Clinching In MMA With Chael Sonnen
Muay Thai is one of the most dynamic martial arts there is; known as a brutal striking art where all “8 limbs” are allowed, Muay Thai has made a reputation for itself as an exceptional striking art to use inside MMA.
Usually, when students come from other striking arts to train in Muay Thai, they find it rather bizarre that a lot of the work done is more like grappling than striking - here, students are introduced to the unique art of the clinch.
As the Thai clinch resembles a grappling exchange with strikes, many wrestlers in MMA find success with it, using what seems like a collar tie to set up strikes instead of takedowns. Although being one of the best elements allowed in MMA that mixes things up, we don’t see many fighters use it successfully, and why is that?
Well, as many fighters begin to train in Muay Thai in a western country, they mistake the art of the Thai clinch with the kickboxing clinch, which makes their clinch very weak with not much control as in kickboxing were not allowed to hold the clinch for too long.
Some western gyms spend time inside the clinch, but the mistake many of them make is that they consider the full plum as their starting position (where we control his head with both my hands).
Beginning in the full plum is a critical error in Muay Thai as the full plum is considered an end position we advance towards because nobody will let you hold his neck in a full plum out of nowhere.
A better choice we can use when working inside the clinch is to begin from a collar and bicep tie position. From this position, we can strike successfully and advance our way into better clinching positions as we react to him or even take him down from here when it’s MMA.
Who Is Chael Sonnen?
Chael Sonnen is an American wrestler and professional MMA fighter. Chael is a former UFC top contender who fought the best of his generation and almost won the title in a close fight against the great Anderson Silva. Chael is a unique character in the MMA that will be remembered for generations as he brought the show business and trash talk into MMA. Nowadays, Chael has his radio show and is still an active part of the fight game as he pushes submission wrestling to the mainstream.
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One-Handed Plum For MMA
Chael starts the video by showing us the most common clinching position in MMA, and this is the Thai plum, which we have talked about before, and it is a clinch hold where hands wrap behind the opponent’s head pulls him down.
Chael agrees that this is an excellent position as the opponent does not have any offense to danger us, and we can land big shots on him from here. But Chael loves to go for a one-handed plum in MMA, and the reason for it is that he has one more weapon to attack by freeing one hand.
We still have our vicious knees in this half-plum position, so we don’t lose them, but now I can also punch and elbow. So as we get into the clinch in MMA, make sure you switch to a half plum and gain the added benefits.
But getting the half plum is not that easy; we cannot just walk out and grab his head, we must set it up, and Chael will now show us how to do it:
- From over-under position - take your Whizzer out and grab the half plum
- Shot a double with one hand coming over his shoulder and as he defends switch the upper hand from the shoulder to his head
Remember that we look for the clinch from a distance, so we will use the jab as an indicator to when I can set up my half plum, and if I’m not able to set it up, he is probably too far I am in the kicking distance.
Learn More From Chael Sonnen
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