by Gene Kobilansky on The FlowAthletics Blog
In today’s feature let’s take a look at Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson, UFC 144.
In this category of posts, I take one great fight (recent, or historic) and break down a single technique from that fight. This was a really great, back and forth battle between two of UFC's lightweights at the top of their game. I was disappointed to see Frankie lose, but either way, really enjoyed the high pace both fighters brought. Here we see Edgar try to use a wrestler's stand up to prevent a Henderson takedown.
Check out the full fight in UFC's free fight videos. Definitely worth watching, not sure how long it'll be up though.
Although often-times dangerous to attempt in MMA because it can expose your back, the stand up can be useful in certain situations to get the fight back to the feet quickly. Frankie seizes a good moment to execute the standup; as you can see in the still below. Bensons hips are low and his feet aren't under him, it's very unlikely Henderson can switch to BJJ harness control and take Frankie's back.
Parts of the techniques are executed very well:
1. Get to your feet
Frankie plants his inside foot on the ground, gets his hips under him and stands up very quickly. It's important to be explosive with this technique, especially when the RNC is a threat. Here's an awkward looking machine that helps you develop explosive standups.
2. Attack the hands
Getting to your feet quickly can be for naught if your opponent, like Henderson, keeps his hands locked around your waist and quickly mat returns you. Eddie does a good job attacking the hands at first (as you can see in the still above). Unfortunately, he abandons the hand fight too early. Which brings me to ...
What can be done better?
1. Get hand control
Eddie doesn't quite break Benson's grip. He does a good job of using both his hands to attack 1 of Benson's hands, but bails on it too early. For contrast, here's a video that focuses specifically on breaking the grip for a standup.
2. Separate your hips
If your hips are too close to your opponent, it's very easy for him to re-attack and secure the mat return before full separation. Bensons re-attacks and that's exactly what happens to Frankie. Here's two time NCAA champ Joe Dubuque showing the importance of back pressure and hip separation. Please note: the way Joe flairs and drops to the mat in the end is useful in wrestling, but can be more dangerous in MMA (you could eat a knee or uppercut on the way down).
3. Cut inside
Finally, after abandoning the hand fight, Frankie tries to face Benson without cutting inside. Instead Frankie reaches OVER Benson's head, Benson reestablishes his grip, drives in and returns Frankie to the mat with a hard body lock.
What we should see here is Frankie's left arm slice between him and Benson to create space and block the re-attack. Take a look at the Joe Dubuque video above, around the :35 second mark, for an example of how the arm moves between Joe and his opponent.
What did you think of this technique post? I plan to do a lot more of them, so let me know in the comments what techniques you’d like to see, if you’d prefer a different format or anything else…
And don't forget to checkout the previous posts: