5 Techniques for the Best MMA Takedown Defense 2021

In this page we will cover several techniques that professional fighters use, in order to have the best MMA takedown defense.

Avoiding or stuffing a takedown has many advantages as not only does it waste your opponent's energy, but it also allows you to dictate the fight on your terms.

guillotine wrestling mma

Table of Contents

  1. Sprawling
  2. Footwork
  3. Chokes
  4. Pummeling
  5. Knee Strikes

1. Sprawling

Sprawling is one of the most effective ways to stuff a takedown, as it is a direct movement to stop your opponent from whatever position you are currently in.

How to Sprawl

When your opponent 'shoots' for a takedown, your hips will go down against your opponent, while your feet are pushed back, and your hand pushes your opponent's head down.

Your feet create a base in order to be able to push your hips against your opponent heavily.

Pushing your hips against your opponent puts your bodyweight against them, provides leverage, and pushing the head down prevents your opponent from being able to finish the 'shot'.

If you do not push the head down, an experienced wrestler can move to either side, or even move to a double-leg and finish the shot.

Pushing the head down makes every normal movement difficult for your opponent.

However it's important to know that you don't necessarily have to push the head down with your hand, you can also 'cover' the head with your body, it just depends on what you feel comfortable with, or what situation it is.

After Sprawling

After sprawling successfully, you have many options.

Some options include sprawling back further and working on 'headlock positions', or rotating around your opponent and taking their back.

Prior to losing to Jake Paul, Ben Askren was mostly known for his insane wrestling success over the years at the collegiate and Olympic level.

He does a great job explaining how to sprawl in the video a few lines above.

wrestling mma

2. Footwork

If your opponent can't touch you, it's going to be impossible to take you down.

By moving in lateral motion, not being flat-footed, and keeping your feet moving, it will give any opponent a difficult time.

Having great footwork can frustrate opponents, and force them to take shots in angles that they're not comfortable with.

Jon Jones has one of the best takedown defenses in UFC history, and is known for having great footwork as well.

That is no coincidence.

3. Chokes

Catching someone going in for a takedown with a choke is one of the most effective ways to deal with a takedown.

However, it's also one of the riskiest.

If you don't manage to lock in the choke and force your opponent to tap, it can leave you in a very disadvantageous situation.

A great example of this is when Dustin Poirier fought Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib would shoot for a takedown, and Dustin responded by locking in the guillotine.

Khabib after the fight would go on to say it was a very good and tight guillotine however, he would escape it, and take Dustin's back.

He would go on to win the fight via a rear naked choke.

With that being said, there are other examples of chokes working vs takedowns in the open, or in the cage.

Colby Covington was actively working for a takedown and received his first loss in the UFC when his opponent jumped the guillotine and submitted him.

4. Pummeling

Pummeling mainly occurs from the clinch, and can be used for great warm ups and to build shoulder endurance as well.

Essentially, the goal of this is to not allow to let your opponent achieve the double under-hooks.

The person who is able to achieve double under-hooks can have advantageous leverage and can choose to go for a takedown, or disengage completely.

With double under-hooks, you can easily bend them forward, get their side angle, or trip them down.

5. Knee Strike

Now if all else fails, you can just hit your opponent with a flying knee just like Masvidal did to Ben Askren.

Oh poor Askren.

Masvidal incapacitated Askren with a flying knee in the fastest knockout in UFC history.

And to be honest, it was faster than 5 seconds.. It just took the referee an extra few seconds to get there and wave it off.