Ultimate Submissions: Jake Shields brings American Jiu-Jitsu to UFC 144 in Japan

Photo by Esther Lin for AllElbows.com


Sat., Feb. 25, 2012, marks Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) long-awaited return to Japan when UFC 144: "Edgar vs. Henderson" hits the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The UFC has not been to Japan since Dec. of 2000, way back at UFC 29, and they are celebrating their return in the right way by bringing a card full of potentially action-packed fights to the "Land of the Rising Sun."

Not the least of which is the bout featuring Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields.

While this may not be the fight to determine the next middleweight number one contender, with Akiyama losing his last three and Shields coming up empty in his last two, the fact that both of these competitors could be fighting for their jobs will surely put some pep in their step.

And Shields will no doubt be trying to use his wrestling to get this fight to the ground, where he will look to implement his American Jiu-Jitsu (AJJ) skills to submit "Sexyama."

Lets take a look at how he might get that done.

The grappling of Jake Shields is well-documented. A self-professed practitioner of "American Jiu-Jitsu," which is a blend of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and western wrestling, Shields boasts 10 submission wins out of his 26 career victories, mostly by way of rear-naked or guillotine chokes.

Lets take a look at a couple of those submissions.

In June of 2009, Shields squared off against power-puncher Robbie Lawler under the Strikeforce banner. Shields has always been criticized for his striking skills (or lack thereof), and Lawler has always been known for the leather he swings. It was obvious where each fighter wanted this contest to take place. Shields would be the one to have his way.


Thanks to www.mma-core.com for the .gif

The .gif starts with Lawler backing Shields up against the cage, and Shields immediately wrapping his right arm around the head and neck of Lawler. Shields has his left arm over-hooking the right arm of Lawler, and he uses that over-hook to secure the "arm-in guillotine choke" by clasping his hands together under the chin of Robbie. A traditional guillotine choke is executed by wrapping one arm around your opponent's head and neck clasping your hands together, keeping your opponent's head trapped between your arm and your own body, then wrapping your legs around your opponent's waist (getting "full guard") and squeezing on your opponent's neck while pulling down with your legs and pulling up and into your opponent's throat with your hands. You end up stretching your opponent out and squeezing with the arm you have wrapped around their neck. The arm-in guillotine choke is executed a little differently.

Since Shields has an over-hook on Lawler's left arm, this will prevent Shields from pulling up and into Lawler's throat with his hands clasped together. So, the key to finishing the choke while having an opponent's arm trapped is to crunch your body forward, forcing the back of your opponent's head down, and pushing his throat into your hands. Basically, the opposite of stretching your opponent out, the way you would normally finish a traditional guillotine choke. Note that from the moment he locks in the choke, Jake Shield's body is bent almost double for the duration of the submission attempt. Even when Lawler stands up in an attempt to pull his head out of the choke, Jake clings to him, pressing Lawler's head down with his chest, forcing Robbie's neck toward his clasped hands, squeezing tightly with his hands and arms, and eventually forcing the tap from Lawler.

Remember how I said a traditional guillotine choke requires one to stretch out their opponent? Jake Shields knows how to do that one as well. About one year prior to submitting Robbie Lawler, Shields stood across the cage from Nick Thompson.

It wouldn't end well for "The Goat."

The clip starts with Thompson on the bottom, in the middle of a sweep attempt on Shields, who already has his right arm wrapped around the head and neck of Thompson, who does not have an arm inside. There is nothing between Shields' body and his forearm, except for the neck of "The Goat." As Nick tries to sweep, Shields is able to switch his hips over right before he hits his back and gain full mount on Thompson in a beautiful scramble.


Thanks to www.mma-core.com for the .gif

After mounting Thompson, Shields traps his right hand between his own body and Thompson's and posts out with his left. Keeping his right hand trapped between his body and Thompson's will allow Jake to finish the choke while still keeping his left hand free, no need to clasp his hands together. Having his left hand free will allow Shields to stretch Thompson out a little bit easier. After posting out on his left hand, Jake then drives his hips downward and pulls his right forearm into the neck of "The Goat." Having his left hand on the mat, Shields is able to keep his balance while applying the proper torque with his hips and right arm to stretch Thompson out and cut off the circulation to his brain, as evidenced by the nice purple color of Nick Thompson's head.

Tap-tap-tap from Thompson.

Two victories, two variations of the same submission.

With his back up against the proverbial wall, do any of you Maniacs think Shields can add another name to his list of submission victories when he takes on "Sexyama" at UFC 144?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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