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Analyzing the Ground Game: Ben Henderson the Vicious Gumby
July 1st, 2012
Photo: Esther Lin
Benson Henderson's journey to the UFC Lightweight Championship has been characterized by some of the most dynamic grappling exchanges the MMA realm has seen. He may have started as a humble NAIA
Henderson started his career jumping on the mid west pro MMA circuit, the name of his first event was called Midwest Fighting Championships – Gensis back in 2006. Henderson would garner a record of four wins and one loss before MFC picked him up scoring two more victories. He took one fight in EVO MMA before Zuffa owned WEC signed him and so the story goes.
Benson has shown his ever growing store of ground techniques against opponents who on paper far exceed his accolades. This never stopped Bendo. Through his destruction of renown grapplers like Jim Miller, and Mark Bocek Bendo has shown a will that does not break and beyond all logic recently has yet to be submitted.
In this article we will explore the greatness that is Bendo's ground game.
The tools we will review:
Inside and outside trips
Bendo's blast double/ transition double
Ground and Pound
Inside and outside trips
One of the most simple and broadly used take down attacks in all of grappling arts, from Judo and Sambo to the Folkstyle Wrestling stateside is the trip(yes it exists in other arts but those are the dominant ones in mma). Bendo uses this technique constantly. Many opponents expect him to drop down for a leg and start to widen their stances leaving them selves wide open for the trip. The key set up for this technique is to initiate a clinch preferably against the cage with either an over under position or a double under hook position. Then with head (which is taught to all wrestlers ) point where ideally one wants the opponent to go; this aligns his
For the outside trip Bendo creates a 'push pull' motion to create the momentum for the move, but the key is while clinching he squeezes the body straightening his opponents spine, and cutting a small angle setting his hip almost perpendicular to that his opponent. Causing them extend their legs for balance and allow Bendo to hook his leg around the out side of his opponents knee. Finishing the 'push pull' motion. The outside trip almost guarantees landing in half guard which is for the most part far better than ending up in an opponents full guard. To simplify its a take down right into a pass.
For the inside trip the set up is quite similar. The differences lie in his hip placement, and where his forward thigh is. If you look closely you can see when attempting the inside trip Bendo forces the tripping leg right in the crotch of his opponent further in exaggerating the straightening of the opponent back discussed earlier. What this does is set his hips on the inside to give him space to throw his leg behind the knee of his opponent and then
Though there is a slight variation Bendo attacks with and thats instead of attacking with the same side tripping leg to opponents leg he trips the opposite side. This is useful when the opponent is giving way and moving backwards. One can see when Bendo is taking walking down miller in anticipation of the trip stepping left, right, left and then instead of stepping; their bodies are moving fast enough that he cuts the angle with his right foot. The only down fall to this trip opposed to the out side is you are almost guaranteed to land in the opponents guard.
The counter to the trips for the most part are to swim out of the double under hook position and regain a competitve clinch /spraw if he attacks from the over under or or back out of the clinch all together.