This week we bring to you the first in a series of articles, looking at the latest demonstrations of impressive, exciting grappling and the performances of BJJ stars in the cage, all from the past week (next time will be a bit earlier). Good grappling isn’t just submissions – it’s throws and takedowns, it’s control, it’s finishes, and it’s flow. We’ll review all the major organizations – as well as some other lesser-known ones – and pick out the best moments.
The Bahrainian native Murzata displayed a grinding, highly controlling style which is bound to draw comparisons to Khabib. It was all cage wrestling and body lock, forcing his opponent to carry his weight before hooking up the legs and looking for the takedown. There was little work on the ground, this being a fence wrestling based match. The main reason I would draw the Khabib comparison is around strategy – exhaust the opponent, look for the finish. With the back controlled he went straight for the RNC to finish the bout. This was a professional debut for Murzata, and I’m interested to see more from this man.
AJ McKee – Bellator 253
It looked like it was all going the way of Darrion Caldwell – McKee came out with a striking game plan, Darrion with a wrestling plan, taking his opponent down early in the first round. Whatever you want to say about McKee’s takedown defense, you can’t knock his guard work for a second. Using the 100%, normally more focussed on sweeping the opponent than submitting them, combined with a body triangle, McKee brought in a nasty neck crank. It’s not normally something that you see get a tap – especially at the highest level – so I’d have to give kudos to McKee’s BJJ. He’s got a powerful guard.
Deiveson Figureido – UFC 255
If DJ’s reign was characterized by order, Figueredo is the embodiment of chaos. In another match where their opponent may well have regretted taking this to the ground, it also looked like it was all going wrong until the finish. Figueredo came out with a kickboxing strategy before failing to defend an excellent entry to a single leg, and Perez lifting his heel up to head height and Deiveson being unable to remove himself. Instead, he moved more into the entanglement, hitting a scissor leg entry that Perez pressured and defended, before the champ turtles and showed his back. In a superbly slick display, he turned belly up, threatened the classic guillotine, and Perez moved to threaten the Von Flue, instead of ending up inside Figueredo’s full guard and an arm-in guillotine. Deiveson looked like he was losing right up until he wasn’t, but the IQ to change from one guillotine to another, turning a failing submission into a trap was fantastic. This was the slickest display of BJJ in MMA all week.
Anything we missed out on? Let us know, and we might squeeze it into next week’s edition.
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