This post is by the Bloody Elbow Grappling Coverage Team. The introduction was written by KJ Gould, and the analysis by Dan Pedersen.
While fans watching UFC 135 at home or live and in attendance had to suffer through 2 heavyweight fights that went to a plodding, gasping decision on the main Pay Per View card, the highlights — outside of Jon Jones’ successful title defense, the return of Josh Koscheck and the continuing rise of Nate Diaz — happened on the free-to-view prelimnary card.
In particular a fight that got fans buzzing was the Tim Boetsch vs Nick Ring fight that saw Boetsch come from a losing first round to a dominant second and third. Boetsch had few highlights when he fought and often lost in the UFC Light Heavyweight division save for a rag-dolling of David Heath that was so brutal and wild fans gave his style of fighting the nickname of Redneck Judo.
Seeing a resurgence at Middle Weight Boetsch put some more of his Barbarian moves on display against Ring, though his technique now more refined to go along with his balance and core strength. His best move? A whizzer into a throw Joe Rogan incorrectly called an Uchi Mata that had many since believe it was a Harai Goshi, but as Bloody Elbow’s resident judonerd Dan Pedersen will explain it wasn’t that either.
To find out what the throw was as well as a look at Boetch’s other throws and trips during the fight, join us after the jump as Dan Pedersen shares with us his analysis illustrated as always by animated gifs.
Gifs by BE reader Grappo.
This fight wasn’t just determined by Boetsch’s heavy hands and judo throws. He owes a great debt to Nick Ring — more specifically Ring’s posture, a holdover from his days as a kickboxer.
3:10 LEFT IN ROUND 2:
After a lot of running and dancing by Nick Ring, Boetsch finally manages to chase him down and clip him. Stunned, Ring drops his level and shoots in, ultimately initiating a clinch against the cage. Nick Ring has double underhooks and stands up tall, while Boetsch keeps his head low and his hips back to stay heavy. Ring fires two knees, then drops his posture briefly to drive in for a possible takedown. Ring then throws himself totally upright — with no regard for his own balance or posture — and throws the third knee.
Boetsch sees it coming and manages to grab an underhook on the leg. Because Ring is so upright and off-balance when the leg is caught he can’t maneuver to defend and it’s easy work for Boetsch to sweep the remaining leg out from underneath him.
0:14 LEFT IN ROUND 2:
More clinch work, this time in the center of the cage. Nick is either tired or thinking like a striker again because his posture goes from heavy and defensive to totally upright. This brings his hips closer to Boetsch.
Boetsch feels Ring’s posture change and turns slightly, angling off to the left. Ring needs to drop his hips and turn back into Boetsch and face him but he doesn’t seem to recognize the movement and makes no effort to defend. Boetsch capitalizes on the mental error and upright posture of Nick Ring and sweeps out his lead leg with an O Soto Gari.
MMA fans may remember Jon Jones throwing Matt Hamill — and dislocating his shoulder — with the same basic setup.
After repeated success with throws Boetsch is now openly reaching out and grabbing for the clinch in his efforts to chase Nick Ring down. Ring is doing his best to circle away and create distance but by the third round his gas tank is fading and Boetsch is finding more opportunities to connect.
1:11 LEFT IN ROUND 3:
Boetsch throws a hard straight right at an exhausted Nick Ring who ducks it but gets his own head caught in the Muay Thai plum. Ring reacts by standing upright but he gets doubled over by a knee to the gut anyway. At this point Ring is dead on his feet and trying to survive. He turns his body slightly away and forces his posture back upright, assuming his underhook under Boetsch’s right armpit is keeping him safe. Boetsch capitalizes on the opening by locking down on an overhook and attacking with a violent O Guruma.
(Gif by Zombie Prophet)
A lot of people have been claiming the throw was a Harai Goshi. You could certainly make an argument for it but I disagree, and I’ll explain why.
Harai Goshi is normally done against an opponent whose posture has already been broken down and forward. It is executed by entering the opponent’s space deeply with your hips-partially blocking his own hips, similar to an O Goshi — the standard judo-class-day-one hip toss.
Like O Goshi, you pull the opponent onto your hips but unlike O Goshi you only lift them enough to cause their legs to ‘float’. At the floating moment you sweep the opponent’s outside thigh from underneath him. Typically in the clinch you are keeping your upper body tight to his the whole way through the throw.
O Guruma looks similar to Harai Goshi but feels totally different. First, it’s thrown against an opponent who is standing tall, straight up-and-down, just like Nick Ring. Also instead of staying tight to your opponent you begin the throw from a bit further out and dramatically throw your own upper body out and down in a sort of circular orbit.
Simultaneously your attacking leg shoots across both of his legs — high, almost across his stomach — to block him from advancing. The violent rotation of your own body yanks him forward but your attacking leg stops his own legs from being able to step forward or regain balance and he goes over head first. The exaggerated circular movement also gives the throw its name, ‘Major Wheel‘.
Harai Goshi and O Guruma will often look similar but they feel drastically different. Being thrown by a Harai Goshi … it feels a bit like falling out of a hammock sideways.
O Guruma feels more like you were running in the dark and suddenly tripped face-first. Over a low fence. A low fence on the edge of a cliff. It’s a terrifying ride and the landing is often much harder.
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