UFC 228 is in the books and this was a surprisingly entertaining card. I expected Tyron Woodley to win but was also slightly worried that Till would be too big for the champ. However, the size difference did not seem to intimidate Woodley, who took the fight to Till, imposed his will and won the fight in a sniper-like fashion. This was a very impressive performance by Woodley.
If that was not enough, this card featured not one, but two “Suloev stretch” submissions. If you follow BloodyElbow you probably know that this submission has been extensively analyzed in previous posts (link 1 and link 2).
Before we proceed with a technical breakdown of this card here are some quick notes:
- Lucie Pudilová vs Irene Aldana was an all-out war. This was a great exhibition of heart and determination by both fighters.
- Tyron Woodley is a student of the MMA game. He knows that the threat of a takedown can help a fighter “catch” even the best of strikers. When a fighter’s mind is distracted from getting ready to sprawl or underhook, striking defense goes out the window. In order for this to work, a fighter needs to “sell” the takedown so that it becomes a legit threat.
- Jéssica Andrade has a great chin and power for a strawweight. To beat her, an opponent needs to avoid fighting in the pocket (unless she has a strong Thai plum), use knees to the head and elbows. She also needs to be careful when disengaging as Andrade keeps punching in a relentless fashion. Another way to beat such an opponent is to fight from a distance while cutting angles like Joanna did during their fight.
- Abdul Razak Alhassan made quick work of Niko Price. Aggressive fighters with power and a solid chin are tough to beat, even with good footwork. One way to disrupt their momentum is to use the clinch and get takedowns. Fighters need to study GSP’s game in order to employ such tactics and a good place to start is my article Strikes to Takedowns: A breakdown of George St-Pierre’s game here on BE.
- Jim Miller and Diego Sanchez should not fight in the early prelims section of this card. They are both exciting fighters and they have earned a better spot in UFC cards.
That being said let’s examine how UFC fighters got the job done this past weekend. This is UFC 228: Moves to Remember
Fight: Geoff Neal vs. Frank Camacho
Description: I do not recommend attacking with inside low kicks with the back foot against and opponent in an opposing stance. However, one way to land such kicks is to set them up with punches. It is also important for fighters to kick from a distance. In this clip Frank Camacho is too close to his opponent, throws a right inside low kick and pays for it with a right jab and a left cross from Geoff Neal
Fight: Jimmie Rivera vs. John Dodson
Description: This is a better application of a right low kick attack with the back foot. I call this a “stop-hit,” or striking your opponents when they initiate their attacks. John Dodson launches a left cross and Jimmie Rivera kicks his leg at the same time, thus dropping him down. Great timing!
Description: John Dodson touches Jimmie Rivera’s front hand in order to check the distance and attacks with a left high kick. Rivera pulls back, loads weight on his back foot and explodes forward, thus catching Dodson with a jab.
Fight: Aljamain Sterling vs. Cody Stamann
Description: This was a great back-and-forth fight and both fighters were very technical. In this clip Aljamain Sterling is in a southpaw stance and attacks with with a left high kick followed by a right overhand right, thus taking advantage of his momentum as he lands his kicking foot on the floor. This is a great kick-to-punch combination.
Description: This is the first Suloev stretch submission of the card. Aljamain Sterling tried this against Renan Barao but the Brazilian was able to escape. I will not waste your time with detailed descriptions this time around. Here is Aljamain Sterling explaining the technique in detail:
Fight: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis
Description: Here is the second Suloev stretch submission, this time applied by Zabit Magomedsharipov. He was able to get a better stretch than Sterling. Being tall for the weight class helps in getting submissions like this.
Description: In this clip, Zabit moves sideways as if he is about to launch a sidekick with his front foot and places his left calf behind his opponent’s front foot. At the same time, he traps Davis’ left hand and trips his opponent by executing a beautiful sweep.
This is a somewhat risky move as Zabit himself failed the first time he tried it in this fight. Fighters should also be ready to get an underhook and secure top position in order to avoid letting their opponents get their back. Keep in mind that opponents can also counter-sweep with the same move from this position.
Fight: Tyron Woodley vs. Darren Till
Description: Tyron closes the distance with a right cross and Till is a able to change levels and duck under. Woodley’s follow-up counter is an ideal way to get the clinch from punches that miss their target.
As Woodley’s right hand moves back after the punch, he is able to grab Till’s neck and get a Thai plum control. This enables him to attack with a knee. Daren tries to pummel and get the plum himself but Woodley goes for a double leg takedown. Tyron fails to get the takedown but is able to eventually get double underhooks.
I loved how Woodley was able to transition from failed takedowns (which is a dangerous position), to double underhooks again and again, throughout the course of the fight.
Description: Daren Till is a karate-style puncher. If you examine the photos above you will notice that he drops his back/left hand when he throws a right jab. He also punches with his thumb up, in a manner similar to that of Kung Fu stylists. Tyron just pulls back and slips to the left as he lands a right hand that drops Till. Great punch by the champ!
Description: Woodley uses a D’arce choke from top half-guard to submit Daren Till. Tyron is able to get an overhook and use it to control Till’s bottom hand in order to land elbows. As Daren keeps hiding his head in order to avoid taking damage, Tyron is able to slide the overhook hand under his opponent’s neck. In this position, if fighters can see their hand from the top (photo 3) the submission is ready for the taking. This was a great setup from the champ. Please watch the video bellow for a detailed explanation of the technique.
That will be all for now. Please join me soon for a pre-fight breakdown of the upcoming mega-fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. For a list of my previous technique breakdowns on Bloody Elbow, check out this link.
About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).