This was the fight that has temporarily turned my father against mixed martial arts.
His perspective on all sports has always been one bizarre combination of old school grumpiness, grudging approval of spectacular athletic feats and a relentlessly cynical view of backstage machinations designed to coddle the masses, but this terrific fight from Bellator 62 put him over the edge - at least for a while. It was only recently that he actually began watching the occasional MMA event with me and my group of friends and he is still very much a novice to grappling or full contact striking. After letting him cool down, I found out recently that he felt that the visually intense, arm-breaking kimura was too much to handle, the lack of concern or context the commentary crew showed for the injury made for disrespect of the dignity of Patricky Freire and that Lloyd Woodward was a jerk for celebrating that much.
Despite being tempted to show him the bout between Shinya Aoki and Mizuto Hirota, I decided to write a third Judo Chop explaining how this arm-break was both similar to and different from the famous kimura Frank Mir applied on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Hopefully, this helps to bring him and other fledgling
Due to Bellator's media savvy and willingness to post video of the fight for all to consume, I will only use one GIF and cue the video at specific times in various sections of the analysis.
Way back in the actual Mir/Nog Judo Chop (sadly GIF-less now due to matters beyond my pay grade), I wrote a short round-up of the kimura:
The basic mechanics to operate this specific submission have been known for quite a while. Catch as catch can wrestlers call this the double wristlock or keylock. Judoka call it the reverse ude garami. Brazilian jiu jitsu players mostly call this submission the "kimura", after Masahiko Kimura famously snapped multiple bones in Helio Gracie's arm in a challenge match held in 1951. The various grappling arts know of this submission and how it forces a near-Hobson's choice of "tap or snap" upon the person within the hold by exerting extreme torque on the upper arm.
The idea of this submission is to isolate one arm of the opponent and force it into a right angle, by gripping it at the wrist with the same side hand and weaving the opposite side hand behind the upper arm to clamp onto the wrist of the same side hand to form a style of grip called the figure four. The kimura uses the discomfort, pain and threat of a broken bone or elbow to force a submission. Due to the mechanics of having a two-on-one grip, the kimura is a very common fight-ender or a crucial step in a chain of submissions and can force a drastic change in position as they defend. Of course, an opponent who resists too long and without success in escaping can have the trapped arm broken or damaged in some fashion.
Dave Camarillo, the highly renowned grappling coach out in the Bay Area, mentioned briefly his conviction that this is the best offensive/controlling grip possible in jiu jitsu. The evidence of my own grappling experience, watching high-level jiu jitsu players and seeing the same things happen in mixed martial arts is starting to bear him out.
What is interesting about this particular kimura set-up is that Woodard had gone for a similar move in the first round at the 0:46 second mark to no avail. Patricky is in the top half guard position and looking to break through and start dealing out damage. Woodard decides that he wants to go on the offensive and gets the two-on-one grip from the bottom of half guard. Patricky defends by straightening his back upwards and shoving his arm forwards and away from Woodard's head. Freire cannot quite free his arm, so he decides to start working his own kimura and Woodard defends by clamping the arm to his side. The video below is set to play at the specific moment Cupcake goes for the kimura. You can pause it or take in the full fight again if you like.
What changed between the first round and the second round was the massive knee Lloyd landed on Patricky, as Freire shot in for a telegraphed single leg takedown. It was not quite the same degree of ferocity that the knee James Vick used to KO Daron Cruikshank in an early episode of The Ultimate Fighter, but it put Patricky into tweety-bird land for sure.
Oh heck, enjoy the Vick/Cruikshank GIF.
Again, the video below is cued to start just before the Knee of Bad Tidings.
The video has a tough angle to see the impact, but Woodard can clearly be seen using the two-handed Muay Thai plum clinch to deliver a knee straight to the noggin of Freire as Patricy slowly moves in for the leg. Displaying admirable strength of will, Patricky keeps the leg under his control and tries to survive. Woodard tosses him to the ground and looks to punch Freire out. After a surprisingly plausible armbar attempt for a dazed and confused fighter, Patricky's guard is passed and Cupcake is in side control. Here is where the technical stuff starts to really shine for Woodard.
Side control offers many options for submissions or dealing out damage. We saw last week how Brent Weedman used it to get the ultra-rare Von Flue choke on J.J. Ambrose and countless other fighters have won with other submissions, punches or knees from the versatile position. For Woodard, the kimura is what he wants and he immediately begins setting it up from the top.
First, the two-on-one grip is established. Woodard pushes down the left wrist of Freire with his right arm and circles his left arm behind the left arm of Freire. As soon as Lloyd touches his left hand to his own right wrist, he widens his base by stepping his left knee up next to the head of Freire. This allows Woodard to turn Patricky onto his right side and further isolates the left arm. Patricky has his arm somewhat straight in a quasi-defensive manner, but he is slowly scrambling to get free as Woodard works. The confusion from the knee is preventing Freire from doing the normal cat and mouse game that defending a kimura usually is (straightening the arm, fending off the straight armbar, trying to bring a knee or the other hand to help out and resisting the posture changes, while slowly inching towards freedom).
As soon as Patricky is on his side, Lloyd goes whole hog and triangles Patricky's head while falling backwards. This is somewhat unusual as most grapplers like to maintain that top crucifix or side control position during the kimura, as to hedge their bets if the opponent escapes.
Woodard nearly loses the arm as Patricky rolls and uses the position change to straighten his arm some and then rip it backwards. Fortunately, the wrist control stays stuck fast and Woodard re-establishes the figure four lock as he flips Freire over once more. At this point, it is a contest of strength and since Lloyd has the top position and two arms fighting against the one arm of Patricky, he wins the short battle. Kerrrrunch!
This GIF comes from IronForgesIron.
Fortunately, Patricky reported in a few days later saying that the injury was not as severe as the broken humerus that Big Nog suffered. Freire expects to be back in training within six weeks, according to his Twitter.
By then, Lloyd Woodard will have fought Rick Hawn to determine who moves on to the finals of the Season Six Lightweight Tournament to face the winner of Brent Weedman and Thiago Michel. This should be a terrific set of semi-finals to watch and I bet my father will come around by then to an uneasy peace with MMA. Failing that, I will actually show him Aoki/Hirota and see how he reacts to that.