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Striking Into The Clinch With Rafael Cordeiro

Striking Into The Clinch With Rafael Cordeiro

The clinch is one of the most vital aspects of Muay Thai and MMA. Entire fights can be won or lost in this position. The clinch allows a fighter to maintain a level of control over their opponent while standing and also land strikes and set up takedowns. If you're a fighter who does their best work in the clinch, then you better have a few ways to get into the clinch. 

You don’t just want to reach out for it because that’s a great way to get hit. If you're fighting in MMA you also don’t want to shoot if you are looking to work out of the Muay Thai or Greco-Roman style clinch. One of the best ways to get this kind of clinch is to strike your way into it. 

In this video Brazilian MMA striking coach Rafael Cordeiro shows a way to strike into the clinch and how to exit. Rafael Cordeiro is a legendary Muay Thai and overall striking coach. Rafael has worked with legendary fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Lyoto Machida and Rafael Dos Anjos and he has produced countless champions. 


The ability to enter the clinch behind strikes is a great one to have for a number of reasons. First it makes sure that you are moving forward safely and closing the distance into the clinch behind your own strikes. The second is that because you’re striking your opponent might not think that you are attempting to go for the clinch. This means that they are less likely to be ready to defend against your clinch entry. 

The video starts off with the fighter doing the drill throwing a jab. When you throw this jab, make sure that you step forward. Stepping forward will put you in a close enough range to follow up with a rear knee. After landing that rear knee you are going to go for what is known in Muay Thai as the Plum position or what is more commonly known in the west as the Muay Thai clinch. 

This is where you have both of your hands, one over the other, on the back of your opponent’s head, preferably over the crown. You will also want to have your elbows and forearms in front of your opponents collar bones, especially for the next part of this drill. 

After getting the Muay Thai clinch, your pad holder or partner is going to try t o go for  body lock under your forearms. From here the fighter with the Muay Thai clinch is going to push off their opponent with their forearms while simultaneously pushing their hips backwards. This should almost look like your sprawl with your lower body only while pushing with the upper. 

Doing this should break the grip that your opponent has on you. After freeing yourself you are going to throw another knee while controlling your opponent. When throwing this knee, you can pull your opponent into the knee with your Muay Thai clinch to increase the damage. After landing that knee you are going to once again frame off with your elbows and forearms to exit the clinch safely.

Even if you do this make sure to still move as your opponent is probably going to be looking to either throw counter shots or secure their own clinch. 

Mastering The Clinch by Rafael Cordeiro
If you liked this drill and want to learn more clinching techniques from the legendary Rafael Cordeiro, then check out his complete clinch video series “Mastering The Clinch By Rafael Cordeiro”  available exclusively on Dynamic Striking!