When Dan Henderson
clashes with Anderson Silva
Ohio, Saturday, the anticipated UFC middleweight title fight will
likely come down to similar yet unique philosophies.
Why is the champion Silva's Thai plum so devastating? What makes
the controlling Henderson's Greco-Roman tie-ups so effective?
We take a look at the different clinch philosophies and
applications, and breakdown how they could impact the anticipated
UFC 82 main event.
Pressing the forearms against an opponent's collarbone and wrapping
your hands around the head of an opponent while pinching the
forearms together achieves the conventional muay Thai clinch.
Correct hand placement of a Thai clinch would be one of the
following two options. The first grip is achieved by placing the
palm of one hand on the back of an opponent's neck while the other
hand is placed directly on top of the first hand -- the inside of
one hand is covering the back of the other. The second option would
be a palm-to-palm grip on the back of the neck while squeezing the
forearms together to control the head and neck of your
A muay Thai clinch is an effective way to control an aggressive
adversary. While in the Thai clinch, strikes can be thrown with the
knees to the body, legs or head. Elbow strikes are also common and
can be achieved by securing the back of an opponent's neck with one
hand and striking with the elbow of the free hand. Due to the close
range, elbow strikes are both a practical and effective weapon.
Other benefits of using the Thai clinch would be that it allows for
the opportunity to perform several types of throws, trips and sweep
A common technical error that should never be practiced is
interlacing the fingers behind an opponent's neck. Interlacing the
fingers allows your opponent the ability to counter your clinch by
grabbing your hands and twisting your fingers, perhaps spraining or
One effective way to counter a Thai clinch would be to body lock
your opponent. A body lock is achieved when the fighter being put
in the clinch wraps both of his arms around the attacker's torso
while pulling their hips close together. This neutralizes the space
and the leverage that is needed to strike effectively with
Greco-Roman wrestling is a form of wrestling in which attacks below
the waist are prohibited. A Greco clinch -- an upper-body tie-up
between two combatants -- is the foundation of Greco-Roman
wrestling. Being able to control and ultimately take down an
opponent using this type of clinch is essential in Greco.
Similarly, it has become essential in mixed martial arts. The sport
has evolved tremendously since its inception in the early 1990s.
The Greco clinch has become common practice and is extremely
necessary in close-range fighting. In fact, it has become just as
important as punching, kicking and jiu-jitsu in that modern mixed
martial artists must know at least the basic workings of the
Standard Greco clinches include over-under control and the body
lock. Over-under control is achieved when both fighters are
standing chest to chest and have the exact same positions with
their arms. One arm is under an opponent's armpit while the other
is controlling an overhook on an opponent's near arm. A body lock
is attained when both arms are locked around the upper body and
under the armpits. From this position, common attacks include
throws, trips or sweeps of the legs.
Pummeling is the best defense to Greco clinches. It involves
defending the double-underhook body lock by swimming one of your
arms under the armpits to maintain the over-under clinch or a Thai
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