I, like 100% of the Bloody Elbow staff, predicted that Ian McCall would start where he left off with Demetrious Johnson and use his power orientated wrestling to stifle DJ's speed in order to grind out a decision win. Alas, it was not to be so. The fight played out glaringly similar to their first encounter in the early goings, with Mighty Mouse using his agility, footwork, feints, and crisp boxing to steal the first round, and McCall finding success with his power doubles and throws from the body lock in the second. It was Johnson who rewrote the script in the third, keeping the fight standing, planting McCall on his backside, and nullifying McCall's in fighting game against the cage. Kenny Florian attributed this success, and Dj's victory as a whole, to how he managed to halt McCall's wrestling game. I find that the real reason for Mighty Mouse's seemingly impermeable take down defense in the third is far simpler and much more minute than that- constant wrist and bicep control, almost exclusively on Uncle Creepy's left arm.
I first noticed Johnson employing this technique early in the second round when McCall had managed to bull rush Johnson into the cage and secure a takedown. In the ensuing scramble, DJ found himself turtled-up on all fours, with McCall on top and in perfect position to take his back.
But when McCall attempted to explode into a transition, he found his progress abruptly halted. DJ had latched onto McCall's wrist the moment it had come into view, and he refused to let go. No matter how hard Creepy swung his arm or how far he attempted to reach it back, DJ refused to let go. This technique brought McCall's transition attempt to an abrupt stop, and provided Johnson with a way back to his feet. For the rest of the second round Johnson continued to utilize this clever hand trap, albeit not so obviously as on McCalls first takedown. Every time Demetrious found himself against the cage, he would employ the wrist/bicep control one of two ways:
when McCall had DJ pressed against the cage- When this occurred, Johnson would immediately grab the wrist of Creepy`s weaker arm with his dominant hand ( secured McCall`s left with his right), extend McCall`s arm out and back, and use the new found leverage to circle off of the cage.
When Demetrious had Ian against the cage- Here, Johnson would immediately look to grab and plaster McCall`s bicep against the cage. This would open up the whole side of McCall to a methodical stream of knees, and allowed DJ to break off the clinch whenever he saw fit without the threat of McCall grabbing a hold of him.
While this tiny technique slowed the grappling assault of McCall in the second, it completely shut it down in the Third. When the bell for the final frame sounded, McCall came out with the same unbridled desperation that he had shown in their first fight. He aggressively moved forward and stalked Johnson down, and consistently lunged forward and shoved him against the cage. It was this position that had led to McCall securing a body lock slam or dropping for a powerful double leg take down in the first fight. But this time around, Johnson prevented McCall from securing even ONE take down in the final five minutes. The moment McCall grabbed a hold of DJ, Johnson would secure McCall's left wrist. Uncle Creepy couldn't drop down and connect his hands for a take down. He couldn't squirm in another undertook. He couldn't attain a body lock. He couldn't even punch DJ with his free hand without allowing Johnson to disengage from the clinch. McCall was utterly helpless, and without an answer to this simple trick.
On four separate occasions in the third McCall found himself pressed up against Johnson on the cage, poised to take the fight to the ground. And on four separate occasions(at roughly 4:15, 2:15, 1:15, and 0:45) he was thwarted by the wrist control imposed on his arm by Mighty Mouse. Unable to capitalize on his size and wrestling prowess at close quarters, McCall was gradually chewed up and warn down by Johnson in the stand up, and went on to lose a decision. It is my opinion that, had DJ not employed this technique in the clinch, McCall would have secured as many takedowns as he needed, and would have most likely gone on to win a split decision.
This simple move employed by Demetrious Johnson had me shaking my head in exasperation at the tv the entire fight, and left me very impressed with Mighty Mouses game plan and discipline. My hat is off to Matt Hume, and I hope to see many more fighters utilize this variation of wrist/bicep control in the future.