Xtreme Couture Coach Neil Melanson Hits Home with Wrestlers

By: Sherdog.com Staff
Jan 28, 2013
Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts grappling coach Neil Melanson, on “Rewind,” discussing his work with wrestlers:

“If you look at [Randy Couture’s] fight with Josh Barnett, Randy was winning the fight and there was a certain part where Barnett basically took him down in a scramble, and instead of popping back up and wrestling like Randy did his whole life, because he was training jiu-jitsu he actually went to full guard. That was a death sentence. … Not to insult Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But the reality is that these guys like Randy that have been wrestling their whole life, now you’re going to try to teach them to do things that are totally against what they do? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Jiu-jitsu’s not just about the bottom game. There’s a lot of great top-game Brazilian jiu-jitsu guys. …

“I love working with wrestlers. I call them the top-game masters because the attitude I want them to have is to not be afraid of jiu-jitsu because a lot of jiu-jitsu guys are finesse players. They work angles and they’re very good with high-level techniques, but a lot of times, when a wrestler knows that defense, if he gets in their face and smashes on top of them and tight-waists them and hits them hard and butt drags them, it’s actually going to be very foreign to Brazilian jiu-jitsu because that’s not something they really do. … I think that’s why I hit home a lot with these types of wrestlers like Chael [Sonnen] or Michael Chandler. I try to focus on what they already do well and have been doing their whole life and just adapt it too a grappling situation or an MMA situation.”

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