Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had a little something for every mixed martial arts (MMA) fan last night (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013). The first ever event for the promotion on FOX Sports 1 was a wild one with back and forth brawls, brutal knockouts and dazzling submissions (and Uriah Hall vs John Howard).
In fact, UFC Fight Night 26, which took place from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Mass., began and ended with two excellent, and unexpected, guillotine chokes.
Within the first 30 seconds, both men made their intentions plan apparent. Almost immediately, Nijem was going after the takedown. He managed to bring the Texan to the mat twice, but Vick was able to wall walk both times. As Nijem once again dove for a double leg, Vick started wrapping his neck up in a guillotine.
While the submission didn't look tight at first, Vick sunk in the choke deeper, getting his elbow down around Nijem's throat. Nijem was either unconcerned or unaware of the threat, as Vick began to push his own hand into the choke, locking up a power guillotine extremely similar to the one Jon Jones finished Machida with.
Clearly, training with the highly controversial Lloyd Irvin is greatly benefiting "The Texecutioner."
Additionally, Vick's long arms helped him get extra leverage on an already very dangerous submission. With that leverage and grip, Vick didn't have to pull guard, he simply squeezed and waited for the tap.
For Nijem, his biggest mistake was hanging out in the choke for too long. While it was a standard guillotine, Nijem was in little danger and could continue to work for a takedown. However, once Vick began adjusting his grip, Nijem was in grave danger and didn't react fast enough.
If he had fallen to his back and spun like he did near the end, he may have escaped. Instead, he waited and tried to push off Vick's elbow, allowing him to get a perfect grip and leave "Beantown" with a victory.
See for yourself:
The next fight involving some high level Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the opening bout of the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" between Diego Brandao vs. Daniel Pineda. Both men have quite a few submission victories, and while the expected brawl occurred in round one, Brandao took it to the mat in the second.
Almost immediately, Pineda chained together a triangle and omoplata attack, using it to stand back up. Another Brandao takedown brought the fight back into Pineda's guard, where he once again attacked with submissions. This time, he latched onto a kimura. Brandao tried to resist by keeping a good posture, however, Pineda countered by hip bumping into the mount.
From the mount, Pineda landed excellent ground-and-pound, nearly finishing the Brazilian. Brandao didn't give up, managing to elbow escape into a heel hook. It was a nice attempt, but Brandao wasn't able to finish, as he didn't have Pineda's knee trapped. This makes the hold looser and nearly impossible to finish, as the knee has room to stretch rather than tear.
Unfortunately, both men were far too tired to fight with much technique at all in the third round, where Brandao won the round and fight with his wrestling.
On the final fight of the "Prelims" card, Brad Pickett went to war with MMA prodigy Michael McDonald. "Mayday" started off the fight by absolutely destroying Pickett with punches for five minutes. Once the second round started, it seemed like McDonald was slightly fatigued, and "One Punch" capitalized with a single-leg takedown.
Off of his back, "Mayday" initially wasn't very active. He was doing an excellent job controlling Pickett's posture, but his guard wasn't very active. However, he was able to brilliantly capitalize on a single mistake on Pickett's part.
Pickett wasn't content to fight within McDonald's guard and was working to pass. As McDonald controlled Pickett's head and arm with an underhook and grip, Pickett reached his arm back to begin a pass. McDonald recognized the opportunity and threw his legs over Pickett's lingering arm, while maintaining the grip. This allowed him to lock up the triangle position, which was the beginning of the end.
McDonald immediately attacked the arm, trying to hip into Pickett's elbow. Pickett toughed it out, rolling and jerking his arm around to prevent McDonald from getting an ideal angle. "Mayday" adjusted beautifully, reaching under and grabbing Pickett's leg.
When McDonald controlled the leg, he accomplished two very important things. First, he prevent Pickett from posturing up or rolling, which could possibly loosen the triangle and buys Pickett time. More importantly, it helps McDonald secure the correct angle to finish the choke. This is the proper way to finish the triangle, as it is far more deadly than the old fashioned pull down on the head finish.
Not bad for a 22-year-old knock out artist.
Moving onto the main card, there wasn't a ton of technical ground action, at least until former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight champion Urijah Faber took on Brazilian bomber Yuri Alcantara. Almost immediately, Alcantara reversed Faber's clinch attempt with an incredible throw directly into mount.
The first sign of "Marajo's" excellent jiu-jitsu was his excellent mount and back control. Faber was squirming with all of his might, yet Alcantara was able to maintain the dominant position without much trouble. He was able to do this by keeping his hips tight the second he landed in mount and never letting up the pressure. It didn't look likely that Faber was going to get out until Alcantara attempted an armbar.
As Alcantara went for an armbar, Faber immediately kept his arms tight to his body. Alcantara was going belly down, so Faber threw his legs over Alcantara's body and kicked at his arms. This loosened Alcantara's grip, and Faber used this small advantage to go after one of Alcantara's legs with a straight foot lock. It wasn't effective, but it did prevent Alcantara from getting a dominant position.
Faber got on top inside of Alcantara's full guard with a couple minutes left in the round, a position he would spend most of the fight in. From there, "The California Kid" put on a submission defense clinic. The biggest key for Faber was the position of the fight. He constantly forced Alcantara into the fence, which makes guard play quite difficult.
The reason grappling against the fence is so difficult for the bottom man is it prevents the bottom man from moving his head and hips. Additionally, Faber used his own forehead to push into Alcantara's chin, further limiting his movement. Hip movement is even more important, as it's nearly impossible to work for submissions if the bottom fighter's hips are even with his opponent. In order to set up moves like triangles, arm bars, and omoplatas, the bottom man must get some sort of angle on his opponent.
Despite Faber's control over the Brazilian's movement, Alcantara was able to create opportunities. He was at his best when Faber was forced to close the distance, a situation he repeatedly caused by kicking Faber's hips back. As Faber rushed back in to keep Alcantara on the mat, he would throw up submission attempts.
On one such occasion, he managed to nearly lock up a triangle. Faber ripped his head back but left his arm in, so Alcantara transitioned to an omoplata. However, Faber was just too game and defended by backing over Alcantara. By moving to the other side of Alcantara's body, he eliminated the risk, as Alcantara was unable to sit up and crank the arm.
There's a reason Faber has never been submitted in his 35-fight career.
Finally, the main event arrived. Once again, both men had clear intentions, as Rua wanted to keep it standing, while Sonnen looked for a takedown immediately. Rua immediately worked his half guard, but Sonnen shut it down expertly, using his head and underhooks to keep Rua flat, which prevents "Shogun's" preferred deep half guard attack.
After about four minutes of classic Sonnen ground-and-pound, Rua finally managed to secure an underhook. He tried to stand up but was too impatient, and left his neck out. Sonnen grabbed his neck and uncharacteristicly went after the submission, jumping full guard.
From here, Sonnen's powerful squeeze was all it took to win the fight. By hipping in and leaning in, like the standard finish to an arm-in guillotine, Sonnen was able to finish the choke relatively easily. This fight eerily parallels the earlier James Vick vs. Ramsey Nijem bout, as the more highly touted submission grappler was caught in a guillotine and reacted slowly. Like Nijem, Rua may have been able to escape if he had acted earlier, but his hesitancy was his downfall.
Check out "The Gangster of West Linn's" submission finish:
For complete UFC Figth Night 26: "Shogun vs. Rua" results be sure to check out our comprehensive coverage stream right here.
*Special thanks to MMA .gif master Zombie Prophet for the animations.*