TUF 15 winner and undefeated UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa is known for many things; his heart, his unorthodox striking, and most of all that his father died while he was in the Ultimate Fighter house. Today I’m going to break down one of the most lethal aspects of his game, his submission game.
Seven of Chiesa’s nine wins have come by way of submission, and most importantly, all of these submissions were a form of a choke. It’s pretty obvious that his opponents know what he’s going to go out and try to do, but they still can’t stop it. I really admire this and there are very few people who can do it, Ronda Rousey is the same way.
So first off let’s talk about how Chiesa manages to somehow get a choke locked on almost every fight. Obviously, he’s got some great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, but more importantly, he has some great wrestling skills.
There are a couple reasons this is important. Obviously his wrestling gives him the ability to take the fight to the mat where he historically knows how to finish it. Another reason his wrestling is so important is because it has taught him how to turn the corner and take someone’s back effectively.
This is important because if you look at the majority of his submissions, you find out that they come by way of rear-naked choke. So the ability to turn the corner and take the back quickly is extremely important for Chiesa’s game.
A third and final factor that Chiesa’s wrestling brings to the table is his ability to scramble. When you are in a ground fight, the person with the better scrambling ability will usually end up on top; and wrestlers have the best ability to scramble out of any of the other grappling arts.
This ability often times leads Chiesa into positions that his opponents aren’t ready for such as the mount, and the front headlock position.
Now this is where I get into the factors that are going for Chiesa that almost no one can duplicate. So if you look at Michael Chiesa’s stats he’s a 6’1” man fighting in the Lightweight division, this is something you rarely see. Chiesa has the height of at least a Middleweight, and this plays a huge factor in his game planning.
So as I said before, Chiesa likes to choke people, primarily by rear-naked choke. This is where his height and lankiness really help him. When Chiesa has the back mount, he tends to go straight into a body triangle instead of using the traditional hooks on the hips. In a traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sense this is incorrect as he can be foot locked from this position.
But this does not take in to account Chiesa’s length and ability to switch the body triangle from side to side. Once Chiesa has his opponent’s back and slaps on the body triangle it’s pretty much the beginning of the end.
The length of his legs really helps him in this position, as he uses his foot as a lever to tighten the body lock around his opponent’s midsection. As this gets tighter and tighter his opponent gets uncomfortable and begins to have to think about multiple things, and eventually gets caught in the choke.
The final detail I’m going to break down of Chiesa’s submission game is how his wingspan plays a role in finishing his chokes. Pretty much everything I say here can double for Jon Jones. We all remember how Jon Jones choked Machida silly with an inverted guillotine choke; well this is pretty much how Chiesa finishes his chokes.
Since both men have such enormously long arms for their weight class, they have the ability to switch a traditional choke into a mixture of a neck crank and inverted choke.
If you watch some of both men’s submissions they use the Gable grip to finish their rear-naked chokes and guillotines. This gives them the ability to switch from a pulling movement, to more of a pushing movement into the neck.
Hopefully this has provided you a little bit more of an in-depth view Chiesa’s great submission game, and be sure to look for these details as he takes on Jorge Masvidal on July 27th at UFC on Fox 8! Don’t forget to “like” and “share” this article!