(Video courtesy of YouTube/OfficialGSP)
A technique that isn’t used as much in mixed martial arts as it is in collegiate wrestling is the low single leg takedown. The reason why we don’t see it very often is the move is risky as there are punches allowed in MMA and with your hands clasped behind your opponent’s heel, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to take a few shots before you get the takedown.
If you aren’t Brock Lesnar and eating a few punches isn’t a concern, read on.
Close the distance: Because you are giving up your back and leaving yourself vulnerable, you should only attempt this move when you are no farther than arm’s length from your opponent. Otherwise, he will have enough time to react and possibly avoid the takedown.
Drop your center of gravity: Bend both knees and drop to one knee (your lead leg), putting the majority of your weight on that knee. Your center of gravity must be below your opponent’s before attempting this move.
Launch forward off of your back leg: Shoot the same side shoulder as your lead leg at your opponent’s forward leg and make sure your head is between your opponent’s feet. The takedown is explosive and should be done with one fluid motion. To practice the move, attach resistance bands to a wall or heavy object (such as a weigh bench) and repetitions of the shoot until you have it down pat.
Make impact between your opponent’s leg and your shoulder just below the knee: It’s imperative that your body is low enough for the move to work. A common mistake many people make is that they are not low enough. Your head should be less than a foot from the mat.
Clasp both hands at your opponent’s Achilles tendon: Use a Gable grip. It’s easy to apply quickly and tough for your opponent to break.
Push and pull the leg: Pull your opponent’s heel towards you and up slightly at the same time you push his knee forward with your shoulder. Keep your legs moving forward while you drive your opponent backwards. Knees are single-jointed, so either he falls on his but or gets his knee hyperextended like he would if caught in a kneebar.
Maintain a dominant position. When he hits the ground, your opponent will likely be scrambling to get back up. Don’t give him the opportunity. Quickly pass into side control or mount if possible, unless you’re confident that you won’t be in trouble in his guard. A split second can mean the difference between a wasted takedown and a golden opportunity. Another viable option if you have leg locks dialed in is to throw on a kneebar or an ankle lock since your opponent’s drumstick is ripe for the picking. It’s dealer’s choice.
*Editor’s note: Anyone else notice how big Rory MacDonald is? The kid’s going to be a monster.