Strikeforce Judo Chop: Healy Busts Out A Kadowaki Special on Blanco

This is collaborative Judo Chop by Dallas Winston (introductory analysis) and Patrick Tenney (technical breakdown).

Pat Healy is a rejuvenated fighter since dropping to lightweight and his crafty wares were on full display against Maximo Blanco at last Saturday's Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov event.

Maxi, a touted overseas prospect making his promotional debut, posed a complex match up. His trademark style is the whirling violence of his wildly aggressive striking, but Blanco, who snared the bronze medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2007 Pan American games, backs it up with solid wrestling credentials.

The colossal base and balance that accompanies high level wrestling or Judo offers certain luxuries in the stand up department. We've seen Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn absolutely broadsided with a takedown attempt while he's in the middle of reeling off a combination, but, even with uncanny timing and set up, his hapless opponents merely bounce off. Daniel Cormier is another example of a fighter who can take more striking risks because of his immovable balance.

Blanco capitalizes on his wrestling foundation by going berserk on the feet while still maintaining a formidable semblance of takedown defense. This was the puzzle that Pat Healy had to solve to exploit his submission grappling advantage, and his creative solution is the exact reason why terms like "Fight IQ" and "cage experience" are salient.

Healy was able to secure a few takedowns previously, but wasn't entirely successful in keeping Blanco restrained. After Healy hit a body lock takedown against the fence, Blanco once again scampered adroitly to his knees and posted an arm to stand back up.

At this point, Healy's cunning, split-second decision to hook Blanco's posted right arm and trap it between his legs sparked the fuse to his victory. Healy created an array of advantages with this one strategic maneuver: he eliminated Blanco's ability to scramble free, locked him into a grappling match and forced him to defend the assault with only one arm.

Bloody Elbow's Kid Nate wants to remind everyone that this is not the first time such a choke has been seen.


Breakdown by Patrick Tenney

What we saw in the Healy-Blanco bout was aggression against technique as Pat Healy survived the blitzkrieg of strikes (not all of which were entirely legal) by Maximo Blanco. Once Healy was able to turn the tide in this fight and establish his wrestling game against Blanco we saw his jiu-jitsu acumen come out even stronger than in previous fights, no doubt because of his training camp involving B.J. Penn.

Specifically what we saw Healy going for after takedowns was to initiate a crucifix position by threatening the far arm with a kimura whenever Blanco had his back turned on the ground making Blanco base back up on his close arm in order to stand (leaving it open to hook with the legs to start the crucifix). The first instance of this in the fight ended up with Blanco escaping by rotating towards Healy on the ground in order to save his neck from the forearm pressure being applied to his adams apple; the second time... not so much.

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Healy starts the finishing sequence off using an over under takedown to which Blanco scrambles back up onto his knees trying to get the fight back to the feet. Healy uses the over/under arm positioning he secured in the takedown to establish a deep grip with his left arm, threatening the kimura on Blanco's left; Blanco uses the opportunity given to stand up and shoot his hips backwards to try and knock Healy off and to the front and then falls into the trap.

The left arm being occupied by the kimura attempt is unable to aid Blanco in standing up, with Healy's weight hanging off of him he's forced to use his right arm to base on in order to rise to his feet, Pat waits for this and hooks the arm with his right leg bringing it back and trapping it while locking his ankles to keep the arm secured.

Blanco's only got a few options to go for in this position, he can try to maintain Healy's weight and potentially have his arm taken, he can try to get to the cage and use it to pry Healy off, or he can try to forward roll and rotate his body in order to potentially come back on top of Healy if Healy cannot maintain control of both arms. Maximo
opts for that third option but Healy is able to hang on despite the roll. When Maximo rolls you can see Healy secure the far arm and hold it backwards, taking Blanco's ability to rotate it out after the roll.

From here Healy has Blanco's back and Blanco is left with only one arm to fight off any choke attempts by Healy (a'la B.J. Penn's style of trying to remove an arm from the fight using his legs whenever he has an opponents back); this allows Healy to snake the right forearm under Maximo's throat and establish a palm grip to start clamping down on
Blanco's neck, not so much applying the traditional blood style choke of the RNC but more forcing the tap due to crushing the trachea/adams apple are of the neck which is incredibly painful. Blanco tries hard to get the back of his head off of Healy and onto the mat so the choke cannot be applied and Healy would be forced to take a side control position but Healy's grip is too tight and the squeeze is setting in tight.

Pat Healy may have attributed his crucifix choke technique to his training with B.J. Penn, calling it "the new taking the back" however this technique has been an integral part of another great jiu-jitsu competitors game for quite a while, none other than Marcelo Garcia.

You can see here Marcelo rolling with Ben Askren at Marcelo's academy in NYC, he uses this same technique at the following time marks: 4 minutes, 5 minutes, and 6 minutes 20 seconds

Also, you'll notice in Marcelo Garcia's New Game Jiu Jitsu 4 that he has an entire section devoted to the crucifix following his omoplata and guillotine game sections, below is a small sample of Marcelo teaching the crucifix from side control:


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