Table of Contents
Single Leg, More Options
Single legs are probably the most versatile takedown in combat sports. There are tons of ways to finish, and probably more ways to find yourself with one. You can shoot and pick one up, wrestle up on a single, drop down on one along the cage, and many many more. If you’re a grappler and you’ve never wrestled outside of jiujitsu training and competition two things are probably true:
- You’ve been taught to never shoot for takedowns with your head on the outside
- Your wrestling sucks
I’m sorry to inform you that if you think the first point is correct then the second one definitely is.
Head outside takedowns are extremely powerful because they allows you to lift your opponent off of the floor or run towards their backside. Here is Daniel Cormier demonstrating both with a single leg.
Daniel Cormier vs Josh Barnett
Daniel Cormier vs Roy Nelson
I understand why jiujitsu instructors tell their students to never shoot for head outside takedowns. They want to prevent front head lock counters and all of the chokes that come from that position. When they do this they’re actually reinforcing poor wrestling and limiting your offense. Running forward on a head outside single literally makes your opponent fall to the floor so you can take their back. Sounds pretty sweet for a jiujitsu competitor if you ask me. Instead of pretending head outside takedowns don’t exist, what should you do?
Humping Hips & High Heads
You run into trouble with head outside takedowns when you’re not running, really. When you get your hands on a single or double leg and your head is outside you need to do two things:
- Move your feet so you’re running towards your opponent’s backside
- Posture so your head is high - we call that biting the shoulder
The combination of those two queues will put your hips right beside your opponents and make it difficult for them to sprawl, secure a front head lock, and counter from there. One fighter that is excellent at using leg attacks to get to their opponent’s back side is Aljamain Sterling.
- Sterling touches a single before switching off to a double
- Johns attempts to wrap up Sterling’s head
- Sterling is running forward while posturing so Johns’s arm flies off of Sterling
- Sterling switches to a body lock and gets his hips in on Johns
- Sterling lifts Johns to complete the takedown
Aljamain Sterling vs Brett Johns
Sterling is excellent at chain wrestling to the fence to get in on his opponent’s hips and take the back. Generally you’ll see him pick up a leg and run at his opponent until they fall over or the fence stops them. Both of those result in Sterling being able to move towards his opponent’s backside where he can secure back mount and do his best work. We’ll see if he can make it happen against Henry Cejudo this Saturday. Unfortunately for today we’re just at 500 words now.