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Midnight Mania! Jonno Mears explains pulling off pro-wrestling style ‘Boston crab’ submission for first time ever in MMA

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Jonno Mears did what every 2-0 professional fighter dreams of: He went viral. In his case, he did so by using the Boston Crab, a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)-style submission in mixed martial arts (MMA) for the first time ever.

Of course, such a submission is much more likely in the murky waters of regional MMA. His opponent looked very uncomfortable with the grappling phase to the point where I saw some raise the spectre that the result was fixed. While possible, that’s less likely than a last-minute replacement simply being less versed with grappling, making him a target for an unlikely submission. As a white belt, I’ve had higher belts pull off fancy, low-percentage submissions on me just because they could. I’ve done the same to less accomplished grapplers than myself. Jonno opened up on to MMA Fighting today as to how he caught the famous hold. He said he has been practicing WWE moves since he was a kid.

“I loved and studied all the moves,” Mears told MMA Fighting. “I wasn’t great at remembering the names, as I was trying to do them on my younger brother.”

“I’m very shocked at the response,” Mears said. “I knew it would be good, but not this amazing.”

He walked through the submission, revealing he was originally going for a Peruvian necktie.

“When I took him down, he turned to all fours quick, but I managed to chin strap him and was going to try the Peruvian necktie,” Mears said. “But he tucked his chin, so I jumped to his back, then the crab came into my head. Then, during the scramble, I was going to turn into mount and give it up, but I seen he covered up during me striking him, so I thought why not I just try? And I was shocked myself I got a hold of his legs in a scramble.

He said the pressure on the spine was what caused the tap:

“I’m sure it was his back, although I applied it slowly knowing it’s a dangerous move being a spine lock,” Mears said. “But he refused to tap, so I cranked it a bit more while sticking out the tongue.”

He credits his training environment and fun-loving approach for the mental freedom to try something that different.

Mears, 34, said he “messes about” often with “silly submission attempts” in training. He said his Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Andy Aspinal is a “chilled-out coach” who lets his students enjoy the art. Having fun is a major key for Mears.

“I always say to everybody, if you don’t enjoy [MMA], don’t do it,” Mears said. “You gotta really love and enjoy doing it to succeed, as it’s a very tough sport.”

“My mind ticks about differently and my inner belief and confidence within myself and my skillset,” said Mears, who fights at lightweight. “I always try to enjoy my fights. Physically, I have some long limbs and stand at 5-foot-11 with a 77-inch span at lightweight. I feel my reactions are fast and I’m very accurate.”

Can we expect more crazy submission from Mears? Will this become his gimmick? He can’t say for sure, but he’s certainly thinking of ways to keep this train rolling.

“I can’t say this as it may give away my next move,” he said with a laugh. “I have a few up my sleeve, and I know if I can pull off another that would be even more amazing.”


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