Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Chris Lytle Traps and Taps Matt Brown With "the Lytle"

Chris Lytle isn't one to talk up his submission game, per MMA Junkie:

"Those (submissions) were just kind of luck I guess," Lytle said. "I'm not very good on the ground. I'm a boxer, pure and simple."


"If they're going to give me a submission, I'm going to take it," he said. "I tried to do two at once to make sure it worked out, so I was happy with it."

But he's shown throughout his career that he'll happily take those submission wins. 19 of his 29 wins are via submission and from a wide variety of holds. 

Since I couldn't find any cool names for the inverted triangle/arm bar combination from side mount that Lytle landed on Brown, and since Lytle also tapped out Jason Gilliam with it at UFC 73, I have decided to name the hold "the Lytle". 

There's a long and proud tradition of submission holds being named for the fighter who made them famous. Most well known is the Kimura, named for legendary judoka Masahiko Kimura, who used it to defeat one of the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Hélio Gracie in their epic 1951 bout.

Chris Lytle may never hold a major championship belt, but he's an awesome fighter with a long and storied career -- he fought Lion's Den member Jason Delucia in Pancrase in 1999! -- and I'd love to see him claim a little bit of well-earned immortality in the sport. So remember, next time you see this move pulled off, it's called "the Lytle".

Cole Miller pulled a similar move on Dan Lauzon at UFC 108 -- see the Judo Chop here -- but Miller was going for an arm bar and added the triangle in second. What Chris Lytle does is take a much more methodical approach to this move. 

In the full entry BE reader AboveThisFire breaks down the animated gifs from both UFC 73 and UFC 116, with some help from Luke Thomas.

Special thanks to Scott Haber who insisted we do a judo chop on this move and who broke down the key times from both fights for the gif maker, Chris Nelson.


Gifs by Chris Nelson.

Bloody Elbow reader Patrick Tenney (aka AboveThisFire) has kindly broken down Lytle's moves gif by gif. Starting with his victory over Jason Gilliam at UFC 73, our own Luke Thomas has added some additional commentary. Here's Lytle busting out "the Lytle" on Gilliam:

Lytle1_mediumPatrick Tenney: First off we see Lytle controlling the upper body and moving into side control after Gilliam fails to recompose a solid half guard; notice that the left arm is out and past Lytle's hip instead of being dug in and defensive (this is the beginning of that arm being isolated).


Lytle2_mediumTenney: On the left we see a little bit of luck mixed with Gilliam clearly not identifying what was about to happen to him, Lytle continues to control the far side arm while realizing he has the chance to go for the kill (his left thigh slides under Gilliam's left arm pushing it up while he steps over the head and drags his heel across the back of the head in order to get his leg under. Lytle switches his hips over so he can figure four his legs in the crucifix triangle position while Gilliam reacts late and misses his chance to dig in with that left arm again and possibly save himself from the choke.

Luke Thomas: In the gif above where Lytle steps over the head, watch his right hand because what you'll notice is that he steps over first and then removes the hand. In other words you can't move the hand as it is the place holder UNTIL the new place holder is in place, then you can change place holders. Mike Brown is awesome at that taking the back he'll hold his forearm in where he's about to sink his hooks he'll put the hook in, then remove the hand

Lytle3_mediumTenney: On the right Gilliam is locked up, Lytle crosses his foot over his knee pit and curls that left leg up to squeeze the triangle while he starts the Americana lock on the far side arm, Gilliamdefends the Americana lock by straightening his arm back out after hipping up. 

Thomas: Lytle has to be careful not to allow Gilliam to raise his elbow too high. When Lytle ties up the figure four with his hands he has to keep his hips low while posting off of his head so Gilliam can't turn his base over. Lytle does a pretty good job of that


Tenney: Once that far arm is straightened to defend the Americana, Lytle switches first to a straight armbar and then down to a kimura(typical triple threat style on the arm), not the best angle but it looks like he finishes here with a low kimura or straight armbar while pushing his hips back and putting more pressure on the triangle.

Important to notice in this entire chain is that Lytle keeps his body low to avoid getting his head hooked over and rolled via Gilliams legs (not sure Gilliam would of done it anyhow, but that is a potential defense).

Thomas: I can't see much but unlike an armbar that's hit from mount you don't want to be perfectly perpendicular you want about 20 degrees so it reduces their mobility on their elbow. You'll see Gilliam's arm is closer to his waist than normal.

Now we come to Lytle's second display of "the Lytle" at UFC 116 against Matt Brown. This time all the commentary is by Patrick Tenney:

Lytle-brown-1_mediumOn the right, Brown flops a defense to a weak guillotine and can't maintain half guard as Lytle passes to mount with a little bit of a can opener style.


Lytle-brown-2_mediumOn the left we see Lytle take mount and then side control, hopping his leg close and high so Brown can't grab it down for half guard.

(Notice that Lytle passes to Brown's left -- the same side side control as in the previous example, clearly he favors that side.) Lytle positions himself in a scarf hold or kesa gatame style side control controlling the head and positioning his legs forward and his body higher, using his side as the weight on Brown.

On the right, Lytle executes the same general tactic as before, sliding the bottom leg under the arm (which Brown left up and out to be isolated) and then stepping his top leg high and far to the far side of Brown's head before snatching it back and under to the figure four lock.

(Side note: From kesa gatame I prefer controlling the arm via wrist and putting it between my legs and then controlling the wrist again before stepping over, this is because in a pure grappling situation most people aren't going to have their head up and the heel drag along the back of the head to secure the triangle crucifix position is slightly more difficult as the opponent should be more aware, Lytle kind of skips a few fundamental steps because he gets the element of surprise on Brown.)

The weirdest and actually kind of interesting point to make in this gif as well is that Lytle has an arm drag style underhook on Brown's far arm using his shoulder to lock down Brown's elbow while cupping the arm with his to maintain control of it (he's definitely thinking arm attack).


Lytle-brown-4_mediumSame execution as previous, he locks the figure four, turns his hips with Brown's bump so he can reapply weight and then starts curling that left leg to apply the pressure; here's where Brown succeeds where Gilliam failed, you can see Brown's left arm is out and angled down so he can relieve pressure from the triangle (the shoulder into his carotid is mitigated slightly) where as Gilliam allowed his arm to stay up and over his own body (a no no, think about how an arm triangle is applied, same general theory for all triangle locks for the most part).

Lytle starts working to control the far arm and goes for either an Americana or straight armbar but has a little trouble pushing Brown's arm down to the mat until he gets his shoulder into it and pressures down on the arm.

Lytle-brown-5_medium Brown thinks he has space to dig a hand in and break the crucifix triangle so he attempts that (this could also be because he feels the arm lock is close and needs to break the triangle so he can roll out or defend the arm lock. What we don't see that I do remember from how the arm is finished by Lytle is that Lytle straightens the arm as if in a straight arm bar but he also applies radial pressure by twisting the wrist/forearm of Brown down in a semi circle while also locking the straight arm bar (this is so he can secure the elbow where he wants while also applying extra pressure on the joints and ligaments due to this radial pressure as well, taking a lot of the power from the arm while also being able to apply the submission, beautiful technique and awareness of body mechanics (that or just heat of the moment luck)).

It's pretty obvious that Lytle is comfortable from side control/kesa gatame and going for the crucifix triangle position is something he enjoys, people fighting him in the future really need to be aware of this position should the fight go to the ground.

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