The Low Single with Henry Cejudo
The majority of takedowns in wrestling involve you tying up with your opponent in some shape or form. Moving them with a collar tie and inside control for a double leg, arm dragging for a sweep single, it doesn’t matter. There’s great value in using that initial contact with your opponent to disrupt their movement and manipulating their feet for your given takedown. However…
What if you wanted to hit a takedown without a typical set-up?
Enter the low single, a move popularized by the legendary Oklahoma State University wrestler and coach, John Smith. This move became synonymous with the former Cowboy after Smith became a two time national champion and won two Olympic gold medals along with six consecutive world championships. While Smith’s legacy more than qualifies him to teach it, what if you were to learn the move from another Olympic gold medalist? An Olympic gold medalist who also holds two UFC championships, perhaps?
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To celebrate his recent championship win at UFC 238, we’re turning it over to UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo to demonstrate the low single.
Cejudo starts off by maintaining a respectable distance for the shot. Notice that he’s not too close and not too far. As he mentioned, it’s a move that can be hit right off of the whistle so you wouldn’t necessarily be as close as you be for a double or sweep single. Being too far out would obviously telegraph the shot.
Another thing to point out about his stance is that he is mirroring his opponent’s stance. In the video, his opponent shoots with his left, so he decides to mirror that with his right. When he’s ready to shoot, he changes his level lower than normal to get below his opponent’s center of gravity. His shot is quick and effective, not held back by any tie-ups or setups. It’s one fluid motion. Cejudo’s hands wrap beyond the back of the heel to the other side of the foot. This grip keeps the foot in place and reduces the chance of your opponent stepping back to defend.
Cejudo also finishes the penetration with his head on the inside. This is also an important feature, as having your head on the outside with this shot exposes your back more and makes it easier to rotate and defend. Keeping the head on the inside also allows you to vary your finishes up. The video does not specifically mention how to finish the shot, but there are a few options to choose from:
- Drive forward with the shoulder and knock your opponent down
- Keep the ankle, move to your feet, and finish with a treetop.
- Sweep to the outside and transition to a single leg finish (trip, pressure the knee, run the pipe, etc.)
Wrestlers such as John Smith and Henry Cejudo have used the low single with extreme effectiveness in their careers. The ability to hit the shot off the whistle coupled with the low stance makes this move perfect for wrestlers who want to add more finesse to their game without relying heavily on tie-ups. The low single brings, without a doubt, high success.
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