In this video we’re going to take a look at the Bulldog choke. It’s a rare submission that was first used in the UFC back at UFC 31 when Carlos Newton submitted Pat Miletich.
Historically the Bulldog choke has been favoredby catch wrestlers because it forgoes the safety of securing solid back position and instead directly attacks the head for the submission. So instead of securing back hooks for a dominant position when going for the Bulldog choke you will attack the head and bring the body with you.
The Bulldog choke essentially becomes a modified headlock or a headlock mixed with a rear naked choke. Now in Brazilian Jiu jitsu a headlock is seen as an amateur or beginner move as it actually gives up an easy pathway to the back for the person being attacked. But if you get your hand underneath the chin and are able to sit your feet and hips out in front of the head of your opponent it becomes very difficult to execute that escape quickly.
Instead you can use your entire body weight on the head neck and draw of your opponent to choke them and also crank their neck. The Bulldog choke will most commonly be taught from side back or turtle position and it becomes a good option when the opponent is so intent on defending one side of their neck from the rear naked choke that you can come in on the other side with the Bulldog. But an opportunity for a bulldog choke can come up in many scramble situations where enough time has been had to collect the neck but not enough time to establish back hooks.
With that being said the Bulldog choke is still an uncommon submission to see in high-level MMA although at UFC 181 it was scored twice in one night by Raquel Pennington and Urijah Faber who both finished their opponents with Bulldog chokes next to the fence and the fact that it has been proven to work at that high level before means it may be a technique you want to keep in your arsenal for the future.
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References: Olavarria, P. (2014). The Bulldog Choke: Catch Wrestling Renaissance | FIGHTLAND. Retrieved from http://fightland.vice.com/blog/the-bulldog-choke-catch-wrestling-renaissance Zahar, C. (2016). Is The Bulldog Choke Part Of Your Jiu-Jitsu Arsenal?. Retrieved from https://www.jiujitsutimes.com/bulldog-choke-part-jiu-jitsu-arsenal/ Andrew Lalnunmawia Vs Chandan Yadav SFL CONTENDERS: https://youtu.be/_nWeNthbAI0 BAMMA 29: Terry Brazier vs Walter Gahadza: https://youtu.be/EGS2y9llGBI Ben Jones – Bulldog Choke: https://youtu.be/14yYfGX7Jsc Bulldog Choke Instructional from Phuket Top Team: https://youtu.be/dUghLQe12cE Catch Wrestling: Attacking the Turtle w/Crossface Neck Crank & Bulldog Choke: Legit Pro Wrestling: https://youtu.be/vs8wPYjRqDk Erik Paulson teaching Catch as catch can wrestling: https://youtu.be/fPIkXpcSNeY Fight Replay Tim Elliott vs. Charlie Alaniz: https://youtu.be/gqpyHzqJ9yU Mike Murphy vs Kolby Howell: https://youtu.be/xcHYrylAVDE No Gi Choke Bulldog Choke with Coach Robert Follis: https://youtu.be/TfJl3S2FIh0 RUBICON II Josh Huber vs. Manuel Gallardo: https://youtu.be/GSTygO5XDQE
Karo “The Heat” Parisyan is an Armenian born mixed martial artist who moved to America at the age of six and began training judo at the age of nine and was competing in freestyle fighting against fully grown adults when he was only fourteen years of age. He was trained by the legendary Gokor Chivichyan and “Judo” Gene LeBell at the Hayastan academy where he also learned the Hayastan grappling system. He was a ferocious competitor and became a ten time Junior national judo champion a four-time International judo champion and had faced the likes of Sean Sherk Antonio McKee and Jason “Mayhem” Miller in MMA and was focusing on the 2004 Olympic Judo trials before he got the call-up from the UFC. In this study we will list the Judo techniques that Karo utilized during his MMA career.
Ippon Seoi Nage
We will start with the Ippon Seoi Nage, the one-armed shoulder throw technique where both hands are used on one arm of the opponents as they are loaded onto the back lifted and thrown over the shoulder.
Seoi otoshi or shoulder drop, it’s a hand technique where the opponents loaded onto the back and pulled straight down over the shoulder and thrown while you drop both knees to the mat.
The Harai goshi or sweeping hip throw is a hip technique where the opponent’s balance is moved in a forward direction and your hip is turned and leg extended placing the back of your thigh against the front of the opponent’s and as you continue pulling them forward this is used to sweep their legs out from underneath them in a sudden motion.
Osotogari or major outer reaping is a leg throw performed by stepping outside the leg of your opponent and cutting down on the back of their leg taking it out from underneath them. Although in practice when used by Karo in the UFC it often ended up looking more like a Harai goshi when finished due to the movements of the opponent when being thrown.
The Ashi guruma or leg wheel consists of placing your leg against the opponent’s leg between his knee and shin and then using the rotation of your arms and body to throw the opponent down with an instantaneous twisting motion.
The Uchi mata or inner thigh reaping throw is a leg technique that consists of off balancing the opponent diagonally towards you then rotating your body and placing the back of your thigh between the opponent’s legs and swinging upwards in a sudden motion to execute the throw, an excellentm sense of timing is required to achieve this throw and it is one that Karo has often favored using in competition. You can see Karo using this throw while simultaneously working towards an Ude Garami grip on his opponent.
The Ude Garami, Kimura or double wrist lock was an attack that was also often favored by Karo. With the use of the Kimura grip these throws turn into variations of Makikomis or wrap around throws like the Osoto makikomi or large outside wrap around throw which begins as an Osotogari with your leg cutting down on the opponent’s leg but then you wrap around your opponent’s body and fall down with them. Or the
Harai makikomi, a hip sweep wrap around throw which begins as a Harai goshi by bringing the opponent on to the hip and twisting at the waist to flip the opponent over while also using the Kimura grip to wrap them around your own body and fall to the mat with them. These throws are classed as side sacrifice techniques and often finish with the opponent on your back but as Karo would hold onto the Kimuragrip he could remain on the offensive.
Another use of the Kimura is with the Hikikomi gaeshi or pulling in sacrifice throw, which consists of destabilizing the opponent in the forward direction and then inserting the instep of your foot between the opponent’s leg in the crook of their knee while dropping onto your back and throwing them over your own head after which you can continue attacking with the Kimura from the top position.
Kouchi Gari & Kosoto gari
The Kouchi gari or small inner reaping that consists of off balancing the opponent by pushing them and reaping their heel in a decisive scooping motion and the Kosoto gari which is a small outer reap which also consists of scooping the opponent’s leg sending them to the mat.
The Ōuchi gari or large inner reap which is executed by moving straight into the opponent’s chest and then performing a leg reap from the inner side swinging the reaping foot in a half circle in order to spread the opponent’s legs destabilize their balance and throw mthem onto their back.
The Kosotogake or small outer hook consists of driving towards the opponent and placing a foot behind them, then after hooking the leg you can either lift and scoop the leg out or trap the leg and lean on them until they fall to the mat.
Kibisu Ggaeshi & Kuchiki Taoshi
The Kuchiki taoshi or one hand drop consists of grabbing one of the opponent’s legs and then pushing and running them down to the mat. This is often performed by Karo off of caught kicks. And the Kibisu gaeshi or heel trip which consists of grabbing the opponent’s heel with one hand and then pushing the opponent over onto their back where they land on the spot. This is in contrast to the Kuchiki taoshi where they are pushed and run backwards.
And the Morote gari or two hands reap which is performed by grabbing both of the opponent’s legs with both of your arms while driving forward and throwing them onto their back this technique is the Judo version of the wrestlers double leg takedown.
A Sukui Nage or scooping throw is executed when during a Morote gari, Karo scoops or lifts the opponent fully off the ground and slams them onto the mat. In MMA this was often performed by him when pressed against the fence.
Karo the Pioneer fo Judo in MMA
While spending most of his career training at Hayastan Academy with Gokor Chivichyan He also spent time at Team Punishment, training with Neal Melanson and at Xtreme Couture and during his time competing in mixed martial arts Kara became the WEC welterweight champion, the UFC welterweight number one contender, a Bellator veteran and winner of the 2006 fight of the year with Diego Sanchez. Although Judokas were fighting MMA in Japan at the time when Karo began fighting in the UFC Judo was severely underrepresented and somewhat dismissed by North American fans as a traditional martial art that may not hold any value for the future of freestyle fighting. But when Karo began to literally throw opponents on their heads he certainly changed that opinion. He paved the way for countless other Judokas in the UFC, gaining respect for the art by successfully adapting it and showcasing its effectiveness under the mixed martial arts rule set. And that concludes our look at the use of judo in MMA through the lens of the career and legacy of Karo Parisyan.
Parisyan, K., Krauss, E. and Cordoza, G. (2008). Judo for Mixed Martial Arts. Calif.: Victory Belt. Harai-goshi (Hip sweep: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/kosi/harai/ Ashi-guruma (Leg wheel: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/asiguruma/ Uchi-mata (Inner-thigh reaping throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/utimata/ Osoto-makikomi (Large outside wraparound throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/yoko/oosotomaki/ Harai-makikomi (Hip sweep wraparound throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/yoko/haraimaki/ Sumi-gaeshi (Corner throw): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/masute/sumigaesi/ Kosoto-gari (Small outer reap: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/kosotogari/ Ouchi-gari (Large inner reap: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/asi/ooutigari/ Kuchiki-taoshi (One-hand drop: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kutikitaosi/ Kibisu-gaeshi (Heel trip): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kibisugaesi/ Osotogari: https://judoinfo.com/quiz0297_3/ Harai Goshi: Sweeping Hip Throw: https://judoinfo.com/haraigo/ Ko Uchi Gari: https://judoinfo.com/kouchi/ Seoi-Otoshi (hand technique): http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/en/waza/digest/03/ Ippon Seoinage (One Arm Shoulder Throw: https://judoinfo.com/ippon-seoinage/ Kibisu-gaeshi (Heel trip): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/kibisugaesi/ Morote-gari (Two-hands reap): http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/te/morotegari/ Kosoto Gake (Small Outer Hook): https://judoinfo.com/kosoto-gake/ Hikikomi gaeshi: http://www.judo-ch.jp/english/dictionary/technique/nage/masute/hikikomi/ Beyond Grappling – The difference between kuchiki taoshi and kibisu gaeshi.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxTqi1NWPas Grappling Central Podcast – Episode 030 – Karo Parisyan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVPqnbHh0eQ SUMI GAESHI AND HIKKOMI GAESHI A COMPARISON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezjswwlXlBo Combat Life: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKndpk8BdD0Isine6zHoDfw
In this analysis, I’m going to give a quick breakdown of the Suloev stretch submission. A hamstring submission executed from the back mount as your opponent tripods to escape. The Suloev stretch is a name coined by writer KJ Gould after the Armenian MMA fighter Amar Suloev who you can see using it here to submit Paul Cahoon. Amar previously fought in the UFC against Chuck Liddell and Phil Baroni.
Suloev Stretch in Folkstyle Wrestling
The move is very reminiscent of the banana split submission which has been used to get a tap in MMA, but the banana splits is executed from only one hook in and from a cross-body ride where you will reach across and grab the far leg of the opponent. It is also used in folkstyle wrestling matches where both boots are thrown in and as the opponent stands and tripods the leg is grabbed and used to off-balance the opponent knocking them over and securing back points.
Suloev Stretch in MMA
And there are some additional examples of its use in MMA when you have your opponent’s back and they tripod up to throw you off the top of their shoulders, it will bring you closer to their foot which you can grab to then peel back and apply the submission. While it may look like a kneebar the majority of the pressure is being placed onto the hamstring hence the stretch name. While it’s not advisable to get that high on your opponent’s back to look for the submission, it does give you an option if you do find yourself there.
Suloev Stretch in the UFC
Aljamain Sterling had previously looked for it ina UFC bout against Renan Barão but he escaped. But the first successful application of the Suloev Stretch in the UFC belongs to Kenny Robinson in his match against Brock Jardine where again Brock tripods up and Kenny reaches down and grabs his ankle extending his hips and pulling back on Brock’s leg to obtain the submission. And that was the only example of it being used in the UFC until of course Zabit and Aljamain Sterling both got on the same evening. I hope you enjoyed this quick look at the Suloev Stretch.
Demian Maia, he’s a fourth-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, an ADCC champion and perhaps the greatest grappler in mixed martial arts. But as a practitioner of a ground-based fighting art a key part of his game is how he takes the fight to the ground and in this breakdown we will be examining his favourite takedown tactics.
Setups & Takedown Entries
Let’s start with his setups, his most common entry into his shots is the jab fake where he faints his jab in order to draw a reaction out of his opponent by either blocking or a counter shot and when they do react he drops his level underneath their lead hand and straight onto a single leg. Another way is waiting for his opponent to jab or step in with their lead leg and as soon as they extend their leg Demian Maia will time it and drop down into a single leg as a southpaw with his right leg forward the single-leg shot is a much quicker and easier option that is always there against Orthodox opponents.
Running the Pipe
Once Demian Maia gets in on the single-leg his preferred finish is running the pipe where he rotates his outside leg backwards which spins the opponent while at the same time dropping head shoulder and chest pressure down on the opponent’s thigh this shifts the opponent’s centre of gravity to a point where they would need the use of their trapped leg to stand and maintain balance but instead they’re forced to sit down. This finish works in open space but also against the fence where you must rotate your opponent away and off the fence to prevent them from using it to lean on and maintain balance in place of their trapped leg.
Head on the Outside Single Legs
While it is most common to do this with the head on the inside Demian Maia has also used this finish with the head on the outside and while this is not surprising in wrestling, in BJJ where submissions are involved this is often seen as too risky in a rookie mistake as it gives your neck to the opponent for a guillotine choke. While that risk certainly does exist here it is being used safely against multiple high-level competitors.
Back Trip Takedown
From the single leg, another finish Demian Maia executes is the back trip where he’s outside hand may reach and secure hip control on the far waste of his opponent as he looks to trip the far leg out from underneath them while circling his way down to the mat and over the top of the blocked leg this will result in Demian Maia taking the back or landing in top position and he will even look to trip the far leg without gaining control of the waist. Demian Maia will also look to trip the near leg proactively hooking it after his shot if he is unable to lift it or if his opponent can get it back to the mat and this all works in combination with his back taking strategy of constantly spiralling around his opponent looking to secure hooks.
Spiralling to the Back
In fact, in his first MMA fight, Demian Maia charges straight into the clinch and immediately circles to the back and executes a trip on his opponent. Although it does have the goal of securing his hooks once he gets the back and secures a body lock he has a variety of trips he will execute to bring his opponent to the mat most often he is blocking a leg and dragging his weight and the opponent backwards over the top of it but he will also continuously hack away at any leg of the opponents that is available to attack as a means of destabilizing them and breaking them down.
Trips against the Fence
Here against the fence, Demian Maia looks for a trip which allows him to begin rotating towards his opponents back now from a T – position he looks to trip again which rotates him all the way to the back where he completes the takedown. The trip against the fence is another of Demian Maia’s favourite takedowns. Once there Demian Maia will look to secure under hooks and trip the opponent by reaping at the calf and rotating them away from the fence and dropping his weight at the same time this is made easier if the opponent’s foot is placed away from the edge of the fence but Demian Maia will also stretch to the hook if necessary. One danger in executing trips in this fashion is that during the process of lifting your leg to trip you momentarily place yourself at a disadvantage as soon as you lift a leg to trip you now only have one point of balance while your opponent still has two and even three if they are leaning against the fence this creates a risk of your opponent reversing the takedown and landing in top position regardless of that risk Demian Maia was able to make this takedown work consistently may be in part due to his opponent’s hesitation in wanting to go to the ground at all. He had success with this technique even from a front headlock position and was able to score the takedown in open space and I also have to mention the amazing lateral drop he scored on Chael Sonnen then immediately transitioned into a triangle choke for the win.
Double Leg Takedowns
Demian Maia will also switch to a double leg if necessary when he does his favourite means of finishing is to turn the corner which he does by pushing off from his outside leg to drive his force at an angle across his opponent’s hips. Driven by his pursuit for the back Demian Maia will constantly spiral and rotate towards his opponent’s back taking them to the ground with him. An on occasion he will also switch to a double leg against the fence favouring a bump and dump where he can secure his hands together behind the back of his opponents and then bump them off the fence also if you remember back to the start of the analysis where we covered running the pipe well if the first attempt of that is not successful it sets up a switch to a double leg by reaching for the far knee and driving across the opponent’s hips and here is a very interesting leg entanglement that Demian Maia uses to sweep and secure a double leg takedown.
Pulling Guard in MMA
Another option that Demian Maia would use to secure a takedown is to pull guard his general sequence would be to take a shot and then if sprawled on you would look to scoot into a half guard position secure and under hook and then use it to sweep or stand back up and finish a takedown or else he would jump guard from an upper-body clinch with an over hook a pulling guard does come with obvious risks but Demian Maia made it work for him on multiple occasions at a high level. I do have another study on pulling guard in MMA so check that out if that is an area that interests you.
Future of Maia‘s BJJ Takedowns
So where to from here well aside from a brief moment as K1 Maia, when he turned into a kickboxer, his submission game has been one of the sharpest in all of the UFC taking him to 12 submission victories and working his way into two title shots in two different weight categories. No matter what happens in his future he will always be known as one of the greatest grapplers in freestyle fighting but I would be remiss to conclude this breakdown without mentioning that Demian Maia is now 0 for 49 takedown attempts in his last 3 UFC bouts with all of his opponents able to completely shut out his takedown game and nullify any chance of a submission being accomplished. An important note is that a common thread with all three of these opponents was that each one was an all-Americanfolkstyle wrestler so that leaves me with a question if the submission techniques and effectiveness of a ground-based fighting art is completely negated if you cannot get the fight to the ground then how much emphasis should be placed on takedowns within that system it is also worth noting that the rate of submission victories overall in the UFC has been falling however this is not a reflection of jiu-jitsu being less applicable but rather the level of jiu-jitsu has risen across the board as now every UFC competitor will be training with jiu-jitsu practitioners day in day out and if a competitor was to stop training jiu-jitsu or submissions and let a skill disparity develop that will quickly find themselves submitted. With that being the case is it better to focus for MMA or going for takedowns control and ground striking?
That concludes our study on Demian Maia’s takedown game if you would like to see more on his guard pulling techniques then check out my dedicated study on Pulling Guard in MMA.