This is what happens when your Jiu-Jitsu fails you. Photo by Josh Hedges of Zuffa via Flickr
Patrick Cote returned to the Octagon at UFC 113 after eighteen months of inactivity following surgery to repair a knee injury he suffered against Anderson Silva at UFC 90. After a slow start, Cote picked up steam and seemed to find his striking form as the fight pushed into the second frame.
His work on the mat didn't look as polished.
Cote eventually let opponent Alan Belcher win the fight when he allowed Belcher to slam him face first after a stalled double leg attempt. Cote lay stunned on the canvas before returning to his knees, allowing Belcher to take his back. One rear naked choke later and Cote's comeback in front of a home crowd met a bitter end.
It's Cote's kimura attempt from inside the half-guard in the first round that I want to look at, though. I had Belcher slightly ahead at that point, but with a takedown and time to work, Cote had an opportunity to win back the round. In going for the submision, he gave Belcher a huge window to reverse the position and end up on top. What went wrong?
Before the jump, here's Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira showing the kimura from inside the half guard:
In the first GIF, we see Cote has established half guard and applied the figure four to Belcher's right arm. He throws a knee, in all likelihood, to distract Belcher from what he's doing on the other side of his body rather than an attempt at doing significant damage. As "Minotauro" showed above, Cote has a couple of options here. First, he can finish from half-guard. It's not ideal and Belcher would probably be able to defend, but it's an option nonetheless. The other option is to pass: either with the intent to finish from side control or using the kimura as a threat to improve position. What does Patrick Cote do?
Now, I am not a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert. I have less than twelve months of training in my life, but I knew right away that this was Not a Good Idea. Throwing the leg over the head is the correct move - once you've established side control. At my BJJ class the Monday after the fight, I asked my instructor (a brown belt under Jack McVicker of Team Megaton) about this sequence, and he knew what I was talking about once I said "Patrick Cote." The problem, he said, of throwing the leg around the head from half-guard is that you essentially have yourself doing the splits and, consequently, destroy your base. Look at how far apart Cote's legs are. And with his hands gripping Belcher's right arm, he has no easy way to base himself if Belcher tries to sit up or bridge. Let's jump ahead a few seconds and see what happens.
Belcher, a BJJ brown belt, sits up and sweeps Cote, and, after a brief scramble, establishes himself in Cote's half guard.