MMA Positioning: Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Many people have an innate ability to fulfill the old cliché of “being in the right place at the right time”.
As you can see, Caol Uno is not one of those people.
A few instances of individuals who do fit the profile :
- Physicians who specialize in venereal diseases located at the Jersey Shore
- The Krispy Kreme franchise owner in closest proximity to Roy Nelson
- The official dentist of The Ultimate Fighter
The following is a compilation of MMA fighters who always seem to thrive when they manage to position themselves in the right place.
Whether it is a floating curveball waist-high in baseball, a pass on the numbers in football, or a wide open three pointer from the corner in basketball, all athletes have their “Wheelhouses”…Mixed Martial Artists are no different.
To the slides…
Full Guard (Offense)
What Tito Ortiz lacked in knockout power, he more than made up for with short, punishing forearms and elbows in confined spaces.
With all due respect to the Godfather, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, nobody was better wrapped up like a pretzel after a double-leg takedown creating maximum force per cubic inch with short, punishing forearms and elbows in tight spots.
Tito’s bread & butter was pinning his opponent’s head to the mat with the use of his forearm, then exploding with said forearm once his adversary was foolish enough to listen to the referee’s instructions of “stay busy or I’ll stand you up”
In hindsight, many of his opponents would have been better off ignoring Big John and company.
Back in his heyday, Matt Hughes gave opponents two options once he shifted that leg out of half-guard into side control :
A) Immobilize the use of one of your limbs, end up in a crucifix, and attempt to block face-breaking blows with one arm.
B) Flail that one appendage around after receiving borderline brain damage only to give Hughes wrist control while he proceeded to crank that arm in very unnatural ways.
To put it in standardized testing format – Side Control is to Wrestlers as Cocktail Waitresses are to Tiger Woods
The Full Mount
Unless you’re a 47 year-old ex-NFL Heisman Trophy winner, it’s awful hard to look unimpressive from the Full Mount.
There does happen to be one mixed martial artist that could legitimately make a case for referee stoppage once full mount has been secured.
Universal MMA rules state that the bout should end once a fighter fails to intelligently defend him/herself. When Baby Jay Penn assumes the full mount position, intelligent defense is no longer an option.
With never-before-seen balance and leverage control, BJ Penn sinks his hooks in and finishes fights depending on whatever mood he’s in that day.
The only viable option for those who are not saved by the referee after thunderous blows to the face segues nicely into the next slide…
One would think Penn’s opponents have studied enough film to come to the realization that rolling to their backs while mounted is the best non prescription sleep aid on the planet.
Perhaps the impending nap is welcomed.
As if BJ’s military precision on applying rear-naked-chokes wasn’t enough, the Good Lord granted him the dexterity to use his legs to double hammer-lock your arms while you slowly drift off to sleep.
Whoever would of thought having a BJ on your back could be so unpleasant?
North / South
While Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira doesn’t own a plethora of victories directly related to the position, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone in the business who was more comfortable transitioning from North / South to a more advantageous position.
I would imagine being on a completely different level than the majority of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts certainly provides a higher level of comfort while laying horizontal with his opponents.
The Muay Thai Plum
No surprise here – it’s a Silva...
Except it’s not the one who introduced Rich Franklin to fine dining through a straw.
With the fingers on both hands interlaced behind the small of the neck, Wanderlei Silva made many Radio City Rockettes jealous of the ferocity of his rapid fire knee lifts.
The worst aspect of it all was back in Pride FC, there was literally no way out.
With Wandy pulling on the back of your head, opponents were unable to fall backwards once they had enough. Fall forward you say ? Even worse… now you’re receiving the full G-force of those pin-point knees.
Don’t ever let Quinton Jackson tell you he prefers a cage over a ring. That two foot escape route saved his life that day.
This one’s tricky.
Half Guard is sort of the purgatory of ground maneuvering.
Randy Couture once told Joe Rogan he prefers half guard to side control because he feels like he has somewhat of a base to drive off of with one leg pinned underneath.
Compared to side control, it also is a position that is less susceptible to opponents bucking or rolling out of. With a smaller opportunity to scramble out of, fighters like GSP employ this tactic to methodically maintain top position while doing just enough to “stay busy”.
This is the most popular tactic of Lay-N-Pray artists due to the knowledge that the referee is less prone to stand the fight up since this is technically a dominant position.
In football terms, this is the 3 yards and a pile of dust maneuver. This is also where Jake Shields and Jon Fitch feed their families.
The Greco Clinch
This might as well be a lifetime achievement award.
This is the fastball down the middle of the plate that you along with everyone else in the building knows is coming – yet there is no way to stop it.
While training for Couture, there was always bigger, stronger wrestlers in your training camp that could lull you into a false sense of security by pinning you up against the cage for hours working on gaining leverage with underhooks, dropping down for double-legs, creating space…etc.
Once Randy’s collar-ties, short elbows, and uppercuts started flying, you would have been better off spending those countless hours doing Yoga.
There’s a good reason why Dirty Boxing and Randy Couture are synonymous.
Full Guard (Defense)
This is the one category that is simply not up for debate. Time after time, Royce Gracie appeared to be on the brink of death with mountainous men on top of him.
With a quick swivel of the hips and a thunderous cry from the beast in spandex, fans were left wondering if Royce pulled out a switchblade from under his Gi and committed a felony.