Setting Up The Elbow Off The Clinch With Benson Henderson
The Muay Thai clinch is one of the most effective positions in MMA; almost all practitioners learn it as a part of their training program, and the ones that invest in developing their clinch find a lot of success later on in their fights.
Unlike Muay Thai fighters who spend most of their time inside the clinch, MMA fighters have a limited amount of time to train inside the clinch as they have so many aspects that need their attention.
But, the clinch deserves more attention, as many Muay Thai experts will tell you - the clinch in MMA is still at an elementary level, and fighters don’t find success with it. But why don’t we develop our clinch? A clinch is a form of grappling mixed with striking, which is the perfect combination for MMA.
If you have ever been to a clinch training, you know how much technique and skill goes into there. A clinch fighter will wear you down as you will constantly; even if you try to wrestle with a clinch fighter under the MMA rules, he will make your life miserable with devastating knees and elbows that will make you think twice before getting close to him again.
In MMA, most practitioners learn only the full Plum as the primary position in the clinch (single/double collar tie), which is the wrong way for beginners to develop their clinch game. The Plum position is “the end” position in Muay Thai; you can compare it to a mount or side control in BJJ; you cannot simply get there without working your way into the position.
Practitioners need to learn the more fundamental positions of the clinch, like the bicep ties, where we can easily work our way into the full plum without much risk and in a controlled manner.
Who Is Benson Henderson?
Benson Henderson is an American MMA fighter and the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion. Over the years, Benson managed to build a record of 28 wins over the planet’s best fighters, beating - Frankie Edgar, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, and Jorge Masvidal. As we can see, Benson has a well-deserved place in the MMA hall of fame as a legend of the sport. Benson is still fighting at 37 for the second biggest organization in the world - Bellator MMA.
Check Out Benson's Instructionals HERE! Click Learn More!
Landing A Clean Elbow Inside The Clinch
In this video, Benson Henderson will show us a sneaky way to land the elbow inside the clinch. But first, we need to understand that the clinch in MMA is slightly different than in Muay Thai, you usually get there off a wrestling exchange, and it resembles more of a collar tie at sometimes rather than a clinch.
Although being different from traditional Muay Thai, the clinch in MMA allows us to deal with many wrestlers and take them off their game. As we add knees and elbows into our grappling exchanges, we can finish the fight at any moment, and the opponent will fear getting in close.
But being different then the traditional Muay Thai clinch presents difficulties in teaching the clinch and adjusting it to MMA. When we take any traditional aspect of martial arts and try to integrate it into MMA, we need to consider all the other possibilities that can happen and put it all together smoothly.
So now we will learn to work from a half Plum position which is used a lot in MMA (single collar and outside bicep tie), and we will focus on taking the opponent’s elbow down and away, so we clear the collar tie.
The motion we do resembles a rip of the hand, snapping it down and away so we can now pull the opponent into the same side elbow. After we chop the hand down, the head is still far, so now we use the collar tie to pull him in a while, throwing a clean elbow to the face.
Notice that Benson is working in the clinch like it is MMA, and there are grappling exchanges mixed in, but when he feels the opening, he immediately snaps the opponent’s hand down while taking a step back, opening the space and pulling the opponent back into the space created with an elbow.
Learn More From Benson Henderson
If you liked this video and would like to see more from Benson Henderson, make sure you check out- “Working The Cage And Walls In MMA” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.