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UFC 139 Judo Chop! - Chris Weidman Puts Tom Lawlor to Sleep with a D'Arce Choke

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This is a collaborative effort by KJ Gould and Patrick Tenney of the BE Grappling Coverage Team. KJ Gould wrote the introduction, and Patrick Tenney wrote the analysis.

At UFC 139, Middleweight prospect Chris Weidman continued his undefeated streak by easily handling The Ultimate Fighter veteran Tom Lawlor, putting him to sleep in the first round via a D'Arce choke.

Nicknamed after Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach and competitor Joe D'Arce, the choke goes by many other names; Brabo choke, Three Quarter Choke and Reverse Arm Triangle are just some of the ones I've heard. The move's popularity comes from a fighter's ability to seemingly hit it from almost any position. It also helps that as a strangle (IE a 'blood choke') it's one of the most efficient moves to rely on since pain tolerance or being able to hold your breath becomes irrelevant. Strangles don't care how tough you are, you're passing out regardless.

Chris Weidman is clearly benefiting from the coaching of Matt Serra and Ray Longo, but also his Wrestling background has helped make for an easier transition into the submission aspect of fighting and it's refreshing to see a Wrestler more actively go for a finish rather than stall. When Weidman turned Lawlor over in their fight, he essentially used a Three-Quarter Nelson to do so further illustrating how Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu can often compliment each other.

After the jump Patrick Tenney breaks down the sequence of events that lead to Weidman's win, illustrated by animated gifs.


Gifs by BE reader Grappo.


The first thing to know about a D'Arce choke is that it's an offensive counter to a sloppy underhook.

Lawlor in this image can be seen underhooking around Weidman's body but keeping his arm relatively low and across the lower back and without turning his wrist (which would turn his elbow up and keep a D'Arce grip from being initiated). Once Weidman feels that underhook going across his back he shoots his overhook deep and under Lawlor's neck, then makes a bicep grip using his other arm to lock in the choke control.

Once the grip is established you can see Weidman turn Lawlor using head control and then base out on top of the trapped arm. In basing out he's applying downward pressure on the arm/shoulder by sprawling and pushing his chest into the choke as well, decreasing the amount of space between the trapped arm and the neck (thus applying more pressure to the carotid artery and increasing the chokes effectiveness). Lawlor starts to defend well by outstretching his arm to try and create some breathing room and push Weidman's hips away so Lawlor can get back to his knees and attempt to get out of the position, Weidman uses the cage though, pushing off with his feet so Lawlor can't get back to his knees.


Once Weidman starts to think he can't finish because of Lawlor's arm positioning he turns his body in towards Lawlor and loops a leg over to create a mounted D'Arce position. Turning into Lawlor and applying a new angle of pressure to the choke by pulling the head down into the choke and closing off the artery (a'la a triangle choke) ends up defeating Lawlor's effort to create space and shortly afterwards Lawlor goes out.

The major lesson here is that if you're going to underhook an opponent you need to bring that underhook up high and turn your arm outwards or you need to underhook tight and low while keeping your head inside to avoid the overhook being pushed through.

Perfect execution by Weidman and he really showed his skill by not giving up on the choke and instead adjusting the positioning to apply more pressure.