Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Peek a Boo and Pinning the Clinch with Miguel Torres

This Bloody Elbow Judo Chop discusses the striking techniques Miguel Angel Torres used to defend his belt against Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 40.

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The WEC 40 bantamweight title fight is the first fight I've ever had to do two dueling Judo Chops for.

This is a sequel to my earlier Judo Chop about Takeya Mizugaki's ability to close distance and score with punches at medium range.

Mizugaki surprised the champ a bit but Torres was able to win for three reasons:

  1. His peek-a-boo boxing skills allowed him to bob and weave and avoid the worst of Mizugaki's hooks to the body and head;
  2. As Mizugaki got tired, Torres began to score from the outside with jabs and straight kicks; and
  3. Torres figured out he could force Mizugaki up against the cage and punish him with knees and elbows. Early in the fight when they clinched in the center of the ring, Mizugaki held his own, but not up against the fence.

This bit of description from Josh Gross' live blog of the fight is telling:

Two nice elbows in the clinch from Torres. Another. Against the fence and in the clinch, Torres is winning. It's everywhere else he's having trouble. The champ once again gets on the inside following a right straight.

Four punch combo from Torres pushes Mizugaki back-first into the cage. He's strong here. Good work from both men as they trade in the Thai clinch.

Some gifs and more discussion in the full entry.

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The gif on the right shows just what good peek-a-boo boxing skills can do for a fighter. Mizugaki came in behind a lazy Torres jab and fires off a ten punch combination inside. Backing up, Torres makes every punch miss by moving his head and upper body. I can't remember when I've seen this kind of evasive movement from an MMA fighter. Torres' defense on the inside put a big crimp in Mizugaki's game plan.

2jb8ox3_mediumThe gif on the left shows where Torres was able to score offensively and make it a definitive win for the champ: in the clinch, up against the cage. Mizugaki showed early on that he could dominate exchanges at close punching range and even put the thai plum on Torres and scored with knees from there a couple of times. But that was out in the open. Up against the fence, Torres owned the clinch.

Look at how he establishes a collar tie with his left hand, uses it to pull Mizugaki into a knee to the body, then releases to score with a nasty elbow at close range. This happened repeatedly and Mizugaki had no answer. The knees to the body sapped Mizugaki's strength and made it easier for Torres to score at range with jabs and straight kicks. With his back to the cage, Mizugaki couldn't get leverage to throw knees of his own and effectively found himself defenseless.

I've watched this fight several times now working on these Judo Chops and I have to say its one of the best technical MMA fights I've ever seen. Only two factors prevent it from being an ideal MMA fight -- the lack of any ground fighting and the lack of a defininitive finish. Still it was a hell of a performance from both fighters.

As always chime in an correct me where I'm missing something, I'm no boxing coach.

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