move, but it is moves like this that make the difference in a fight. Controlling an opponent is a struggle which involves neutralizing posts over and over again.


Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena

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Technique #3

Leon Edwards also shows an interesting chain take-down transition in the Barberena fight:


Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena

As seen above, he ducks under a southpaw jab and goes for a double leg takedown. As Barberena pushes his hips away, Edwards tries to go for an outside trip. When this also fails, Leon keeps tight bodylock control and goes for a successful inner thigh throw, thus getting the takedown. His opponent tries to use the momentum to land on top but Edwards’ underhook prevents him from doing so. Great grappling display from Leon Edwards in this fight and an interesting combination of takedowns from bodylock control.

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Darren Till vs. Bojan Veličković

In the technique below, Bojan Veličković lands a left low kick as both fighters are in a southpaw stance. Darren Till grabs the foot with his right hand and lifts it as he presses forward. He traps the calf of the foot between his forearm and bicep and continues applying forward momentum. As Veličković is able to free the foot, and while he’s still off balance with his back against the cage, Till attacks with a powerful left elbow. This is a classic Muay Thai technique where Thai boxers will push opponents to the ropes and catch them as they bounce back with an elbow or a flying knee.


Darren Till vs. Bojan Veličković

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Rustam Khabilov vs. Desmond Green


Rustam Khabilov vs. Desmond Green

Although this technique failed to deliver a connecting blow, it is very interesting to watch. Above, Desmond Green attacks with a right low kick. Rustam Khabilov anticipates the attack and spins around in order to deliver a right backfist. Green is too far away and the punch misses, but what is amazing is that the move was so perfectly synchronized. Desmond’s foot never touches Khabilov’s left front foot. The mechanics and concept behind the technique are solid and this technique can likely be successfully applied in the future.

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Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Mike Santiago

In the fight that stole the show (as far as I’m concerned) Zabit Magomedsharipov pressures Mike Santiago – who is in a southpaw stance and with his back against the cage. As pictured below, Magomedsharipov attacks with a right hook to the body, left hook to the head, and finishes with a flying right spinning back kick that glances off Santiago’s shoulder.


Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Mike Santiago

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As though that sequence isn’t enough he continues his offence by attacking with a “showtime” kick – the move made famous by Anthony Pettis in his fight against Ben Henderson. As shown below, Magomedsharipov steps back to gain momentum, jumps towards the cage and steps on it with his left foot. He uses the same foot to attack with the flying kick. And although it failed to connect, it’s a great display of technique. Magomedsharipov seems to be a talented fighter, even if he may need to work on his accuracy.


Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Mike Santiago

Here is the full sequence including the showtime kick and below is Pettis using this kick and a short instructional video.

Aleksandar Rakić vs. Francimar Barroso


Aleksandar Rakić vs. Francimar Barroso

In the photos above, from a southpaw stance, Francimar Barroso attacks with a sidekick to his opponent’s left knee. The kick lands to the kneecap, and Aleksandar Rakić is able to counterattack with a right low kick at the same time. This is a good counter against a Jon Jones style sidekick to the knee, but it might work better if Rakić switch-stepped back to avoid the kick landing on the knee before going for the counter. These sidekicks to the knee are not ‘fight-enders’ but can cause injuries if they are allowed to land repeatedly.

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Mairbek Taisumov vs. Felipe Silva

In the sequence below, Felipe Silva attacks with a fake jab to overhand right. Mairbek Taisumov makes him pay by rolling under the punch and landing a beautiful right hook, one that knocked Silva out cold. Quite impressive considering that Taisumov did so while going backwards, with his back against the cage. Another great counter to consider against right overhands is a pull back defense to a right high kick.


Mairbek Taisumov vs. Felipe Silva

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That’s all for this week. Don’t forget to visit BloodyElbow next week as Combat Course: Lessons from the Cage will provide an extensive analysis of techniques from UFC 215.

About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).

Follow Kostas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kostasfant and search #fantmoves for more techniques.

Website: www.embracingthegrind.com



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