Originally published on MMA Scraps, re-posted here with full permission from the owner.
"Inside the Fights" is a look inside some of the incredible techniques used by individual fighters. In the first edition we will take a look at the incomparable guard passing of Japanese Shooto champ Hatsu Hioki. Hioki won the Shooto 143 lbs. belt on May 30th of this year and it set to face Jeff Lawson at Sengoku 14 on August 22nd.
If I were to make a list with MMA's top guard passers sure I would mention Georges St. Pierre, Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. Really though it's all about B.J. Penn and Hatsu Hioki. Hioki is a visionary, highly imaginative, truly an artist when it comes to guard passing and he passes directly to mount an insane number of times, often using the B.J. Penn-esque near side underhook pass.
Why listen to me praise the beautiful technique of this man when there is plenty of video evidence to study. I will point out some specific examples in the videos, but make no mistake the full fights are worth your time.
Hioki vs. Mark Hominick at TKO 25
Go to the 2 minute mark for the sick sweep and watch Hioki use his skills to crush Hominick's attempts at getting any semblance of a guard and effortlessly achieve the full mount position.
Hioki vs. Joe Pearson at Shooto in 2005
This whole fight is poetry in motion as Pearson pulls guard on Hioki, gets punched for it then Hioki goes to side mount, knee-on-belly to full mount in a fraction of a second and finishes with punches.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Rumina Sato - Shooto Tradition 4
Watch the transitions from 3:15 to 5:01. Sato attempts rubber guard to no avail as Hioki quickly cuts through it as he inevitably achieves the full mount. Hioki hurts Sato with punches as Sato attempts a sweep, Hioki jumps to side mount to avoid the sweep and with speed and precision that would make Marcelo Garcia blush Hioki is back to mount and finishes off Sato before you can blink.
This is just a sliver of an example of the greatness that is Hatsu Hioki. Get your youtube on when you have a chance as you won't regret it. All of Hioki's 4 losses are decisions with 3 of them split decisions. He never loses, he simply runs out of time.
****Update**** It was brought to my attention that this article was posted in the sherdog forum and Hioki's opponent from Shooto-Back to Our Roots 3 in 2007, Antonio "Pato" Carvalho, responded with praise for Hioki's skills.
My defense against Hioki's guard passes, just not be there period!!! After getting mounted 3 times in the first round alone, the only defense I could think of quickly in the second and third was just to push the head and do a proper technical stand up. I knew my only hope to perhaps pulling off a win was to not be under him at all. Hioki has amazing pressure when on top. Plus, he utilizes has length really well along with applying maximum leverage. He controls the head perfectly while also uses proper hip mobility and hip pressure to achieve his pass. Lets not forget how relentless he is as soon as he passes.