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Learning how to take an opponent down from the clinch is essential for all mixed martial artists.
Regardless of whether you are an excellent striker, grappler, or well-rounded martial artist, having an arsenal of takedowns from the clinch can help you dictate where the contest takes place. In some cases, you can use a disadvantaged position to change the fight entirely by executing a well-timed counter. The majority of these takedowns from the clinch originate from 50/50 positions such as when each competitor has an overhook and underhook. Therefore, these takedowns do require plenty of practice so that you can begin to feel comfortable in finding the right opportunity to begin the takedown.
Today, Evolve Vacation brings you “5 MMA Takedowns From The Clinch”.
Turning the Corner in the Clinch
In the example shown above, Firas Zahabi from Tristar Gym explains how to turn the corner and execute a takedown that begins from the over/under clinch position.
Simply, this takedown involves using the momentum of an opponent against them by pulling them forward and then creating an angle to his side so that you can safely level change.
With one overhook and one underhook inside the clinch, you should first begin by reaching around the body of your opponent and securing a tight grip on his lat. This grip can be used to pull his body forward toward where you were originally standing. With your opponent now moving forward, you can step to the side easily.
On the side with an overhook, you can now step out to begin the process of turning the corner. By stepping out, you are actually enforcing his underhook on that same side, so it is important to trap his arm to your armpit and then pin it to his body to reduce the effectiveness of his underhook.
Now you are in a position to drop down and put all of your body weight on the mat so that he cannot lift you. Reach deep for the knee and then step out behind your opponent before shooting your hips in underneath his body weight to then lift him up and execute the takedown.
Forearm Slide to the Back and Takedown
This takedown is available when each competitor is reaching for the neck.
The first step is to remove his arm that is clinching the neck by using your forearm and shoulder to pass the extended arm past your face. By turning your head away from the arm, it helps glide the arm through and over to the other side of his body.
Once his arm has been transferred to the opposite side of his body, you can then create an angle and take the back using a double under gable grip.
It is important to stand to either side of your opponent, rather than being straight behind your opponent. You can block his inside knee by using your leg before scooting your hips in underneath his body weight. With your hips underneath him, you can then lift him upwards and forward for the takedown attempt.
Angle and Inside Block Takedown
In the video above, John Kavanagh from Straight Blast Gym in Ireland demonstrates a variation of the takedown that Zahabi explained earlier and is especially useful against stronger and more powerful opponents.
This takedown attempt can begin from what is regarded as a 50/50 position in the clinch when each competitor has an overhook and underhook.
From this position, it is difficult to execute a takedown because your opponent’s underhook prevents you from dropping down a level and grabbing his leg. To drop down and beat his underhook, you must first step out to the side of your overhook and then pull his lat forward with your underhook on the other side. Now, you can reach deep for his near leg before lifting it up and carrying it between your legs.
Your underhook can now safely drop down to assist in the takedown attempt. Move this hand and arm down and rotate it toward the inside of his far knee. This will effectively block his leg as you step back and allow him to fall back into place. From here, you can immediately pass the guard and solidify a dominant position.
Daniel Cormier often uses the outside trip in the UFC.
While this position can certainly be gained by storming into the boxing range of your opponent, it is also a takedown that can be used from the clinch once you have secured double underhooks.
With a tight gable grip formed, you then have to cut the angle by turning to one side while keeping your head on the centerline. Keep your bodies together like glue before trapping his outside leg with your own and then collapsing to a knee while looking over your shoulder to execute the outside trip takedown.
Judo Throw Counter to the Thai Clinch
Being stuck in a Thai clinch can be problematic in MMA.
Not only does the Thai clinch allow your opponent to punish you with devastating elbows and knees, but they can effectively control your upper posture and move you around with ease.
This judo throw gives you an exceptional counter to the Thai clinch and can turn an otherwise poor position into an excellent takedown.
If your opponent has locked up both arms behind your head in the Thai clinch, you first need to bump his arm and shoulder upward so that you can slide around to that side of the body and then reach for his far lat.
With this grip, you are now in a position to position yourself in front of his body and then execute the Judo throw. It does require careful footwork, though.
Step your outside foot just in front of his centerline and switch your hips to face the same direction as your opponent. Then step with your other foot close to the original step. This then allows you to make the third and final step by moving the first foot outside his body and then using your hip as a leverage point to throw his body over your now extended leg.
This Judo throw has outstanding potential for immediate submissions or passing right into a dominant position.