Elbow Techniques Galore with Holly Holm and Mike Winklejohn
Elbows are almost a lost art as there is always the danger in getting elbowed yourself if you are elbow heavy. The reason being is range. If you are in a close range situation and you remind your opponent that there are elbows you might get elbowed and cut yourself. So sometimes there is this unwritten agreement where fighters will shy away from them. However you can do a lot if you are a fighter that is comfortable with throwing elbows and being safe while doing so. The keys to throwing elbows in MMA would be positioning, mostly with footwork and up against the cage and throwing them from tricky angles and combinations. Here Mike Winklejohn and former UFC champion Holly Holm of Jackson's MMA share their mindset when it comes to elbows and demonstrate a galore of elbow techniques. Specifically using footwork and crowding the opponent to the cage.
Why Elbows Are Better When The Opponent's Back Is To The Cage
The video starts out with Mike WinkelJohn asking how to back someone off to the cage. He says when you're about five feet away from the cage that is the time when you try to accelerate your opponent into the cage and it's also the time when you should try to circle around and go back to the center If you are the one being put to the cage. It's kind of like a chess game of who puts who in a worse position.
You should be cutting off the cage so moving side to side and crowding the opponent and not allowing them to get off the cage and circle. elbows are always a good option against the cage as elbows are a close range weapon.
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Now the most important aspect of the elbows is the footwork because the feet is what will get you inside to be in range to do the elbows especially against the cage because the opponent has nowhere to go so the most important thing is having the feet under you as you going in for the elbows not overreaching not having your head over your legs making sure you're stepping with every elbow and being so close that that elbow lands.
Punches With Elbows
Another way to back someone off into the cage is blitzing in with a flurry of punches. In the video Holly Holm demonstrates how she could blitz him with punches and put him into the cage. Holly can also push kick him.
Another technique is the rear hand overhand punch into a rising lead hand elbow. Now Holly Holm describes the way she approaches throwing elbows is that she likes to have options depending on the opponent's body positioning. She throws the elbow if the opponent pulls straight back and their head is a little bit higher and they are tall she goes over with the elbow kind of like an overhand elbow. But if they kind of shell up and go down then she goes with the rising split the glove elbow. So the first overhand punch allowed them to shell where the rising elbow splits the gives in their shelled up defense.
So the next variation includes throwing a combination of hooks left and right to make the opponent shell up and then splitting the guard down the middle with an elbow the next variation would be going for a body shot following up with an elbow weather is the opposite side arm elbow or like a Mike Tyson style same side elbow where we go left a body left elbow or right his body right elbow
One thing with elbows that Holly took from Boxing and she likes to think about is where her balance is so she takes a 6-3 and turns them to elbows where she is not pausing. She's heavy on the back leg and throws a rising elbow as her body rises then she drops with the horizontal elbow that looks like a 3 while dropping back, keeping a continuous flow
Hand Fighting and Elbows
Another way to land elbows is to use hand traps and hand fighting. so Holly pulls down the arm and then blitzes with an elbow. Whether with the same hand of the trapping arm or the other hand
Another position for the elbows against the Cage is if Holly Holm is holding someone Against the Cage she has a wrist control and an underhook so then the hand that is controlling the opponent's wrist could slide off and do the rising elbow from there and then back to wrist control.
The next key Holly says it's about the footwork so in the open they have a lot of room and a lot of space to move but their backs against the cage there's no footwork there's no space there's no way for them to move to avoid elbows so to speak. It is also easier to throw combinations up against the fence than it is on the open and that includes elbow combinations.
More Elbow Tricks
Holly Holm then says that sometimes people even have a complete shell up where both arms are completely glued together. The elbow still slides in the middle as it always has a way to find the target.
Next technique is faking a takedown then going up with the rising elbow when the opponent tries to defend their opponent's hand. A faint shot their hand goes down to defend the takedown and their faces are open for that elbow.
Last thing that Holly mentioned is when people get tired of people get I'm beat up with punches or of combos or whatever they always try to grab however it is hard to try to grab around someone's body when there's elbows raining down on their face because it's a little bit hard so they will shy away from trying to grab. So they finished off by saying that elbows treat the opponent's face like it's in a blender. So throwing combinations of elbows either on the same side or opposite side.
Effective Elbows Instructional
Effective Elbow Strikes For MMA is a 2-part series detailing the most effective ways to set up and land HARD elbows!