Photo via UFC.com
UFC 136: "Edgar vs. Maynard III" was headlined by two title fights, but it was earlier on the main card where the grappling factored into four men’s futures. With such a top-heavy card featuring Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and undefeated top contender Gray Maynard meeting for the third time, along with Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo looking to defend his crown against veteran and perennial contender Kenny Florian, it was a surprise that the other fights even had a chance to shine.
In one bout we saw a former contender coming back from a long, drama-filled layoff to take on one of the brightest new contenders in the middleweight division. Veteran and always gritty Chael Sonnen would face off against young and explosive former WEC champion Brian Stann in what many had assumed would be to decide who would fight Anderson Silva in early 2012.
In the other main card contest, the fans were treated to a match-up pitting two young fighters with loads of experience against each other. The lethal striking of Melvin Guillard stood in the middle of the Octagon with submission ace Joe Lauzon in a fight that many believed was to showcase Guillard on his way to a title shot.
Submission fans throughout MMA could breathe a happy sigh of relief after the two fights. For more on that, follow me after the jump.
Many analysts, fans and media alike pegged Melvin Guillard to win his fight with the heavy underdog Joe Lauzon. They were under the assumption that Lauzon, on a roller coaster ride since 2008, would succumb to the fireball that was the five-fight win streak of Guillard’s. Even though Lauzon was 4-3 in his last seven, many discounted that three of his four wins were "Submission of the Night" and three of the remaining four fights during that span were awarded "Fight of the Night" despite being losses.
Lauzon would be the fighter who was looking to get the fight to the ground to avoid the heavy, lethal hands of Guillard, but not many predicted he would get it to the ground with his own striking. A big left hand rocked and wobbled Guillard and Lauzon would force the dazed fighter to the ground and into his realm of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Before we start, let me first give a thank you to Zombie Prophet for the .gifs. Check out his site (Ironforgesiron.com) -- he has .gifs and videos of fights up faster than anyone else on the net.
It all happens very quickly.
Lauzon lands a solid blow as Guillard throws without any real defense to protect his chin. Guillard is rocked and Lauzon gets top position as Guillard loses his legs and drops to the mat. Lauzon wastes no time while atop Guillard in his sprawl position as he swings around and takes the back of his opponent.
Melvin tries to grab onto wrist control on the left wrist of Lauzon to attempt and prevent any sort of choke. He even grabs the wrist with both hands at one point. Lauzon still moves to the back and immediately sinks in the hooks and establishes back control. Lauzon uses his legs to over throw Guillard to a much more prime position, he uses one leg to spread the one side of Guillard and with that momentum his other leg pushes off to fully gain that back control.
He fishes his hands to find the choke and briefly gets into a mini-fight for hand control. Lauzon wins and sinks the choke underneath the chin and from their it was fundamental as he uses his legs/hooks to torque down on the lower half of Guillard and the choke itself to torque up on the upper body. The squeeze is tight and Guillard has two options, submit or go to sleep.
Lauzon secures the tap-out victory. And just like that, Guillard possibly one fight away from a title shot, shoots down the ladder and a fighter not considered a contender gets catapulted up the rankings with a breath of new hope in what had been a mediocre few years.
From my breakdown on the rear naked choke:
The technique involves wrapping one arm around the opponent’s neck so that the inside of your elbow is placed against his throat. By doing this, you will have put your bicep against one side of his neck and your forearm against the other side of the neck. From there you have two options for sinking in the choke and applying the pressure needed for the submission. You can place the hand of the arm you have wrapped around the neck on the bicep of the other arm and the hand of the other arm on the back of the opponents head. From there you hug your arms together and push out with your chest.
The pressure of pushing his head into the pulling of your forearm will provide the pressure. And having the hooks mentioned previously will allow you to stretch out your opponent making it even tighter and allowing less oxygen for your opponent.
So to recap the simple steps of the rear naked choke are to first gain back mount. Pass your arm around the front of the neck until your opponents neck is in the crook of the point of the 90 degree angle your bent elbow makes. Bend the other arm so that it is behind the back of your opponents neck or as close as possible. In a technical aspect your forearm should be directly behind the neck to be as tight as possible. Now place the hand of the arm holding the neck through the bracing arm and wrap it around your bicep. This will not only help in pressure but give you very effective control to hold the choke in place.
In another bout with title implications, the very tough and grinding Chael Sonnen would look to get back into the mix after a 14-month layoff since his 20+ minute beatdown on current Champion Anderson Silva. In what was Silva’s toughest fight to date in the UFC, Sonnen gave it all he had, landing nearly 300 punches before succumbing to the triangle choke.
Stann on the flip side has been active since then, going 3-0 in all three of his middleweight bouts. Stann finished Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago with strikes making his 2011 noteworthy and knocking on the door of a title shot. Many believed the younger, more athletic and powerful Stann would be able to defeat the ring-rusted veteran.
That theory went out the window almost immediately.
In less than eight minutes of fighting, Chael Sonnen would land 106 strikes on Stann while going 4-6 on takedowns. He would pass into dominant position eight times including the final time that led to the victory in the clip above.
As you can see he has trapped the right arm snug to the head of Stann with his own head and his right arm is connected tightly to his left.
From my fanpost on the arm triangle:
The arm triangle choke is a blood choke submission that basically leaves your opponent strangled between their own shoulder and your arm. Similar to that of the traditional triangle choke which is performed by the legs. That choke is very similar to that of the arm triangle.
The choke can also be a side choke. From the side of your opponent using your forearm along with your opponent's own outstretched arm and shoulder, you will cut off the air and blood flow to your opponent. You also want to squeezes a forearm into your opponent's neck to better accomplish the submission.
If done effectively the choke will take just moments to take effect because of its ability to cut off the blood flow on both sides of the neck. With both sides and arteries cut off, it will be seconds before the tap out comes or your opponent falls unconscious.
As you can see on the clip above, Chael has the arm and head trapped within the arm triangle but he is sitting on the wrong side of side control. To finish from there it would take a high amount of energy and unreal power.
While possible, it is highly unlikely.
Chael makes it look real easy when he simply hops over the torso of Stann into the opposite side control where it becomes very easy to finish the hold. The reason that this is so easy is that Stann is looking to plant his feet on the cage to explode from beneath Chael Sonnen. Bad timing and overall just bad luck to have your feet ready to escape -- only to have your opponent sink the choke tighter simultaneously.
Stann tries to fight through it as Sonnen abandons cutting the angle and just uses his leverage and power to really dig deep the shoulder into the choke. Stann has his arm pinned in defense of the choke but it really is only a matter of time before the tap comes and Sonnen is once again the top contender in the middleweight division.
The submissions were few from UFC 136 but they were also very crucial to the winners as they both made huge statements in their respective division.
Sound off Maniacs, were you impressed with the ease Sonnen beat Stann and Lauzon upset Guillard?