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MMA Cage Fighting Techniques

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MMA Cage Fighting Techniques

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Butterfly Guard
Fighter on bottom has placed their feet inside their opponent’s legs near groin area. Knees are held high to prevent passing of the guard.

Can Opener
Used to open the closed guard of your opponent by pulling on the head bringing it towards the chest area. Can be a submission only if the fighter on the bottom refuses to open their guard.

Closed Guard
Most common defensive position seen on the ground. Fighter on bottom has wrapped legs around their opponent’s waist and has crossed their feet.

A technique that is used to control an opponent’s arms by the use of your legs and arms. Can be a submission hold when applied as a neck crank. Usually used to control a fighter’s arms in a ground and pound attack.

Double Ankle Sweep from Guard
From the guard the top fighter stands up. The bottom fighter drops their closed guard and grabs the standing fighter’s ankles. The bottom fighter pinches knees together, lowers their hips and pushes the standing fighter over following the movement in to a top position.

Double Underhooks
Wrapping both arms under your opponents arms. Usually has connection of the hands for takedown attempt.

Elevator Sweep
From guard position bottom fighter hooks inside of opponents leg with their foot. Fighter then pulls opponent towards them while lifting with hooked leg. Opponent is rolled over the shoulder area to complete the sweep.

Half Guard Escape to single leg
Bottom fighter uses an underhook to pull themselves into and under their opponent off balancing the opponent. Bottom fighter moves to their knees and continues into a single leg takedown.

Half Guard
Position of fighting when the bottom fighter controls only one leg of the top fighter with their legs.

Hip Over Sweep
Used from guard position. Fighter traps opponents post arm, elevates hips and rotates opponent over landing in mount position.

Dominant position where the top fighter has straddled the bottom fighter with their legs.

North – South
Both fighters are on the ground. Fighter on the bottom is facing up, while the fighter on top is facing down. The fighters’ feet will be facing opposite directions.

Open Guard
Fighter on the bottom has not closed his legs around the waist of their opponent. Hip movement is key.

Wrapping the arms over the top of your opponents arms.

Muay Thai technique used to control the head with both hands clasped around the neck area.

Rear Mount
The most dominant position in MMA. The fighter who has the back will have his legs hooked into his opponents’ pelvic area or will triangle their opponent’s body to control position.

Scissor Sweep
Used from the guard position bottom fighter traps post arm, brings one leg up high the other leg low and scissor kicks the legs together while pulling on opponents trapped arm.

Side Control
Dominant position of fighting where the top fighter has cleared the legs of the bottom fighter and is now off to one side on top of their opponent.

Wrapping the arm under your opponents arm and around the shoulder area or torso.

Performed by using both legs against opponent’s one leg crossing feet similar to an X. Arms attack opponents other leg attempting to off balance the fighter.


Also known as a “Key Lock” attacks the shoulder area. Usually performed in a cross body or mount position. Athlete must control their opponent’s head position while keeping the arm bent at a 90 degree angle.

Anaconda Choke
Started from North / South position athlete moves hand from neck area to far side of opponent and wraps hand into opposing elbow and then rolls his opponent bringing his hips towards opponent’s hips tightening the hold.

Ankle Lock from back control
Usually seen when a fighter takes the back and then crosses their feet, their opponent can ankle lock them by using his legs to cross over the ankle and foot and then extends and arches the hip area.

Ankle Lock
Attacks the ankle joint and athlete uses his arms and torso to apply pressure to the ankle.

Arm Triangle
Performed by trapping an opponent’s arm against their own neck. The head is used to control the arm while the arms are wrapped around the opponent’s neck and arm. Performed correctly the action intensifies when the athlete moves to an approximate 60 degree angle from their opponent.

A straight arm lock technique that attacks the elbow hyper-extending the joint.

Bar Arm Choke
Used by placing the blade of the forearm against the throat and pulling straight back.

Darce Choke
Performed the opposite of the Anaconda Choke, the arm starts from the opponent’s side and moves up along the neck area and wraps into the opposing elbow.

Double Armbar
Attacks both arms simultaneously. Performed from the guard position, the athlete brings their legs up high around their opponents back and neck area trapping both arms. Athlete extends hips while controlling their opponent’s wrists.

Eziquel or Front Choke
Performed by placing the blade of the forearm across the neck area and grabbing the arm to fulcrum the leverage down into the throat area to create the choke.

A choke hold usually performed from the guard position. The shin is brought across the opponent’s neck while one arm moves under the leg and meets up with the other arm to pull down on the opponents head.

Guillotine Choke
Straight-arm choke used when facing an opponent. Usually performed from standing or guard position.

Head & Arm, Arm Lock
Performed from side control the fighter uses their legs to control the opponents arm. The maneuver masks the movements of the straight arm bar, only utilizing the legs.

Head & Arm Shoulder Lock
Performed from side control the fighter uses their legs to control their opponents arm. The maneuver masks the movements of the Kimura, only utilizing the legs.

Heel Hook
Attacks the knee joint. Set up in a similar fashion to the ankle lock, the fighter positions their opponent’s foot down past their side and the heel just outside the crook of their elbow. The fighter then applies leverage by pulling the heel towards their nose.

Inverted Heel Hook
Set up in a similar fashion the straight heel hook applies pressure by rotating the heel towards the inside. The inverted heel hook applies the rotation of the heel to the outside Knee Bar. Attacks the knee joint in the same fashion as the Armbar attacks the elbow joint.

Kimura / Double Wrist Lock
Attacks the shoulder. Can be performed from either side while standing or on the ground. Arm needs to be bent at approximately 90 degrees at the elbow with the arm being moved from the athlete’s waist towards their head.  [This submission is also known as ude garami “entagled armlock” in Japanese (Judo)].

Knee Bar

Attacks the knee joint in the same fashion as the Armbar attacks the elbow joint.

North / South Choke
Performed while one athlete is on top of their opponent with one fighter facing down and one fighter facing up. The top fighter slips their arm around the bottom fighters head allowing the armpit area to settle into the throat area. The top fighter then settles their weight down applying the choke.

The translation in Portuguese (BJJ) literally means “shoulder blade” and this accurately describes this submission. The omoplata is a submission that attacks the shoulder area by using the legs.  [This submission is also known as sankaku garami or shoulder lock in Japanese (Judo)].

Peruvian Neck Tie
Similar to the Guillotine choke the move is performed by placing both hands together in the neck area or your opponent. Pulling in and squeezing arms together while using legs to trap far side arm and control opponents’ body.

Rear Naked Choke
Most common choke used from behind the opponent. Athlete brings their arm around their opponents neck and locks the arm in place by grabbing their opposite arm at the elbow and wrapping the hand behind their opponents head.

Reverse Triangle Choke
Reversed by the way the fighter positions the legs around the opponents head and arm.

Toe Hold
Attacks the ankle joint. Athlete grabs the foot and figure fours their arms around the lower leg while applying pressure towards the inside of the foot.

Triangle Choke
Used primarily from the guard the athlete must pass one leg over their opponents shoulder trapping the head and one arm inside. The athlete then must figure four their legs applying pressure against the neck by forcing the trapped arm against the neck. Pulling down in the head intensifies the hold.  [This technique may all be referred to as sankaku jime in Japanese (Judo).]

Attacks the spine by isolating the legs in one direction and leveraging the head neck and torso in the opposite direction.


Ankle Pick
A move in which a fighter takes the opponent down by the grabbing or lifting of the ankle of his opponent forcing him to the ground.

Arm Drag
A method of grabbing, pulling and controlling an opponent’s arm in an attempt to throw him off balance and gain positional control.

Body Lock
A hold in which a fighter locks his arms around the opponent's body as a method of control and from this position may take him to the ground

Double Leg
A driving takedown which is executed when a fighter engages another fighter by grasping both of the fighter’s legs, generally gripping the back of the fighters knees and lifting to displace balance.  [This takedown is known as Morote Gari in Japanese (Judo) and Baiana in Portuguese (BJJ).]

Duck Under
A grappling move in which a fighter “ducks under” the opponents arm in an attempt to get behind him, to position him for a lift, throw, trip, takedown or other MMA attack.

Hip Toss
A forward throw common to most grappling disciplines where one fighter is thrown over the other fighters hips.

Inside Trip
Is a sweeping motion applied when one fighter sweeps or hooks with his leg, the inner leg of his opponent in an effort to displace their balance and bring them to the ground.  [This takedown is also known as a O Ouchi Gari – “major inner reap” in Japanese (Judo).]

Iranian Lift
Wrestling technique used when an athlete has pushed his weight too far forward when their opponent attempted a takedown. Usually preformed from the knees the athlete will raise their back straight up while holding their opponents legs causing their opponent to be inverted.

Osoto Gari
Japanese (Judo) which translates as a “major outer reap”, which accurately describes the throw. Osoto Gari is throw where a fighter steps to the outside of the opponent, pushing the opponent off balance while at the same time sweeping the opponent’s leg out from under them.

Outside Trip
Is a hooking motion applied when one fighter hooks with his leg the outside leg of his opponent in an effort to displace their balance and bring them to the ground.  [This takedown is known as Kosoto Gake – “minor outer hook” in Japanese (Judo).]

Power Bomb
A lifting technique generally used, when a fighter is stopped during a double leg takedown attempt. The athlete grabs their opponent by the waist and uses a swinging motion while simultaneously elevating their opponent. The athlete performing the move steps back and throws their opponent onto the mat usually causing the opponent to land flat on to their back and shoulder area.

Japanese (Judo) meaning shoulder throw. A throw common to many grappling disciplines. It is a forward throwing technique in which one fighter is thrown over the other fighters shoulder.

Single Leg
A move in which a fighter takes the opponent down by lifting and controlling one of the opponent's legs.

Defensive technique used against a single leg takedown attempt to switch the position and gain control.

Tai Otoshi
Japanese (Judo) which translates as “body drop”. A throw common in grappling arts which is quickly executed and must be well timed. An attacking fighter will off balance the opponent and at the same time pivot away from the opponent in the same direction of the opponent’s feet. The attacking fighter will extend his leg in front of the opponent so that the back of his calf is practically touching the opponents shin. At this time the attacking fighter will pull the fighter over the extended leg, resulting in a trip as the opponent falls forward.

Uchi Mata
Japanese (Judo) which translates as “inner thigh”, which describes the action of the throw. It is throw common to grappling arts where a fighter uses both the action of the hip and leg to displace an opponent’s balance.

Defensive technique used to prevent a single leg takedown attempt.


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