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front headlock

A Choke from Top Sprawl

The Top Sprawl Position is great for a quick attack of the opponent. There are a lot of options that you can consider when you get into a sprawl with your opponent. In mixed martial arts there is always the option of striking with knees or fists to the face. Or there are submissions like a quick guillotine choke or anaconda choke.

Hatt Hughes submitting Almeida at UFC 117

For something a little different and more of a wrestling move, since you see a lot of jiu-jitsu based submissions, this front headlock choke should be added to your arsenal. Matt Hughes used this choke in a showdown against a jiu-jitsu user Ricardo Almeida to win UFC 117.  It can be quickly applied from the top sprawl position and the grip is very simple to learn.

Setting up from the Sprawl

The sprawl position should be well known to a mixed martial arts fighter because it is so easily fallen into after you avoid a takedown attempt. Or as explained in the video at the bottom of the page, after As your opponent atempts to grab your legs for a takedown you shoot your legs back and drop your hips to the ground to take your legs out of reach. At the same time Your arms are wrapped around the opponent’s chest, one arm over the shoulder and the other under the arm.

This arm position is exactly where you need it to be to complete this front headlock choke. The arm that is above the shoulder is slid through so that the inside of the elbow is tight to the side of the opponent’s neck. Then a palm to palm grip is used and you pull your arms in towards your chest to secure the opponent.

This grip needs to be kept tight to hold the opponent in position because at this point the opponent will know a submission is coming  In this position if you should keep your center of gravity low, base wide, and your chest over the opponent to maintain control over him.  In addition the arm needs to maintain pressure against the opponent’s neck throughout to get the most effective submission.

Knocking Him Out

First the elbow of the non choking arm is clinched into the body. This seriously tightens up the whole choke and pushes your arm into once side of his neck while simultaneously pressing his shoulder into the other side. This cuts off the circulation to the opponent’s head which results in a fast blood choke once sunk in deeply.

To Finish this front headlock choke your head is dropped towards the ground on the non choking arm side. This gives further compression to the whole setup. Then you walk your lower body to that same side that you dropped your head and squeeze the bicep around the opponent’s neck at the same time to get the tightest squeeze on the opponent. From here it wont be long before the opponent starts to see nothing but black.

Here is a video of this technique from start to finish.