Sitting the Corner and Funky Scrambling with Ben Askren
Ben Askren has been a perennial standout in the wrestling and MMA scene for years. A two-time NCAA champion, former Olympic wrestler, and former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion, Askren has seen it all and done it all and looks to continue that trend in the UFC. As of this writing, he is scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239, and what better way to prepare for this match-up than by examining his wrestling prowess?
In the video below from his instructional series, Asken discusses how to defend the single leg takedown by sitting the corner and forcing the scramble in a rather “funky” way.
Sitting the Corner
When you think about how to defend the single leg takedown, you typically consider working to create distance and get separation from your opponent. That seems like a natural response as you’re looking to control the proximity. Askren takes the opposite approach: he connects to his opponent. As shown in the video, Askren’s partner shoots in for a high crotch single leg. Rather than moving their head to the inside, Askren pushes his opponent’s head and frame farther out while rotating on his trapped leg. This rotation pulls the opponent on top of his leg, but their head is facing down, negating their movement.
Askren recommends a few ways to hold onto your opponent from here, including locking around the crotch, locking around the body, or simply grabbing onto the body with a disconnected hold. He has the connection he needs, but how does he finish from here?
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The easiest finish Askren shows is simply stepping over their leg for two points. He rotates more to cut an angle on his opponent, turks their leg with his free leg, and continues over the top for hip control.
If your opponent continues to pressure you while holding onto your leg, you can use that momentum against them. As Askren is seated and connected, he steps over with his free leg, rolls over the opponent’s top shoulder (closest to his body), and positions himself on top. You can either free the trapped leg and work a traditional half-nelson or you can keep it and work for an inside cradle. Regardless, Askren is using that forced connection to hit the roll effectively without too many moving parts.
J.P. Reese Cradle
Askren’s next finish comes from two-time NCAA Championship qualifier J.P. Reese. After sitting the corner and bringing his leg on top, he captures their head and tucks it in. From there, he rolls to his side to lock the cradle. Keeping his leg on top of his opponent’s leg is beneficial here as it strengthens the lock.
J Jaggers Cradle
To finish off the video, Askren goes over another cradle, this time by two-time NCAA champion J Jaggers. The J Jaggers cradle is similar to the J.P. Reese cradle in that you’re locking low around the leg and under the body. The difference here is that you’re forcing movement from your opponent rather than using their impatience against them. Askren hits the move by sitting the corner, locking up, and driving the opponent over their shoulder. He lets go of the body lock and switches to the head so that he can bring them onto their back. While the J.P. Reese cradle had Askren more so on his side with a trapped leg, this finish has him on his back along with his opponent, so you will need to be cautious while hitting the move to avoid pinning yourself.
With multiple finishes from a single concept of sitting the corner, Ben Askren’s funky scrambling techniques allow you to defend the single leg takedown with poise. Rather than creating distance, you close the distance yourself and use their eagerness to finish the takedown against them. With an eye for wrestling technique and substantial MMA success, Askren’s UFC journey looks to be another venture that will be funky.
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