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Study of Demian Maias takedown tactics – BJJ in MMA Breakdown

Study of Demian Maias takedown tactics – BJJ in MMA Breakdown


Demian Maia, he’s a fourth-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt, an ADCC champion and perhapsthe greatest grappler in mixed martial arts. But as a practitioner of a ground-based fighting art a key part of his game is how he takes the fight to
the ground and in this breakdown we will be examining his favorite takedown
tactics. Let’s start with his setups, his most common entry into his shots is the
jab fake where he faints his jab in order to draw a reaction out of his
opponent by either blocking or a counter shot and when they do react he
drops his level underneath their lead hand and straight onto a single leg.
Another way is waiting for his opponent to jab or step in with their lead leg
and as soon as they extend their leg Demian Maia will time it and drop down into a single leg as a southpaw with his right leg forward the single leg shot is a much
quicker and easier option that is always there against Orthodox opponents once
Demian Maia gets in on the single leg his preferred finish is running the pipe
where he rotates his outside leg backwards which spins the opponent while at the same time dropping head shoulder and chest pressure down on the
opponent’s thigh this shifts the opponent’s centre of gravity to a point
where they would need the use of their trapped leg to stand and maintain balance but instead they’re forced to sit down. This finish works in open space but also
against the fence where you must rotate your opponent away and off the fence to
prevent them from using it to lean on and maintain balance in place of their
trapped leg. While it is most common to do this with the head on the inside Demian Maia has also used this finish with the head on the outside and while this is not
surprising in wrestling, in BJJ where submissions are involved this is often
seen as too risky in a rookie mistake as it gives your neck to the opponent for a
guillotine choke. While that risk certainly does exist here it is being
used safely against multiple high level competitors from the single leg another
finish Demian Maia executes is the back trip where he’s outside hand may reach and
secure hip control on the far waste of his opponent as he looks to trip the far leg
out from underneath them while circling his way down to the mat and over the top
of the blocked leg this will result in Demian Maia taking the back or landing in top position and he will even look to trip the far leg without gaining control of
the waist. Demian Maia will also look to trip the near leg proactively hooking it
after his shot if he is unable to lift it or if his opponent can get it back to
the mat and this all works in combination with his back taking
strategy of constantly spiralling around his opponent looking to secure hooks. In
fact in his first MMA fight Demian Maia charges straight into the clinch and immediately circles to the back and executes a trip on his opponent. Although
it does have the goal of securing his hooks once he gets the back and secures
a body lock he has a variety of trips he will execute to bring his opponent to
the mat most often he is blocking a leg and dragging his weight and the opponent
backwards over the top of it but he will also continuously hack away at any leg
of the opponents that is available to attack as a means of destabilizing them
and breaking them down. Here against the fence Demian Maia
looks for a trip which allows him to begin rotating towards his opponents back now
from a T – position he looks to trip again which rotates him all the way to
the back where he completes the takedown. The trip against the fence is another of
Demian Maia’s favorite takedowns. Once there Demian Maia will look to secure under hooks and trip the opponent by reaping at the calf and rotating them away from the fence
and dropping his weight at the same time this is made easier if the opponent’s
foot is placed away from the edge of the fence but Demian Maia will also stretch to
the hook if necessary. One danger in executing trips in this fashion is that
during the process of lifting your leg to trip you momentarily place yourself
at a disadvantage as soon as you lift a leg to trip you now only have one point
of balance while your opponent still has two and even three if they are leaning
against the fence this creates a risk of your opponent reversing the takedown and landing in top position regardless of that risk Demian Maia was able to make this takedown work consistently maybe in part due to his opponent’s hesitation in
wanting to go to the ground at all. He had success with this technique even
from a front headlock position and was able to score the takedown in open space
and I also have to mention the amazing lateral drop he scored on Chael Sonnen
then immediately transitioned into a triangle choke for the win. Demian Maia
will also switch to a double leg if necessary when he does his favourite means of
finishing is to turn the corner which he does by pushing off from his outside leg
to drive his force at an angle across his opponent’s hips. Driven by his
pursuit for the back Demian Maia will constantly spiral and rotate towards his
opponent’s back taking them to the ground with him. An on occasion he will also switch to a
double leg against the fence favouring a bump and dump where he can secure his
hands together behind the back of his opponents and then bump them off the
fence also if you remember back to the start of the analysis where we covered
running the pipe well if the first attempt of that is not successful
it sets up a switch to a double leg by reaching for the far knee and driving
across the opponent’s hips and here is a very interesting leg entanglement that
Maya uses to sweep and secure a double leg takedown. Another option that Maya
would use to secure a takedown is to pull guard his general sequence would be
to take a shot and then if sprawled on you would look to scoot into a half
guard position secure and under hook and then use it to sweep or stand back up
and finish a takedown or else he would jump guard from an upper body clinch
with an over hook a pulling guard does come with obvious risks but Demian Maia
made it work for him on multiple occasions at a high level. I do have a full series in
the pipeline on pulling guard in MMA so subscribe if that is an area that
interests you. So where to from here well aside from a brief moment as K1 Maia,
when he turned into a kickboxer, his submission game has been one of the
sharpest in all of the UFC taking him to 12 submission victories and working his
way into two title shots in two different weight categories. No matter
what happens in his future he will always be known as one of the greatest
grapplers in freestyle fighting but I would be remiss to conclude this
breakdown without mentioning that Demian Maia is now 0 for 49 takedown attempts in his last 3 UFC bouts with all of his opponents able to completely shut out
his takedown game and nullify any chance of a submission being accomplished. An
important note is that a common thread with all three of these opponents
was that each one was an all-american folk style wrestler so that leaves me
with a question if the submission techniques and effectiveness of a
ground-based fighting art is completely negated if you cannot get the fight to
the ground then how much emphasis should be placed on takedowns within that
system it is also worth noting that the rate of submission victories overall in
the UFC has been falling however this is not a reflection of jiu-jitsu being less
applicable but rather the level of jiu-jitsu has risen across the board as
now every UFC competitor will be training with jiu-jitsu practitioners
day in day out and if a competitor was to stop training jiu-jitsu or submissions
and let a skill disparity develop that will quickly find themselves submitted.
With that being the case is it better to focus for MMA on going for takedowns
control and ground striking let me know your thoughts on this and possible
solutions in the comments below and that concludes our study on Demian Maia’s takedown game if you would like to see more and his guard pulling techniques in the
future then subscribe so you don’t miss that video in the meantime like share
and please comment below on any questions or queries you may have. Peace!

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39 thoughts on “Study of Demian Maias takedown tactics – BJJ in MMA Breakdown

  1. Damien is one of the better takedown artists with a BJJ pedigree. Far too often I see Jiu Jitsu fighters with rather sloppy, uncommitted takedowns. And in my opinion wrestling, clinching and takedowns are the middle ground of MMA and is the most important aspect of the sport. Whether You're an anti wrestler looking to keep it standing or BJJ black belt looking to strangle someone, it's the most important but often overlooked area of the sport

  2. You need for everything 💯💯💯💯💯💯💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻beautiful video thanks for sharing

  3. Modern MMA rulesets where you can't wear a gi, have 5-minute rounds, wear gloves, and the referee will stand people up for stalling, are much less favorable to ground grappling than early UFC.

  4. I am not an expert so take my words with caution. Answering your question I think in MMA is better going for takedowns, control and then ground stryking, taking submissions only if there is an opportunity and not as the first option. Look at Khabib or Askren fights and their analysis for better understanding of what I mean.

  5. awesome stuff man keep it up nobody likes to show grappling analyst only takedown defense and striking stuff a colby covington breakdown would be nice as well as a pro mma fighter ilove to look and find little details i can use

  6. I feel the solution to the problem is that a grappler should know every aspect of grappling, not just practice one individually, but all of them together. After all, what does your Jiu Jitsu matter if you can’t take somebody down? What if you’re a wrestler, but somebody else’s Jiu Jitsu will just submit you on the ground? It just creates a stalemate where two people will struggle more than they should despite all the time they put to learn a martial art. You really see how fantastic a fighter can be when they blend all aspects of grappling together, like Khabib, with Judo, wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu.

  7. When people say Maia is the best grappler in MMA, are they referring to his entire grappling game (takedowns, takedown defence, ground game) or just his BJJ? I am not an experienced grappler so it's hard for me to assess his technical skill. When I watch him I always get the impression his ground game is light years ahead of everyone else and when it's taken to the ground it's pretty much game over, but his takedowns don't always seem as smooth as some of the guys who have great wrestling backgrounds (e.g. Daniel Cormier). Is this a correct observation or is it just that Maia has a slightly different style?

  8. All fighters should start in the next round where they ended in the previous round. If it ended on the ground, fights should start on the ground in the next round.

  9. I have always said that the reason BJJ is being used less in modern MMA is because a lot of the BJJ experts and specialist lack proper chain wrestling. Anthony Pettis for example is a technical BJJ guy, but seems to not understand all fundamentals of folk style wrestling and when he was going on that losing streak against guys like Alvarez and RDA it was because Pettis only knew how to defend basic takedowns and if he did get taken down he would automatically rely on his Jiu Jitsu instead of getting up and that time going for submissions is the time his opponent has to coast and that is also time that Pettis is losing. As someone who has wrestled and done BJJ for years (years more of wrestling experience btw) if you know the basic fundamentals of getting over the legs and the proper knowledge of defending submissions and sweeps, than it’s easy to coast on someone, which is why imo wrestlers have more success in MMA, than BJJ experts. However, guys like Jacare, Reis and Maia during their recent winning streaks showed proper knowledge of technical wrestling and were dominating their opponents with ease once it got on the ground. Now imagine what a guy like Charles Olivera or Mickey Gall would be like if they understood chain wrestling and used technical wrestling more to their advantage. I think Maia was on to the BJJ expert+chain wrestling trend, but lost focus and relied too much on his bread and butter (that and going against high level wrestlers in his last couple of bouts). The great thing about BJJ is it can be used in many styles and I think it’s full potential as yet to be seen in MMA.

  10. We can't ignore that Maia took the Woodley and Usman fight on short notice. We also can't ignore that Maia is pushing 40 years old. So he's old, and facing his worst stylistic match ups on 3 weeks notice. It's no surprise that he hasn't looked great lately. Maia has the 7th most landed takedowns in UFC history. It's a shame that people will probably forget this fact, and forget that he was top ten for a decade across two divisions—instead they'll cling to the times when Maia failed—something 99.9 percent of fighters do, and most of them fail a lot more often than Maia— and then they'll say he's too one dimensional.

    Even the most well rounded fighters lose, and a lot of those well rounded guys have much worse records than Maia. Maia has beat guys far more well rounded than himself. So I never understand the "he's too one dimensional" comment as a negative critique. That one dimension got him further than the majority of well rounded fighters ever get. Ask the "well rounded" fighters that Maia beat if Maia was too one dimensional.

  11. I think for a ground fighter the priority is to develop the takedown, the wontrary is like having a plane and developing the wing designt o improve the fly with no runway and weels to actually start flying. It is the same for strikers, they have to develop strong distance management and wresling defence,

  12. Bjj stand up grappling is just wrestling and judo, fundamentals of bjj in ground are very similar to judo. Also bjj influenced by catch wrestling and borrow a lot things by luta livre in 90s, bjj is a mixed grappling art

  13. They've already tried having a takedown heavy ground and pound in the earlier UFC when Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman. Then it was stopped when the BJJ practitioners started learning how to use BJJ for what it is intended for. And that's how to win a fight with punches being thrown and not a sport based grappling art where you don't have to worry about punches raining down on you when you're in someone's mount, or you have them in your guard for that matter. Then everyone (even wrestlers) started training in BJJ. Consequently, the skill of the fighters went up. Now we're full circle where a lot of fighters have focused so much on BJJ that they've abandoned wrestling training. The majority of strikers even have some level of BJJ even if it's purely for defensive purposes to get back to their feet. But they don't train wrestling takedowns.

  14. Any word on the guard pulling video you mention here? I like the insights and I'm keen to hear your thoughts on that

  15. The biggest problem with BJJ based fighters is that too much emphasis is placed on remedial boxing and high risk shooting instead of advanced clinching and low risk trips throws&trips. They let themselves get stiff armed and sprawled out of the fight, instead of posing an actual threat on their feet with a wider array of techniques. Once you are able to work the leg with oblique and roundhouse kicks the sprawl is less of a threat, and elbows and knees in the clinch will take the wind out of a fighter before he even hits the ground. The sad thing is you are probably better off with G&P even when you get them into your preferred range, so BJJ will probably die out in MMA because guard is all it has to offer – and why learn guard before sprawl when it is an inferior position?

  16. u got any new vids coming out soon? looking forward to some good ones!!

    one thing id like is for someone to show some good examples of guys turning the hips to avoid bottom guy wall walking most guys today after a takedown butt scoot till their butt/back touches the fence then they get back up id like to see some good ways of turning them so they cant wall walk when you are controlling their hips off a double for example.

    i feel that position is extremely important to know as a top guy because it can cost you the fight completely all that work for him to get back up so making sure to turn them or whatever technique you use so they arnt back to scoot to the fence and get back to the feat is a skillset not taught at all from what i see not a single vid online about it and iv been searching

  17. O Maia é uma lenda! Ele é um dos melhores lutadores de jiu-jítsu da história juntamente com Royce e o Rickson. Orgulho do Brasil 🇧🇷.

  18. So, Sonny, what makes his outside single so safe? Does he just do something we can't see or do the adversaries of Maya have no confidence in actually trying to grapple with him?

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