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Maximum Damage with Knees in the Clinch with Rafael Cordeiro

Maximum Damage with Knees in the Clinch with Rafael Cordeiro


The clinch can be a complicated place for some people. Some may go there purposely to try and protect themselves or to attack. Others may end up there but not have a ton of options in their arsenal. It is important to become proficient from the clinch because finding yourself there in a fight is very common.

People end up in the clinch for many different reasons. In all fighting, but particularly more so in amateur fighting when opponents get close into the pocket, to prevent either being taken down or suffering a bunch of punches they end up clinching. This is done as more of a defensive strategy to tie yourself up with your opponent and eliminate the distance for powerful strikes.

However, there is a very offensive and strategic side to the clinch. It opens up an avenue of different takedowns and strikes, particularly knees. To maintain a useful clinch, more than likely your hands are going to be tied up and it is going to be difficult to throw punches, making knees a great option.

Body shots sometimes tend to be underrated, but a solid body shot to the liver is no joke. A knee to the liver using your arms to create momentum from the clinch; forget about it.

In this video, Rafael Cordeiro shows an entry into the clinch using a jab and a knee, and then lands a devastating knee once he is in the clinch. Check it out below!


To stay fluid in a fight or in sparring, you should allow the momentum of whatever you throw to help transition you into your next move. This is how you can maximize power, speed, and efficiency.

In this video, Rafael demonstrates just that. He begins his attack with a jab that also allows him to take a step forward into the pocket. Now that he is in the pocket, he throws a knee. These two simple strikes both cause damage, forcing his opponent to start defending and help him eliminate distance so he can move into the clinch.

Following the knee, you next go in for a high clinch. What this means is that both of your hands are going to be around your partners head/neck, with your forearms essentially resting on their shoulders. This gives you maximum head control, and provides great strength to manipulate your partners body position.

Since you have a solid high clinch, from here we are going to assume that your partner gets double underhooks and locks his arms around your body. From here you are going to step back while pushing his head forward to break his grips. Once his grips are broken, you are going to use the control you have from your high clinch to pull your partner's body into you as you send another knee up the middle.

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A knee with a high clinch really is so much different than a knee not in a clinch. Being able to pull your partner into your knee adds so much more force than a typical knee. Plus, with the head control you have you can more easily move your partner around to more precisely dictate where you want that knee to land.

Rafael Cordeiro has trained and coached all over the world. After moving to the United States, he opened his Gym, Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, California in 2010. On multiple occasions he has been both nominated and has won Coach of the Year and Gym of the Year by Combat Press and World MMA Awards. Kings MMA has been the training hub for many UFC title holders. 

In this 3 volume instrucional, Rafael goes through the basics of mastering the clinch. Included you will find techniques covering breaking the clinch, elbow variations, clinch combinations, clinch defense, sweeps from the clinch, and so much more.

Mastering The Clinch by Rafael Cordeiro

Make sure you know how to both protect yourself and capitalize on advanced attacking techniques from the clinch, check out his instructional here!