In MMA, the cage could be your best friend or your worst enemy. For MMA fighters with a strong wrestling or grappling base, the cage can be used to put pressure on their opponent and switch to a takedown so that they can finish the fight with some devastating ground and pound. However, the sturdiness of the cage could also prove to be a challenge when finishing a takedown, as many fighters often use it for support. Unfortunately for these fighters, escaping the grinding pressure and chain of attacks skilled wrestlers and grapplers have could prove to be difficult.
Today, Evolve Daily shares 4 concepts wrestlers and grapplers use in order to effectively takedown their opponent against the fence:
1) The set-up
Like all takedowns, you must be able to set it up properly. In MMA, the most common way to set up a takedown is by throwing strikes. After all, shooting blindly for a takedown would simply telegraph your next move and give your opponent the opportunity to figure out a counter.
Here are some important points to consider when setting up your takedown:
- Are you at an arm’s length distance of your opponent?
- Are you prepared for the next move, should your opponent decide to counter?
You must always be at an arm’s length distance from your opponent. This will allow you to easily land those strikes so he can cover up, stop moving, and give you space for the takedown. If your striking doesn’t work and your opponent counters with some punches of his own, you can slip or parry his punches and then shoot for the takedown.
2) Be prepared for the strikes
You’re in an MMA fight. Yes, your opponent will strike or try to take you down and submit you or strike again. You must be able to work on your striking defense so you can shoot for your takedown. You can also wait for your opponent to over commit, then go underneath his strikes and go for the takedown.
3) Use pressure
If there’s one thing that wrestlers and grapplers do best, it’s using pressure. After shooting in for a takedown, a wrestler or grappler will usually pin his opponent against the fence. Although the cage will make it difficult for him to move, he will still try to slip out to the side. You can put pressure on your opponent and pin him up against the cage by shifting your weight from side to side, using leverage, your head, hips and shoulder in his jaw, head, diaphragm and hips to immobilize him.
4) Link your attacks
Of course, you should always link your attacks in the cage. In this video, Olympic wrestler, 6x US National Wrestling Champion and Evolve Fight Team Head Coach Heath Sims demonstrates 5 Basic Takedowns Against The Fence. Notice how Heath links his takedowns based on his opponent’s reactions. When your opponent blocks your first takedown, you must quickly secure the next takedown as you react to his counter.
As you can see in the video, you can switch off between the double leg and single leg attacks. If the opponent spreads their legs wide, this creates a strong base, making the double leg hard to finish. From here, you can switch off and attack the single leg. Often times, your opponent will use the cage to support their weight and establish a really strong base. You can combat this by pulling the opponent off the cage wall towards the center of the cage. It is often easier to finish a takedown in open space where the opponent doesn’t have the cage to fall back on and support them.
As with all new techniques, you should drill with a partner using minimal resistance before using these takedowns in the cage. By adapting these concepts into your training repertoire, you’ll eventually be able to take your opponent down and bring the fight into your control.