Many point to UFC Lightweight Melvin Guillard’s grappling as a key weakness, but against Jamie Varner at UFC 155 when Guillard found himself down on the cards he began a grappling offensive. So we are going to take a quick look at the opportunistic attacks by Guillard. Here is a quick run down of the attacks we will look at:
- The Inverted Triangle
- Leg Scissors
The attacks started after a big Varner right hand and he shot for a takedown. Guillard was able to stop the shot and found himself in the position pictured bellow:
You can see that Varner’s left hand is posted on the canvas between Guillard’s legs while his right arm is on the outside of Guillard’s leg. Varner has his head and one arm in position to be locked up in a triangle, no different than when a fighter leaves his head and arm in the guard. This is an entry to an inverted triangle choke, commonly used in Judo among other arts. To fully show the compete technique here is Erik Paulson on Budovideos, who used a triangle from this same position to win his first pro fight in Japan in 1993. (The demonstration ends around 24:58)
According to Paulson, Guillard needs to under hook Varner’s right arm to keep him from posturing up, but Varner does not allow this to happen. Varner drivers under Guillard and then stands up.
At this point Varner is not out of danger and Guillard is almost in the same position as Toby Imada when he famously locked in his inverted triangle choke. Varner prevents Guillard from locking up the triangle by using his hands to control Guillard’s legs. Varner then drops down and spikes Guillard into the canvas. While this move did stop any chance of a triangle, Guillard doesn’t let it stop his attack.
Varner, having escaped the triangle, looks to spin his body towards Guillard’s head and get up into side control to ride out the last few seconds of the fight. Guillard prevents Varner from spinning by pushing his face toward his own legs. Guillard is then able to cross his feet, trapping Varner’s head, and then use his whole body to leverage Varner away.
From this position Guillard is able to threaten a choke known as the “Leg Scissors Choke”. Guillard just needed get the crook of his knee under Varner’s chin and then straighten his legs. The pressure on the neck is extreme and it can stop the blood flow to the brain to the point of forcing unconsciousness. This was the choke that rendered Kim Couture unconscious back in July of 2011.
Unclear if he had the choke with under 10 seconds left in the fight Guillard moved for one last submission.
Guillard has basically immobilized Varner with the leg scissors. Then he swings his left arm over Varner’s right, looking to lock in an armbar. The bell rang before Guillard has a chance to hug his elbow tight to his body, but if he had been able to trap Varner’s arm Guillard would have just had to arch his back and push his hips forward to hyper-extend the elbow and force the tap.
While this seems like an exotic and little used position, it is actually fairly commonly taught in grappling classes. The Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu jitsu academies, the largest association of BJJ schools in the world, teaches the leg scissors and armbar as a counter to certain head lock and neck cranks in their basic self-defense fundamentals classes.
To close, here is a video of Gracie Barra black belt Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhães teaching the position the way that I personally learned it from my instructors.
Draculino – Head Lock Escape (via DraculinoTeamTx)
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