Here’s my friend and training partner “The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Austrailia” middleweight champ Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (@eliastheodorou) showing some fundamental and useful details about ground and pounding from the top of the half guard. He’s demonstrating the technique on another excellent Canadian MMA Fighter, Alex Ricci (@alexriccimma).
Elias has a very strong top game consisting of great control and ground and pound. He’s also a great guy! Check out the technique breakdown video below:
I found some old highlight footage of my final hard sparring session before UFC fight night 7.
Definitely brings back a lot of memories!
Makes me miss training with my long-time striking coach Vito Brancaccio. The guy is a striking wizard!
We always have our fighters finish their training camps up with 5×5 minute rounds of sparring with a fresh partner rotating in every 2.5 minutes. It’s brutal when you’re the man in the middle! Big thanks to my friends “40 Sons”for their pumped up music track “Hurricane”!
I didn’t get a chance to post last night as I forgot my laptop charger cord at the gym.
It’s 9:30am and I’m back at Joslin’s MMA now; about to put the Pro MMA fighters through a wrestling workout.
Yesterday was a great day of training! In the morning a bunch of mma fighters from the area came in for some no-gi rolling with our guys. A few guys have big fights coming up so we worked on positional drilling: Mainly escaping from bad positions. We had everyone pair up and then one fighter would start on the bottom of side control for 5 minutes straight. His goal? To recover his guard position, escape back to his feet, reverse the position or apply a submission hold. After the 5 minutes expired the other partner took his turn on the bottom. The job of the top fighter was to apply controlled ground and pound, catch a submission hold or establish the dreaded mount position. Getting mounted in a fight sucks! (fortunately I’ve never been mounted in an MMA fight but I know it’s brutal). It’s these types of drills that make you very tough to mount so be sure to practice them regularly.
I’m going to go hit the mats now and afterwards hitting up Spring Sushi with the wife. That place is awesome!
Tip of the Day
In training, put yourself in troublesome positions and situations. Work your escapes, stay safe and build your confidence in worst case scenarios. Staying calm no matter what’s happening during a fight is critical. It’ll save your energy and you’ll sap the opponent’s confidence once you defend and escape some of his best controlling positions. This type of defense will not come to you magically. You must hone it in training so get out there and allow your training partners take your back or pass your guard to side control/mount on a semi-regular basis.
I recently came across a forum post where someone was asking about fighting tips vs. a southpaw. I threw up a reply sharing some of the things that I like do use against leftys:
1) Jab over their lead arm from the outside. You’ll need to step outside of their lead foot a bit as you do so that you can keep your jab technically sound with your elbow in tight. Stepping outside of their lead leg is an important motion to use when you attack a southpaw; it will take you off the line of fire and make it tougher for them to hit you with their lead hook.
2) Follow that jab or multiple jabs (moving forward to close the distance as you do) by stepping in and snatching his front leg up into a single leg takedown position. You can also drive him to the cage with the single leg grip so that you can change off to a cage double leg or even a high crotch on the far leg if he’s defending well.
3) Keep your power side weapons ready to attack as a southpaw will often have trouble defending them. Lead with your straight right hand at long range and fire off your right uppercut or right body shot if he’s a bit closer. You can land a strong long range right hook through his guard or a rear leg knee strike down the middle as well. Keep in mind that he can do these same things to you.
4) Finish your punching combos with a lead hook so that you can spin off (and move) to the side opposite his power side. If you finish with a rear hand cross, he can follow it back with a counter cross that can really hurt you.
5) Evade his jab by slipping your head to your left (outside his jab). Use this to set up combinations that start with your lead hook or lead uppercut.
6) If he likes to box, smash the inside of his lead leg with your rear leg low kick. Be sure to set it up with your jabs. Do the same thing if he likes to move a lot as it will slow him down.
7) Use your lead hand to pick his jab (just turning your hand very little (palm towards him) to block his punch) and immediately smash him with your right cross.
I just got in the door with a delicious steak pita in hand from the Pita Pit.
Early this morning I worked with some of our MMA fighters. We focused on the most important punch there is: the jab. I had the guys warm-up with few rounds of shadowboxing (3 minute round instead of our normal five minute) then it was time to spar.
Rather than having them free spar I limited their attacks to only the jab. For the first few rounds I had them both trying to land jabs while constantly using their picking, parrying, and head movement skills to avoid any incoming jabs. After that I had one athlete attack with the jab for an entire round while the other fighter only defended. Their roles switched in the following round. After sparring was complete I had them drill some of my favourite jab techniques until their lead shoulders were toast. In the end they probably threw more than 1000 jabs.
Immediately after the pro session was done I threw my gi and spent an hour drilling BJJ techniques with one of my purple belts, Dylan. We finished up with 3 x 10 minutes of rolling which was a lot of fun.
Back home now, I just finished up my food and will be heading back to Joslin’s in an hour or so to teach the evening classes. For BJJ we’ll be focusing on the spider guard and in the kickboxing class I’ll be having them work their knee strikes.
I’ll post more soon!
Tip of the Day
When throwing your jab make sure that your lead foot is completely flat on the floor and that your knee is bent over top over your toes at the same time. Combine this with a slight lean forward (so that your chest is directly in line with your lead leg’s thigh) and you will punch with greater power and far less effort.
We had a good morning of training today.
One of our fighters, Dave Hale, lead our pro fight team through a great Muay Thai session. Dave has a ton on Muay Thai knowledge and does a great job of teaching it as well. I love it as well because it gives me a chance to learn different details, techniques and concepts that I can quickly add to my game.
I’ll be picking my daughter up from school in few minutes then it’s off to Joslin’s MMA to teach for around five hours. My son will be coming with me so that he can do the adult BJJ class at 7pm. I didn’t even have to ask him! Maybe he’s catching the martial arts bug :).
Have a great night!
Tip of the Day
As a martial artist the learning must never end. When you think you know it all that’s when you fall behind. I believe it’s very important to study as much as you can and to always be ready to learn things from the people you train with.
“Everyone is your superior in one way or another” was a great quote I came across a while back. Be sure to keep your eyes open for new techniques that can potentially be game changers once you add them to your skill set.
Just sitting around our hotel room after having some breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
I had a couple of eggs cooked over easy and I must say…the restaurants here in Calgary are pretty kick ass.
Ryan Dickson ended up winning his fight last night -at Hard Knocks MMA- by armlock in the 2nd round. It was a very tough fight as he opponent had some great movement and striking skills.
The win takes Ryan to 7-2 as a pro and 13-2 overall with all his victories by finish. It feels like yesterday when we were at his first amateur fight; Amazing how fast times flies by!
It’s about time for us to head to the airport for our flight home. I’m looking forward to seeing my wife and kids.
I’m going to start posting daily on here, sharing with you more of whats going on with my training, the gym and our athletes.
I’m sitting here in out hotel room in Calgary, Alberta at the end of a busy day. Our pro MMA fighter Ryan Dickson made weight tonight for the Hard Knocks MMA event which takes place tomorrow night at a local casino. It’s going to be an awesome event!
Ryan is in the main event fight and is very excited to get in there and do his thing. Our friend Dr. Callum Cowan came with us for the trip and has been a huge help this weekend and over the two years that he has been working with Ryan as well.
Dr. Callum is a specialist in High Performance Sports Medicine and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping athletes perform and train at their best. He has helped Ryan train at a peak level during training camp and has assisted him in easily making weight for every one of his fights. With Ryan soon making the drop to the 155lbs division Dr. Callum will definitely play a major part in helping him get there.
Eric Wong and I are looking forward to interviewing Dr. Callum on our “MMA Training Show” podcast very soon. I know that he’s got some very helpful stuff to share with us and all of our listeners.
Check out this video where Dr. Callum describes one very effective method of weight cutting for MMA: The Epsom Salt Bath:
Also be sure to check out Dr. Callum’s website at www.phenomHPM.com
After receiving a bunch of emails asking to see more videos about the uppercut (lead uppercut in particular) I decided to film a breakdown of the lead uppercut punch. I also include simple way to disguise the attack while throwing it with more power and snap than ever before.
The lead uppercut is a great technique to use when:
- Your opponent is expecting a hook after your cross because that is what you’ve thrown often throughout your sparring rounds or fight with them
- Your opponent leans forward to avoid your hooks and straight punches or because one of those punches has rocked them a bit.
- You sense your opponent is about to try and take you down with a leg attack such as a double leg or single leg takedown.
- Your opponent is standing very square and open for the uppercut right up the middle between his guarding hands.
- You slip your opponent’s (a right handed one) cross to the outside.
- You block an opponent’s body shot with your lead arm.
- Your opponent is walking towards you without jabbing. You must throw a jab(s) while backing up then, after turning yourself into lead uppercut throwing position, let it fire!
Here’s the video breaking things down the punch and a setup: