Ultimate Submissions: Dustin Hazelett demonstrates the omoplata at UFC 91

Photo via UFC.com

In the mixed martial arts (MMA) world, timing and spacing are everything. From landing a strike first or creating the room to sneak your arm in for a choke, a split second and a millimeter in space can earn you a victory or cost you the fight. It is one of the most intriguing aspects of combat sports in that the smallest errors come with the largest of consequences.

In mixed martial arts you have split seconds to adjust and adapt, it can be implied into any technique from slipping a punch to shooting a takedown. It also can be said that the grappling aspect of the sport is the most intricate in terms of hitting the right timing along with the best spacing.

World Class Jiu Jitsu practitioners can make an opponent pay for mistakes with the most subtle of movements and simplistic methods. Chael Sonnen nearly landed three hundred punches on middleweight champion Anderson Silva prior to a triangle choke that was thrown up at the right moment with just the right amount of space.

And just like that the tables can be turned 180 degrees.

Even though we have had breakdowns on the simple chokes like the guillotine choke and simple joint submissions like the arm bar and several submissions in between, there is one technique that can be used for much more then just a submission attempt.

For more on that follow me into the extended entry.

Dustin Hazelett is a very creative and unique type of grappler. A black belt under Jorge Gurgel, Hazelett had amassed an 11-4 record before his bout with Tamdan McCrory and was fresh off a victory that earned submission of the night against Josh Burkman that saw the skilled grappler pull off a slick arm bar off a "whizzer."

Let us first detail that Hazelett is very flexible and with that he is very crafty. Flexible legs tend to lead guys to using a lot of high guard and even Rubber Guard.

This fight was no exception to that.

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While in guard, Hazelett has already broken the posture of McCrory and has sat up with his torso and has his hand and arm around the neck and back of his opponent. At this point Hazelett could attack with a choke or possibly an arm lock from the guard in his posture but instead elects to throw up his rubber guard. He does so by bringing up his left leg and clutching to it with his right hand.

The right hand grabs the foot and pulls it beneath the chin of McCrory. You may remember this is the similar set up to the Gogoplata.

As you can see the shoulder and arm that is trapped of McCrory has pressure already being applied to it, the pain involved isn’t as severe as an arm bar but uncomfortable nonetheless. And too add the hold is very restricting as you can not do very much once trapped.

The left leg goes right over the shoulder and under the chin and Hazelett locks the trapping leg with his free leg to tighten the grip and does so much like he would a triangle choke. Hazelett cuts the angle to sway head towards hip of McCrory and you can see the trapped arm is between the arm pit of Hazelett as well as still being torqued onto by the omoplata.

The omoplata that Hazelett shows in the fight is a set up technique as much as it is a submission. It serves as a way to get back to the feet, take an opponents back or set up an arm bar.

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Hazelett capitalizes on his control over McCrory’s posture and mobility and attacks the trapped arm. He cranks the arm up using the left leg of the omoplata to serve as the hip/groin area would when performing a traditional arm bar.

The submission is a little combination of an arm bar and an omoplata.

An omoplata is actually a shoulder lock when used as a submission, the hold is basically a kimura but instead of using the figure four lock with your arms you use your legs. The technique is one of the more versatile in grappling as it can be applied to so many other things then just a straight submission hold.

With good timing to get to the omoplata position it remains all about space once the hold is locked on. Hazelett doesn’t allow any space between the shoulder and the trapping legs to allow an escape. Both the pain and the way the hold keeps you grounded makes escaping very hard and allows fighters time to set up transitions or submissions.

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