MMA 101

MMA 101


When Royce Gracie ushered in the MMA era at UFC 1 in 1993, he brought his unique brand of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with him. Over the course of the next two years, Royce won 11 consecutive fights via submission on his way to championships at UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 3. With the help of Rodrigo Gracie for this month’s MMA 101, Royce reenacts two of his favorite submissions, the ARMBAR and REAR NAKED CHOKE, that he used inside the Octagon to beat seven opponents, including Ken Shamrock, Keith Hackney, and Kimo Leopoldo.



1) From a mounted position, Royce sits up and begins to strike Rodrigo.
2) As Rodrigo attempts to block the strikes, Royce grabs Rodrigo’s right wrist and pushes on his triceps. This forces Rodrigo’s elbow across his body.

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3) As he continues to control Rodrigo’s right wrist with his right hand, Royce lowers his chest to pin Rodrigo’s arm across his chest.
4) Royce reaches behind Rodrigo’s head and uses his left arm to trap Rodrigo’s right arm.

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5) By pulling with his left arm and pushing with his right arm, Royce begins to turn Rodrigo over.
6) Royce drives Rodrigo onto his stomach by pushing on his right triceps, pulling his right wrist, and using chest pressure.
7) Rodrigo is forced onto his stomach.

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8) Royce pulls up on Rodrigo’s forehead to create space and begins to snake his right arm in for the choke.
9) Royce moves his right arm across Rodrigo’s neck, while grabbing his left biceps.

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10)Royce removes his left hand from Rodrigo’s forehead and brings it behind his head. By pulling his elbows in and squeezing, Royce forces the tap.

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1) Royce has Rodrigo mounted, keeping his hands on the mat to maintain a good base.
2) Rodrigo pushes on Royce’s chest to initiate the escape.
3) As Rodrigo begins to roll to his left, Royce posts his left hand and left leg perpendicular to Rodrigo’s head.

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4) Using his right arm, Royce traps Rodrigo’s right arm and begins to slide to his right side while using his head and shoulder to post. Rodrigo has now rolled over to his hands and knees.
5) Royce brings his left leg over Rodrigo’s head, scissors his legs, and starts to extend Rodrigo’s arm.

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6) As Rodrigo stands up, Royce grips Rodrigo’s wrist with both hands, and pushes his own heels down, pops his hips upward, and forces the tap.



Why are there so many leg attacks in MMA? Because leg attacks offer the highest percentage takedown. However, lowering your level for a double- or single-leg can still leave you vulnerable for a knee to the face or the risk of being flattened by an opponent’s sprawl. If you want less risk, look to the trip. The inside trip uses a common upper-body clinch and good positioning to open up a high-percentage takedown attempt that limits negative consequences.

In this MMA 101, former All-American wrestlers Chad Mendes and Lance Palmer show readers how to set up and finish a variation of the inside trip.

1. Lance and Chad square-off in orthodox stances.

2. Chad throws a one-two combo (right hook pictured) to close the distance. You can throw any number of combos to close the gap.

3. Chad locks in an over-under. Chad’s left arm overhooks Lance’s right arm (notice Chad’s grip on the triceps). Chad digs an underhook with his right arm. Chad’s right leg is forward and splitting Lance’s legs.

4. Chad shoots forward and sweeps his heel in a clockwise motion to trap Lance’s foot in the crook of his knee. Chad simultaneously moves his head to the right side and cinches his right arm (elbow deep) around Lance’s left thigh. Chad maintains a tight grip on Lance’s right triceps and uses his upper body to drive through Lance.

5. Chad finishes the takedown by driving though into Lance’s guard.

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With the help of Blackzilian teammate Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez demonstrates one of his favorite combos in the cage—the crossover.

The crossover is only used on opponents who stand and counter with you. If you engage, and your opponent moves away, the crossover can’t be used. However, if you engage, and your opponent stands his ground and punches with you, the crossover is a great move to utilize.

1) Michael and I square off in orthodox stances.

2) Using the back of my glove, I push my left jab into Michael’s left eye to block his vision. This is the setup.

3) I’ve closed the distance with my initial jab, and Michael is still engaging.

4) As I push my left jab into Michael’s left eye for the second time, I step with my left foot to the outside of Michael’s left foot.

5) I pivot on my left foot and begin to bring my right foot all the way around in a counterclockwise motion so that I am perpendicular to Michael.

6) I continue the crossover by going into my crouched stance in one fluid motion.

7) I’ve created an angle so that I am outside Michael’s range in case he throws a strike.

8) I throw a left hook to Michael’s body.

9) I throw a left uppercut to Michael’s chin.

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