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Judo Chop: UFC's Amir Sadollah Combines Twisting Arm Control With Elbows

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Chan Sung Jung, aka "The Korean Zombie", has gotten most all the love coming out of UFC Fight Night 24, but I wanted to give Amir Sadollah a shout out too. Sadollah used twisting arm control, a very effective control technique dating back to the early days of MMA, to land a barrage of elbows on DaMarques Johnson and end the fight in the second round. 

I've called the move "the gift wrap" in the past, but I'm abandoning that nomenclature as it refers to another hold in BJJ. 

The legendary Rickson Gracie was the first to make use of the position in modern MMA, beating Japanese superstars Yoshihisa Yamamoto and Masakatsu Funaki (Funaki rolled away and gave up his back, leading to rear naked choke) while trapping them in the hold in high profile matches in Japan. 

Here's Bloody Elbow grappling editor K.J. Gould talking about the position:

What Amir does I've heard called a 'Cover Pose'. It's really surprising more people haven't been trapping an arm before going for G'n'P. If you take away an arm that's a block, and then strike that same side especially with elbows, the opponent can't really defend with the other arm because the angle is awkward. You'll get cleaner hits, are more likely to finish the fight, and you can pick your shots rather than go all out and possibly only hit their arms and gas out.

In the full entry we'll look at a couple of gifs, plus a Gracie training video and the Gracie Breakdown on Amir's use of the hold.

SBN coverage of UFC Fight Night 24: Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira


Gifs by BE reader Grappo

10i5jsp_mediumOn the right we see Amir trapping Johnson in the hold. He's already mounted Johnson with his right knee on the ground and he posts up his right foot flat on the ground to prevent Johnson from rolling into guard (Johnson has Amir's right foot trapped between his legs). 

Johnson helpfully has his right arm already wrapped around his head, presumably to ward off the blows he knows will be coming. Amir takes his left hand, reaches behind Johnson's head and grabs Johnson's right wrist. Johnson is not official SOL.

28l9glf_mediumOn the left Amir lands a vicious barrage of right elbows to the face and head of the helpless Johnson. I honestly can't remember a time when I've seen this in MMA before.

Rickson generally fought in Japan where elbows on the ground were verboten, but I'm surprised that I haven't seen anyone else using this combination of controlling hold and brutal elbows before. It's a very efficient way to end a fight. 



Here's the Gracie Breakdown (Amir discussion starts at 4:30)

Here's Ryron and Rener Gracie explain twisting arm control:

Here's a still shot of Rickson Gracie trapping Japanese wrestler Yoshihisa Yamamoto with the twisting arm control at Vale Tudo Japan 1995:


Here's Carlos Newton using the hold against Nabil Khatib in 2009. Photo via Sherdog.