Sweep Them Off Their Feet With Benson Henderson
It’s easy to get caught up in striking while well, striking. This means that it becomes easy to forget about the clinch game that is so common and important in MMA. The clinch is probably one of the most underrated and under trained areas of combat sports, at least when it comes to MMA.
The clinch in the west is seen as either a way to stall the fight and burn out the clock or a way to stop taking damage from your opponent. Despite this general idea, there is a lot that can be done out of the clinch and it’s not just hugging. The clinch is a place where a fighter can overpower their opponent, land heavy shots like knees and elbows or even punches that can score points and maybe even knockdown or knockout an opponent.
The clinch is also the perfect place for someone to take down opponents, especially if they aren't confident in their ability to shoot for double or single leg takedowns from space. The clinch is where upper body grappling and takedowns are king, like throws and sweeps.
That being said in this video, former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion and current top Bellator Lightweight contender Benson Henderson goes over a bodylock sweep that builds off your opponents defense.
The move itself starts from an over under clinch position. From there you are going to grab a bodylock and with the bodylock you’re going to step around your opponent’s lead leg with your rear leg. This is to make them think that you're going for a take down from that position, which will likely cause them to defend. A common defense to this set up is to simply step back with your lead leg. This is what you want your opponent to do in this situation, as it will take their mind off of their other leg, leaving it completely open for a simple and easy follow up.
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The follow up is a sweep with the leg that is in front of what was your opponent's rear leg, simply reach your corresponding leg behind it and perform a sweep. Just pulling their leg out from under them might be enough to get them on their back but some opponents you might face will have pretty good balance and takedown defense.
To guarantee that the sweep lands, you can also push forward using your body, still maintaining that bodylock, to completely push your opponent to the ground. This takedown will score you some points, especially if you pull it off well. It will also land you into a good position if you are smart with how you land, easily ending up in side control or half guard where you can attack with either ground and pound or move to a better position for a submission.
This sweep is a great one to land if you have landed a different takedown of the first step up, this way you can constantly keep your opponent guessing as to what you are going to do.
If you want to learn more takedowns like this and others off of the cage for MMA check out Working The Cage with Benson Henderson!