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Effective Strategies To Enter The Clinch And Land A Powerful Shot Along The Way With Rafael Cordeiro

Effective Strategies To Enter The Clinch And Land A Powerful Shot Along The Way With Rafael Cordeiro

Working from the clinch is an entirely different animal in terms of striking. There are so many avenues to work with such as entering and exiting without getting hit, landing strikes while in the clinch, and working for takedowns. Before you start diving too deep into all that the clinch offers, it is important to start by taking a look at how to properly enter the clinch while keeping yourself safe. 

Similar to landing strikes, it is all about looking for an opening and proper timing. If you shoot into the clinch prematurely, you are definitely opening yourself up to taking some serious shots for close range. You may need to feint a couple times to create the opening, but have some go to techniques that you drill often to use to enter the clinch.

The clinch can also be used as a defensive strategy. Perhaps you are in an MMA fight and you are pinned against the cage taking a barrage of punches. Entering the clinch may be a good way to temporarily protect yourself and get to a better position. All in all, good clinch work is a must in combat sports.

In this video, Rafael Cordeiro shows a simple and effective entry into the clinch, as well as a powerful elbow option. Check it out below!


The Technique 

The entry into the clinch that Rafael shows is not particularly difficult, but it does require proper timing. This entry comes off of a blocked right hook. You may not want to utilize this on the first right hook your opponent throws. Block it normally a few times to get your opponent thinking he knows how you are going to react every time. Then, when you are ready, use it to enter the clinch and start attacking.

As you have your guard up and your opponent throws his right hook, the moment that you block it you have inside positioning on that side. As soon as your opponent's hand hits your guard, your left hand should immediately shoot forward to get your collar tie. From here, use that collar tie to pull yourself in and utilize your other arm to get proper grips and enter the clinch.

Ready for more top-tier techniques from Rafael Corderio? Click Learn More!



This is really all about timing. If you move too early, you are going to eat the hook. If you move too late, chances are your partner has begun to recoil from his strike and you no longer have inside positioning. This is another reason to wait for your opponent to throw a few of these before you use this technique. Use the first few punches as a way to read your opponent and look at how quick his hook is, how fast he recoils, and things of that nature.

The second technique that Rafael shows adds an elbow. The technique starts the same by blocking the hook and using the inside control to get your first collar tie. This time you begin to pull yourself in like before, but instead of getting your other grip you are going to push yourself away to create some space and land a gnarly right elbow to the face. You still pull yourself in to take away the space initially which protects you from getting hit as you load up your elbow. 

Rafael talks about some common mistakes when entering the clinch in both Muay Thai and in wrestling. People think that they can just go into the clinch while their partner has their guard up, or in wrestling people just open their arms and shoot in. This is a very dangerous mistake for many reasons.

First, you are completely open to getting punched and it is highly unlikely you are going to get inside control; you may actually give your opponent the opportunity to enter the clinch with the proper grips. In MMA, you also are potentially giving up double underhook, which the disadvantages of that are obvious.

Again, these techniques are not extremely difficult, but should be drilled often to get down your timing. Once you have these fundamental entries mastered, you can really start diving into all the awesome attacks that the clinch offers.

About Rafael Cordeiro

Rafael Cordeiro is a three-time Brazilian Muay Thai Champion who successfully competed until 1999 when he retired from fighting to take up coaching full time. He focused specifically in coaching chute boxing until he moved to the United States in 2008 and opened his own gym, Kings MMA.

He has coached some of the top MMA athletes in the world such as Anderson Silva, Marvin Vittori, Beneil Dariush, and many others. He also spent some time training Mike Tyson, and is a multiple time winner of MMA coach of the year.

About Rafael’s Instructional 

Rafael has devoted this instructional to Muay Thai fundamentals. Included you will find techniques such as how to hit and walk at the same time, setting up the superman punch, how to attack when your kick gets caught, a wide range of defensive concepts, and so much more.

Muay Thai Fundamentals by Rafael Cordeiro
Rafael is a pioneer who has been involved with martial arts for the majority of his life. From a successful competition career to coaching some of the best in the world, he has been around the block and then some. Master these fundamental Muay Thai concepts and start evolving your technique to the highest levels, check out his instructional here!