The Tale of Two Clinches


When Dan Henderson (Pictures) clashes with Anderson Silva in Columbus, 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 opponent.

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 techniques.

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 breaking them.

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 knees.

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 position.

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 clinch.

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