Sunday's UFC on Versus 4 in Pittsburgh, PA was chock full of highlight real performances and finishes. One of those came in the form of lightweight Joe Lauzon's one sided destruction of Curt Warburton that ended in a viciously executed 'Kimura' shoulder lock that was ready to transition into a Triangle choke if necessary. Combining submission possibilities has become more popular in recent years with the likes of Cole Miller, Chris Lytle and of course perhaps most famously Fabricio Werdum as shining examples of this concept in action.
As with every fight though, it starts on the feet and Lauzon was able to set things in motion with a crisp striking combo. The finish earned the Bostonian Submission of the Night honors and a cool $50,000 bonus check. Not bad for less than 5 minutes in the cage.
In the full entry Patrick Tenney breaks down the techniques that lead to the finish for J-Lau.
Starting things off we see Lauzon hitting a 2-3 and catching Warburton right on the chin at full extension, Warburton drops to one side and tries to recover while shielding himself from further blows with his right arm.
Lauzon follows up, clearing Warburton’s legs immediately and raining down punches as Warburton tries to turn into him, Warburton’s right arm sliding around Joe’s hip.
Joe rains down more punches, steering clear of Warburton’s attempts at half guard by standing up while Joe keeps his hips forward to prevent Warburton from being able to push him away to create space
Here’s where things start to come together for Joe, Warburton tries to recover half guard and Joe spins to change his base, reversing his hips and catching Warburton’s right arm by reaching around and through to a figure four grip (wrist on wrist via thumb-less grip). The reason this grip is so advantageous is because once the elbow is separated from the body it becomes an easily manipulated fulcrum to control the shoulder, once the shoulder is controlled then that in turn can control the rest of the opponents upper body insofar as to turn the angle of their shoulders.
Joe crosses over the almost non existent half guard into a squatting mount position and hops back to pull guard, knowing that his leverage will be better from a guard position so that he can finish the Kimura. Warburton commits a giant mistake, most likely without knowledge in that his left arm stays under Joe’s leg when Joe hops to mount and back to guard.
This is setting up a "1 arm in 1 arm out" situation that is typically the basis for three of the most fundamental guard submissions: triangle, armbar, and omoplata.
Joe notices the triangle possibility immediately:
He’s not attempting to finish via triangle (locking it up partly as a backup plan) but knowing that the leg figure four around the shoulders and neck will give him better control of the rest of Warburton’s body in order to wrench the kimura up and out.
We spoke about fulcrums before in this judo chop, now I’ll explain exactly why that’s important. Joe is manipulating the shoulder via the elbow, the shoulder is turning and the body wants to follow it to relieve pressure on the rotator cuff, because Lauzon has blocked the ability for Warburton’s body to follow the direction the shoulder fulcrum is being manipulated towards the rotator cuff is being pushed past the point it can naturally move, the tendon is being hyper-extended and in this case it looks like it tears (Warburton’s arm seemed mighty limp…); because Warburton cannot alleviate the rotational pressure on the ligament he’s put in an incredibly uncomfortable amount of pain and is ultimately forced to tap.
Lauzon again shows MMA fans why he’s always great to watch, he’s a finisher and in any situation he’s put into he’s trying to get that finish whether it be on the feet or on the ground, he mixes it up well and opportunistically takes submissions when they prevent themselves. Joe is a Jiu Jitsu instructor’s dream student, he shows that he’s not afraid to utilize his technical knowledge in a real setting and that he’s willing to put himself in what many feel is an inferior position in order to apply the proper leverage to finish the submissions he’s after. We’ve seen him dive for scissor leg locks and heel hooks, he’s actively working to pass guard and take submissions when on the ground and he’s got an active guard both striking and manipulating his opponent into giving up opportunities to execute his technical knowledge.
This wasn’t an incredibly fancy finish, what it was is a demonstration of solid technique at a fast pace as Joe strings together multiple positions and techniques in order to achieve a fully locked in submission where his opponent isn’t given the chance to escape; beautiful execution from a lightweight who everybody needs to watch.