The Backmount in Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Backmount

A backmount position in Brazilian jiu Jiitsu

In just about any fighting situation, being behind an opponent, or the enemy, is probably a good position to be in. Your opponent cannot see you and also cannot strike you effectively, which is very nice in mixed martial arts. Except maybe with a donkey kick but you probably won’t ever be in that situation in a mixed martial arts fight so we won’t get into that here. Backmount position also is a base position from which a variety of different submissions can be performed as well. It is harder that it looks to use these moves effectively though because no position offers complete dominance.

Basic Backmount

Once you can successfully “take an opponent’s back” keeping it is another story. The opponent is not simply going to keel over and give up one you get onto his back. There are ways for him to counter your advances and possibly slip out of your clutches if you give him the chance. It may be especially hard to keep him in your grasp because he is in escape mode and will be doing everything he can to escape the backmount.

The best way to keep in position during the backmount is to keep your body as tight as you can to the opponent’s, a chest to back position. The use of your legs to secure position is essential as well. By wrapping your legs around the opponent’s waste and underhooking his legs with your feet you gain security on the opponent’s back as well as a level of control over him. Also the arms Can be used like a seat belt to secure the opponent as well.

For finer points of basic control from back mount Click Here 

Backmount Submissions

Of course the backmount offers a variety of submission options being a rather dominant grappling position. The downside of this is that some of our most favorite, the rear naked choke, are very carefully defended against. However with some technically sound maneuvering there are some common and not so common techniques to be mastered.

The rear naked choke is an extremely effective submission move that is used across all levels of mixed martial arts competition. This move’s simplicity of design is what makes it so effective in grappling competition. This takes some finer tuning of hand movements and controlling the opponent while positioning for the submission so that they do not slip out of it easily

There are of course other submissions as well. One of which is the armbar variation from the backmount which is shown in the video below. This can sometimes be useful when the opponent is focused on something else like defending against the rear naked choke. Also from the back mount a body triangle can be used to constrict the opponents breathing, but most often will not end in a submission. There are also more less often seen submissions that can be mastered.


A common defense when caught in a backmount is to push back and push the attacker into the ground with the hips to loosen the leg lock and then twist out to face you. This is why it is crucial to keep the chest to back position so you roll with an opponent not independently from him. Also the leg locks are very key to stopping your opponent from rolling where he wants to.

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