A little while back, we had a look at BJJ champ Jimmy Quinlan’s setup for takedowns. Today, we take a closer look at the takedowns themselves. We’ll start with the basic double-leg takedown. Besides making our takedowns as effective as possible, we’ll also keep one eye on making sure we don’t get guillotined.
The Double-Leg Takedown for Mixed Martial Artists
As with most moves, there are variants to the double-leg takedown. Wrestlers, for instance, tend to execute it slightly differently than MMA fighters would. That’s largely because wrestlers are likely to be in a lower stance than fighters engaged in stand-up striking. For our purposes, we’ll assume that you and your opponent are both in an orthodox boxing/MMA stance (left leg forward).
- Distract your opponent, and disguise your takedown. Whether you use Jimmy Quinlan’s baiting techniques (see link above) or instead throw a jab and cross combination, you need to hide your shot. Remember, in an MMA environment, the cost of a telegraphed takedown is a potentially fight-ending knee to your head. Don’t risk it.
- Step forward with your left foot, such that it’s more or less in line with (almost next to) your opponent’s lead (left) foot. This is a good time to throw your feints.
- Change your level. You’ll drop your weight low as abruptly as you can. Wrestlers typically go so far as to drop one knee to the mat. For our purposes, that isn’t strictly necessary; what’s essential is that you get your hips lower than your opponent’s.
- Shoot in. There are enough important sub-points to this step that they merit some individual attention.
- Keep your hands in. It’s tempting to swoop in with your arms out wide, as though you’re going to hug your opponent’s legs; don’t. Keep your hands by your face and your elbows at your sides. This’ll dramatically reduce the likelihood of your getting brutalized on your way in.
- Keep your back straight and head up. Likewise, if you shoot in on your opponent bent far forward at the waist and staring at the floor, you’re almost certain to get kneed in the nose, so maintain good posture!
- Keep your head on the outside of your opponent’s lead leg. This pointer has everything to do with where you end up following a successful takedown. If he’s quick, your opponent will probably try to guillotine you, when your head’s at his side. Still, it won’t matter, because you’ll end up in top side control, where your opponent really can’t finish the choke. If your head is somewhere else, though, you may end up in a less favorable position and your neck won’t be safe.
- Bump your opponent in the gut with your (left) shoulder. Don’t hold back on this step. the more you can collapse your opponent’s midsection and/or disrupt his balance, the more successful your takedown will be.
- Drop your arms to your opponent’s legs. Only once you’ve bumped your opponent is it safe to drop your hands. Even at this point, you aren’t reaching forward with your arms, you’re just dropping them vertically from your face to your opponent’s legs.
- Scoop with your right arm around the outside and under your opponent’s left thigh. You’ll lift with this arm. This’ll make his right leg his last tenuous support.
- Chop with your left arm behind your opponent’s right knee, leaving him, like Thiago Alves (above), with no legs to stand on. This’ll also help you pass your opponent’s legs on the ground.
- Move to side control, and consolidate. The move doesn’t end until you’re in a good, safe position with your neck free. To that end:
- Land with your left shoulder in your opponent’s chest.
- Keep your left arm in place to prevent your opponent from sneaking his legs under you.
- Pass to the left of your opponent’s legs.
- Free your head, if your opponent has grabbed it.
Lastly, here’s a video recap, courtesy of the series, Human Weapon. It’s pretty good, and the CGI is neat. Please keep your hands in longer than this model does, though: