Geek for Technique: Best Moves at UFC Fight Night 131

By: Kevin Wilson
Jun 4, 2018
Most people slept on UFC Fight Night 131 in Utica, New York, because of the lack of star power and it being on a Friday, but the card delivered fantastic finishes and some close decisions. Today we go over the best techniques and strategies of UFC Utica.

In the opening bout of the night, Jose Torres took on Jarred Brooks and the fight ended in rare fashion. Brooks shot for a double leg takedown against the cage, but allowed Torres to slightly slip out and wrap his arms around his waist as he lifted him up. In a moment of panic, Brooks didn’t know how to finish the takedown from this position and decided to slam Torres on his back but ended up knocking himself out in the process.

Since this is such an unusual position and slam for mixed martial arts, the best example I can show you is the professional wrestling move named “The Canadian Destroyer.” The Canadian destroyer is obviously more theatric, but the wrap around the waist and slam on their back is very similar. When the WWE screens a warning to “never try this at home,” this is why.

Ben Saunders took on Jake Ellenberger, with both men were coming off brutal knockout losses and were looking to get back on track before the sport moves on from them. Just three minutes into the fight, Saunders grabbed his favorite muay Thai plum clinch grip behind the head and hammered in knees to the body. It was this perfectly placed knee to the liver that dropped Ellenberger and finished the fight in the first round. We know Saunders has some of the best jiu-jitsu in the sport, but many forgot he also has a fantastic clinch game.

Next up was the sole heavyweight fight of the night with Walt Harris taking on Daniel Spitz. In what was a boring fight until the finish, Harris walked Spitz to the cage and hurt him with a beautiful counter left after Spitz’s leg kick. Spitz had nowhere to go besides backwards to the cage, where Harris was able to land another left hand set up with the lead hook and rained down vicious elbows to get the late finish.

In the co-main event, top prospect Gregor Gillespie took on Vinc Pichel. Late in the second round Gillespie grabbed a single leg from Pichel’s missed leg kick and swept his post leg to secure the takedown. Moments later, Gillespie locked up an arm triangle and finished the choke from half guard. Generally, arm triangles are difficult to finish from half guard and require you to pass to side control to finish the submission. Gillespie must have one hell of a squeeze as he didn’t even attempt to pass and knew he could get the tap from where he was.

In the much-anticipated main event, two top contenders in Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes battled to decide who gets the next shot at the bantamweight title. Most had this fight as dead even and few expected it to end like this. Some might say this was a lucky kick but if you watch closely, Moraes set it up perfectly and baited Rivera to drop his hands. Before the kick, notice the negligent jab Moraes throws to get a reaction out of Rivera. As he throws the jab, Rivera feints a jab of his own while dropping his rear hand just a bit. Knowing Rivera will look for his own jab, Moraes feints the jab while throwing the switch kick, which Rivera attempts to counter and again drops his rear hand leaving him open for the switch kick. In just 30 seconds, Moraes successfully read Rivera’s reactions and baited him into a Thai-style switch kick that ended the fight and could earn him the next shot at the bantamweight title.

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