UFC's Chris Lytle Doesn't Quite Know What He's Best At

Chris Lytle likes to play up his balls to the wall fighting style. 

This sums up the typical reaction to his preference for STANDnBANG, from Brian Knapp at Sherdog:

An accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner whose resume includes more than one innovative submission, Lytle often abandons his considerable ground skills in favor of the more entertaining and memorable blood-and-guts stand-up encounter.

Man screw that.

Around these parts, Lytle is known and celebrated for his memorable Submission of the Night victories and the Judo Chops we wrote about them.

Like when he popularized a hold we call the Lytle:

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.

More in the full entry.


What's not memorable about "the Lytle":


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)).

That's not even to mention this amazing rolling kneebar he pulled on Brian Foster at UFC 110:



Gif by Smoogy.

On the right we see the whole move in one long gif. The fighters start out with Foster trying to get back control over a standing Lytle. He has both of arms wrapped around Lytle's waist and his hands are locked together. Lytle is initially using a whizzer to counter -- ie his left arm is hooked under Foster's right armpit. This is a standard wrestling position and it creates a lot of opportunities in MMA for the one getting back control, but it also leaves you vulnerable to some attacks that you don't have to worry about in amateur wrestling, like the rolling knee bar.


Note how Lytle's left leg is between Foster's two legs. This is the positioning that creates the opportunity for Lytle's attack. Lytle first gives up the whizzer and in one motion swings his left arm out from under Foster's armpit and down between his legs to grab the back of Foster's right leg. Then he rolls forward, pulling Foster down with him.

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