This Judo Chop is by T.P. Grant. Fraser Coffeen has already discussed Rockhold's striking in this fight.
It was common forum fodder in the mid-2000s to debate the merits of cage vs ring as a venue for an MMA match. It was asserted that cages favored grapplers, while rings favored strikers. The reasoning was that grapplers had more space to run in the UFC Octagon and could then pin the striker against the cage. While in a ring the striker could trap the grappler in a corner and punish him with punches and kicks.
But recently as the MMA game has swung back towards the striking arts, fighters have become experts of using the cage to keep fights standing. Using the cage to stand back up has become a vital skill set to a complete MMA fighter.
Luke Rockhold 's victory over Ronaldo Souza was a clinic in using the cage to stand back up, when in the first round Rockhold set the tone of the fight stopping all of Souza's attempts to grapple and wearing the champion down.
Gifs by BE reader Grappo.
Here is an early takedown attempt of the night by Jacare, he is in deep and Rockhold is against the cage sprawling. Jacare attempts to rotate around Rockhold and pitch the challenger forward and Rockhold uses the most basic of standing up techniques. He again angles his back to the cage and posts and hand the mat. He is able to use the cage and his hand to balance and establish a wide base against the cage.
Thirty seconds later Rockhold again finds himself on the mat with Jacare. The champion is low on Rockholdand does not yet have control of the American, and Rockhold is doing a good job of keeping his back off the ground. The American is attempting to scoot his way back towards the fence, to prevent from Jacare pinning him down. Jacare feels Rockhold attempting to worm his way towards the cage and tries to step over to interpose himself between Rockhold and the cage and flatten the challenger out. Rockhold hooks his left hand on Jacare's inner thigh and prevents him from stepping over and is able to back towards the fence.
Once Rockhold's back touches the fence, he posts a hand on the mat and fights to free his left leg. Once his leg begins to slip free Jacare begins throwing punches, which allows Rockhold to get his left knee on the mat.
Jacare's punches allow Rockhold to get to his knees, he them attempts a Uchi Mata from the knees. While Jacare does not end up on his back, the takedown attempt forces Jacare to get his hips back from Rockhold, allowing the challenger to stand. Important to note, is that throughout this sequence Rockhold uses the cage to maintain his balance and posture while Jacare drives into him, with out the cage there Jacare would be driving right through Rockhold and putting him on his back.
Here again towards the mid-point of the round, we find Rockhold on the mat with his back to the cage in the sitting position. This time Jacare is attempt to scoop up the legs and suck Rockhold's hips away from the cage. Jacare has realized that separating Rockhold from the cage is key to getting him down. Rockhold brings his left arm up to crossface Jacare, and as Jacare begins to punch, Rockhold uses the opening to get to his knees and get his hips against the fence.
Jacare attempted to trap a leg but Rockhold is able to post an arm, turn his back and wall walk away from Jacare. He consistently used the sitting against the cage position and posting of the arm on the mat to set up his escape back the feet. After the first round, Jacare's takedown attempts became weaker and fewer and Rockhold was able to impose his will on the Champion.