As much as it pains me, I thought I'd take a break from the breathless speculation about who Fedor will or won't be fighting at Affliction: Trilogy, IF the event happens and talk about some actual MMA instead.
I've already done a judo chop on Jon Jones' Greco-Roman technique but what he did at UFC 100 was an even more remarkable feat. To beat Jake O'Brien, Jones seamlessly integrated all three phases of the MMA game -- striking, takedowns and submissions.
Jake O'Brien seemed to present some interesting challenges for Jones. So much so that
a certain idiot who didn't do enough research on the fight I even picked O'Brien to win the fight. I hadn't accounted for Jones' enormous 8" reach advantage. I also failed to take into account the fact that Jones' standing game incorporates a LOT of kicks where O'Brien sticks strictly to boxing.
It did take Jones a full round to feel out O'Brien before he ramped up his attack. And what he did really made me a believer in this kid. Lots of MMA fighters have great technique in one or two areas, but only the very best are able to transition from one aspect of MMA to the next. I'm thinking of Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St Pierre, Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Lyoto Machida -- fighters who use strikes to set up take downs, take downs to set up submissions, feint take downs to set up strikes, etc.
What Jones did was brilliant. First he faked a double leg take down and when O'Brien crouched to sprawl, Jones switched up and caught him with a spinning back elbow (pictured). It wasn't quite a perfect kill shot, but it clearly stunned O'Brien and forced him to do what freestyle wrestlers tend to do when they're hurt -- shoot for the double leg take down.
Jones sprawled and threw off the first shot, but a desperate O'Brien immediately tried again and Jones sprawled and then caught him in a very nice no arms front choke.
Let's geek out (with animated gifs) in the full entry.
The gif on the right shows the beautiful take down feint that tricked O'Brien. Watch how Jones' telegraphed shoulder drop fools O'Brien into instinctively dropping to catch the shot. When Jones rises and spins into the elbow, O'Brien freezes in place -- clearly he hasn't drilled defending against this attack. Honestly, who has?
It looks like O'Brien realizes that Jones isn't shooting, but the spinning motion totally throws him and he freezes in place -- perfectly positioned to catch the point of Jones' elbow with the top of his head. Stunned, O'Brien reverts to instinct and immediately fires off a very weak shot for Jones' knees.
On the left we see the aftermath, a few seconds later, Jones is stalking a still-stunned O'Brien and backs him into the cage, firing punches. O'Brien again shoots. This time he catches Jones' left leg, but it's an easy matter for Jones, the more accomplished wrestler of the two
something I'd have realized going into the fight if I'd done more fucking research, to sprawl and get his hips back so that he's in control.
And while he's at it, Jones manages to wrap his arms around O'Brien's head. I believe he initially had his right arm wrapped through O'Brien's arm pit, but its impossible to tell from this gif.
In the final gif on the right, we see Jones go in for the kill. At this point he definitely has both arms wrapped around O'Brien's neck with no arm in. This changes the choke quite a bit -- a front choke with the arm in would be a variation on the arm triangle family of chokes (which includes the Anaconda, D'arce and Brabo) but those chokes all rely on using the opponent's own shoulder to cut off blood flow on one side of the neck and the attacker's arm cuts off the other artery.
In this instance, Jones must cut off the blood flow on both sides of the neck with his own arms. Luke Thomas described it to me as "a rear naked choke from the front -- like a guillotine with a figure four grip." It is very similar to the choke that Miguel Torres finished Chase Beebe with at WEC 32. Regardless of the technical niceties, O'Brien was forced to tap and Jones won the fight.
Let's review. First Jones used the wrestling phase of the game -- a fake shoot -- to get O'Brien in position to catch him with a spinning elbow -- a second phase of the game, striking -- then when O'Brien reacted by shooting for the take down, Jones used his wrestling to stuff the shoot and set up the third and final phase of the game -- submissions.
A beautiful performance from a young fighter who continues to impress.
Gifs by Chris Nelson.