Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
One of the main reasons that martial arts and combat sports has evolved so quickly in the last couple of decades is our ability to watch fights and see what works and what doesn’t. We can apply the techniques and tactics that have proven successful and disregard the ones that have proven futile.
With the Khabib vs Connor fight, there were a lot of technical takeaways that we can apply to our own training tactics and principals.
One of the most important advantages Khabib brought to the match was his ability to keep an opponent on the ground. And when the opponent attempts to get back up to the feet, his skill level of re-grounding is off the chart. In BJJ we know the importance of getting the fight to the ground, but far to often we forget that outside of a normal grappling class, most opponents are going to try to get back to their feet. The skill of keeping it on the ground is crucial, not only for Khabib, but for all grapplers.
Khabib also showed us the con’s with using ground and pound.
When the Russian had Connor on the canvas, he put a tremendous amount of body pressure on the Irish man with little to no space given. That lack of space hinders most positional escapes. But in order to effectively strike on the ground, you must sacrifice that pressure and positional control, so every time Khabib went to give a pounding Connor was able to hip escape and get into a slightly better position. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use ground and pound, but use it carefully while being ready for their movement reactions. Striking inside the guard and half guard seemed to give a lot more positional stability then mount or side control.
Another takeaway that has been realized in BJJ gyms for the last decade, but was highlighted in this fight’s highlight real is that tucking the chin may save yourself from getting choked, but also leaves you very vulnerable to a jaw breaking squeeze. It’s a simple, yet super effective technique that combos very well with the rear naked choke. Instead of spending a whole round fighting to slip under their chin, you can just take their chin along for the ride.
There are few better examples of how a grappler should fight a strong striker. The threat of the takedowns kept Connor hesitant to strike until the fight went to the ground at Khabib’s will. And once there, it stayed there. The methodical advancement inch by inch and physical pressure by the Russian put Connor in a no win situation. Mercy came only after McGregor admitted defeat by the simple gesture of tapping. Enjoy the fights as a fan, but also re-watch the fights as a martial artist looking to learn from others mistakes and success. Take these concepts and apply them to your training. See you on the mat.
In his newest release from BJJ Fanatics “How to Pass Guards Quickly and Easily” , Grappling superstar Craig Jones shows his favorite methods to pass the trickiest guards out there by using his leg lock prowess and set ups to make the guard pass more likely.