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UFC 168 Judo Chops of Ronda Rousey Part II: Picture Perfect Harai Goshi

T.P. Grant continues his look at Ronda Rousey's Judo clinch from UFC 168 with her Harai Goshi throw of Miesha Tate.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

In the first part of this series I looked at how UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey used the Uchi-Mata to counter the outside trips of the challenger Miesha Tate in the first round of their UFC 168 bout. We now move to the second round where Rousey hit a perfect Harai Goshi, or "Sweeping Hip Throw".

The Harai Goshi is a form of hip throw were the outside leg makes a sweeping motion to add momentum to the throw. It is a popular throw for taller Judoka as it can be done without getting the hips lower than their opponents, and results in a very powerful throw.

To allow you get an image of the traditional Harai Goshi, here is a video of 8th dan Sato Tadashi sensei, an instructor at the legendary Kodokan Judo Institute, which was created by Judo founder Jigoro Kano and was the birth place of the art of Judo.

Sato Tadashi is a foremost expert in all things Judo, but his instruction is entirely in Japanese. The entry to the throw is the standard Judo entry, both in grips and footwork and is not our focus. Take note of the tight body contact required for the throw, the minimal contact required by the sweeping leg, and how much of the rotation is the result of strong off balancing with the upper body.

Now clearly Ronda's application of the throw was different in several ways but that is an excellent starting point. Let's take a look - it started with Tate shooting for a takedown.


Here is Tate's shot pictured above, and it is not a good one. Tate appears to have abandoned the outside trip that was getting her in so much trouble in the first round, and she has switched to a blast double leg attempt, but there are serious problems.

First is that Tate has allowed Rousey to dictate the distance. While both fighters landed strikes on the feet, Rousey generally controlled the inside center line with straighter punches while Tate was coming around Ronda's guard with wide hooks. As a result Tate's shot started from way outside, and also she is bent at the waist. Tate has grabbed Rousey's legs but does not have good control of them, and is in effect simply trying to run through Rousey in an attempt to make her fall over.


As Tate attempts to drive trough Rousey, the champion begins to turn, pivoting on her right leg and bringing her left leg across Tate. Also Ronda's left had has grabbed Tate's lat, giving her control over Tate's upper body.

Tate continues to drive forward and bring her head up on Rousey's back, attempting to get a rear waist lock, seemingly unaware of what Rousey is attempting.


Rousey then completes her dramatic turn for the Harai Goshi. Her left arm is now tight, hugging Tate to her back and maintaining that tight body connection required for this throw, as seen in the higher red circle. Rousey's right arm is trapping Tate's left arm tight to her front and you can just see Tate's hard around Ronda's waist. And you can see Ronda's left leg beginning to sweep in the lower red circle.

Then Rousey adds the momentum Tate provided with her continued drive forward and the result...


Gif of the throw in real time and a gif of it in glorious slow motion.

The sweeping leg stops Tate from escaping her hips out to the side and coming around to a clinch with Ronda, the only place left for the momentum to take Tate is over the leg, and with the torque added by Ronda twisting the grips on Tate results in the throw.

In a bit of veteran throwing savvy, Ronda does not attempt to catch her own fall with her left arm and allows her face to impact the mat. While this seems odd, the risk her injuring herself is far higher if she attempts to post her arm to catch herself. So Rousey does what every Judo student is told, she relaxes and takes her fall without posting her arm and is able to land in a near mount position.

It was amazing piece of Judo, set up by some poor technique on Tate's part. The Harai Goshi is a throw that is far more prevalent in MMA, no gi grappling, and wrestling than the Uchi Mata. Many MMA fighters have executed the throw in high-level matches and train it as part of their takedown chains.

So to close with, here is Pro MMA Fighter & Phuket Top Team wrestling coach Andrew Leone teaching throw for MMA.

Failed double leg takedown to Judo throw Harai Goshi with MMA Fighter Andrew Leone @ Phuket Top Team (via Phuket Top Team)


Special thanks to BE's own JudoNerd for his identification of the throw and key details on the Harai Goshi.

Also big thank you to Zombie Prophet for the gifs, and I Iinked one from the Art of Grappling WordPress and their rundown of the Judo Ronda used in the fight as well.

For more MMA analysis, history, technique, and discussion be sure to follow T.P. Grant on Twitter or Facebook.

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