MMA trainer Dave Camarillo discusses cornering strategy for UFC 143's Josh Koscheck and others

Photo of UFC 143's Josh Koscheck (L) and Dave Camarillo (R).

Dave Camarillo is one of the most respected grappling instructors in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.

With his acumen for injecting all forms of sambo, judo, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu into his teachings, he's developed a ground-specific version of MMA and it's translated into a lifelong friendship with top American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) fighters like Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck.

While Camarillo is no longer affiliated with AKA, choosing instead to focus on his two grappling gyms full-time, he will continue to corner fighters like Koscheck and Fitch until they call it quits.

During a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission last night, Camarillo, who will be in the corner of Josh Koscheck tonight (Feb. 4, 2012) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC 143, closed our interview by discussing his specific tactics for cornering a fighter, using several instances with Cain Velasquez in great detail.

Check it out:

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you're planning on cornering Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck for the remainder of their careers. Are you flying out to Vegas to corner Josh [on Saturday] night?

Dave Camarillo: Yeah, I leave [Saturday] morning and I'll be in his corner and it'll be in and out for that one but yes.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I have corner strategies. We see guys like Greg Jackson, he's more about calming his fighter down, just getting them to relax in between rounds and you see corners like Frankie Edgar's boxing coach [Mark Henry] give him specific advice, ideas, things to work on and and adjustments to make. What type of cornerman are you when you're in there helping your fighter out between rounds?

Dave Camarillo: Okay, I'll just give an example, Cain Velasquez versus Ben Rothwell, if you watch the fight you can hear me say something like, "I want his shoulders flat." I'll talk about that in a second, but for me, it's simple commands of what I see out of the first round. Of course we have our say before the first round but that's in camp. We don't have too much to say but simple things like, "Keep your hands up. Give me some aggressive footwork. I want you in and out. Don't hang out in the pocket."

Little things like that are very important especially the first round because that's when everyone has the most power but after the first round or even analyzing a fighter, when I was in the corner for Cain and we saw Nogueira, Nogueira's not very athletic. That's no disrespect to him, he's just not very athletic. That's genetics. So when he was jumping up and down, I was looking across and thinking, "We got this fight," because Cain is super-athletic. He's super-quick. He can change directions very quick. He can be up and be down, be left and be right faster than probably anyone in the heavyweight division so when I looked at that, I was like, "We got this. Nogueira's slower. He's not so athletic. We're gonna keep moving," so after that first round with Ben Rothwell, I saw the same things.

[Rothwell's] not very athletic. He's a power guy, he's got some power in his hands, he's a heavy guy but if you put him down, he's got to get all that weight back up and a guy who's not so athletic can't get to their feet real quickly so, for example, I just said, "Get those shoulders flat like it's a wrestling game." Simple, clear-cut. Get those shoulders flat because I want him to be flat and to have to spend all that energy getting back up and what happened was the storm was never weathered. Cain kept coming and that guy exhausted himself and he just couldn't even defend punches so I look for athleticism. I look for people's strengths, trying to avoid that and the first round tells me a lot because you don't really know what's going on until your fighter has fought him for five minutes, if that makes sense.

To listen to the full 50+ minute audio of our interview with Dave Camarillo, click here. It begins at the 60 minute mark. Mobile users can download the episode here.

So, Maniacs, does Camarillo make some intriguing points?

Do you expect Josh Koscheck to run through Mike Pierce tonight? Will the former AKA trainer be able to keep his fighter confident and in charge?

Speak up!

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