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Clinch Striking Tips With Bas Rutten!

Clinch Striking Tips With Bas Rutten!


Bas Rutten is a retired Dutch-American MMA fighter, Kickboxer and Professional Wrestler. Bas Rutten, or “El Guapo” as he was nicknamed, was one of the most feared fighters of his time, being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015 for his 22 fight win streak and his impressive fight statistics: 13 knockdowns, 70.6% strike accuracy, 53 submission attempts and 46 sweeps! Bas Rutten is most known for his incredible striking ability, here Coach Bas shows how to land a powerful elbow strike from the clinch!

Bas Shows How To Effectively Elbow From The Clinch


Proficiency in the Clinch position is one of the most important skills for a Mixed Martial Artist. Most fights end up in a clinching position at some point so knowing how to control your opponent and deal damage to them while keeping yourself safe is imperative. To start, Coach Bas Rutten clinches his partner by controlling his head with a right handed collar tie. 

Elbow Technique Breakdown

When Coach Bas clinches his partner he wants to land a big elbow with his other hand, to hide his intentions Coach Rutten uses his right shoulder to keep his partners head turned away from his free hand, similar to a Wrestlers cross face but from a standing clinch position. Notice that when using his collar tie, Coach Bas is not head locking his partner by wrapping his arm all the way around the neck. His palm holds the back of his partners head while his forearm is pinned tight to his partner collar bone and chest, this allows Coach Bas Rutten to be close enough with his right shoulder to manipulate his partners head in the direction he wants it to be facing. 

By holding the back of the opponent's head Coach Bas has made it so the opponent has to hold his weight up with the neck muscles, giving Coach Bas a lot of control over the opponents posture while also allowing Coach Bas to save energy while the opponent expends energy trying to keep posture.

Once Coach Bas Rutten has his collar tie control with the opponent's head turned in the direction he wants (towards the collar tie arm), Bas will start throwing right knees so the opponent can see them. Using these knees as a distraction allows Coach Rutten to drop his free arm back to land strikes. Coach Bas shares that he prefers to throw a hard elbow or clothesline from this position. Once Coach Bas starts throwing his knee strikes he will simultaneously load his left arm back, once Coach Rutten’s knee strike lands back to the floor, Coach Bas will let go of his collar tie and tork his entire body into the elbow strike. Because of the way the collar tie turns the opponent's head, this should leave the perfect opening to land your elbow to the spot right behind the opponent's ear which is a legal striking area. The back of the skull is an illegal striking point so make sure to land closer to the ear, avoiding the illegal striking “mohawk” area.

Bas Rutten is a huge advocate of the power of the clothesline strike as well. Explaining that if you use it in the aboves clinching scenario you may get in trouble for throwing that clothesline because it will for sure land to the back of the neck or skull. Even though it may cause some trouble in the clinch scenario, the clothesline can still be used in many other ways.

Coach Bas shows that from standing squared up with his opponent, he can throw the clothes line around his opponents defenses to still hit them behind the ear which is still a legal strike, because it avoids the illegal striking “mohawk” area. This technique packs a ton of power, you are essentially using your forearm and fist as a baseball bat, landing with what part of your arm makes contact, fist or forearm while your whole torso twists to rip it through your opponent!

The Tao Of MMA by Duane Ludwig

The Tao Of MMA is a 8-part series that collects some of the best minds in MMA and provides a complete MMA gameplan! Learn with Bas Rutten, Trevor Whittman, Duane Ludwig, and MORE!