MMA 101

MMA 101


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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There are a lot of benefits to being in side control. You can knee the body, drop elbows to the face, work toward full mount, and hunt submissions. This month, Robert Drysdale—2007 ADCC World Champion and undefeated professional mixed martial artists (6-0, with 6 submissions)—shows readers a slick armlock from side control.

1) I begin by holding my opponent in side control.

2) As he pummels to get his left arm underneath me, I snake my right arm through and put the back of my right hand on his biceps.

3) As he turns into me, I let him push his left arm all the way through. When he does, I trap his arm by placing my right hand on my left pectoral. I keep his arm trapped here during the entire sequence.

4) As he turns to his side, I keep my weight on him. The more weight, the better. I don’t want to stop him from turning, I just want to slow him down and keep him in my control. I spin clockwise by bringing my knees toward his head and putting my left elbow on the ground at his gut, which blocks his right thigh.

5) I pop my hips up and begin to take a big step with my right leg over the top of his head, almost like I’m doing a sit-out. His arm is still trapped in my armpit.

6) I put my right foot on the mat, and pinch my right elbow toward my hip, forcing him to tap.

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photos: Paul Thatcher

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In 1989, Roan Jucao Carneiro started training jiu-jitsu under the legendary Carlson Gracie in Brazil, eventually moving on to study under Murilo Bustamante, the Nogueira brothers, Ricardo Arona, and Paulo Filho. Now, the UFC veteran and BJJ black belt is the lead instructor at American Top Team: Atlanta.

With the help of Jake Jo, Jucao shows readers how to secure the fight-ending HEEL HOOK that Rousimar Palhares used to submit Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29. NOTE: Heel hooks are dangerous submissions to practice, so don’t apply any pressure to the hold or you could cause permanent damage to your practice partner.


Heel Hook


1) Jucao has Jake’s left leg elevated, as he is trying to finish a single-leg takedown.
2) Jake pops his hips back and gets his left foot on the mat.


3) Instead of transitioning to a double-leg finish, Jucao squares his body with Jake.
4) Jucao drops to his butt and wraps his right arm around Jake’s left leg. Jucao brings his right knee behind Jake’s left knee.
5) Jucao lies back and brings his left leg over Jake’s left hip. It is important that Jucao continues to control Jake’s left leg with his right arm.


6a & 6b) Jucao figure-fours Jake’s left leg. Notice that Jucao uses a figure-four where his right leg is on top of his left leg.
7) Using the downward pressure of his right leg, Jucao turns to his right side and forces Jake to the ground.


8) Jucao begins transitioning to a heel hook. He turns his shoulders to the right to expose Jake’s heel.
9) With his right forearm, Jucao continues working his grip under Jake’s exposed heel.


10) Jucao has now secured his grip. His right forearm has trapped Jake’s heel, and his left hand is grabbing the back of his right hand. Jucao drops his chest toward the ground.
11) To secure the finish, Jucao rotates his shoulders (and Jake’s heel) to the left. Pressure is applied through the heel into the knee. Jake must tap or risk knee injury.

Follow Jucao on Twitter: @jucao
For more information on American Top Team: Atlanta, visit