Russian Tie in MMA

MMA continuously surprises me: just when I think that a certain technique or strategy can't work you have Carlos Newton using an Ippon Seio-Nage arm throw, Sakuraba using the turtle or Rumina Sato using flying armbars.

The russian tie (or the 2-on-1) is obviously pretty important in wrestling, but I see some major problems with using it in MMA. The biggest problem would be catching a forearm or elbow to the face from the opponent's free arm.

I would love to be proven wrong on this, and hence my question: can anyone think of an instance in MMA where a fighter has successfully used a 2-on-1 to control an opponent?

I don't think we probably will. If you can get a 2on1 you can get to a real clinch, where you face far less danger from strikes.

I wouldn't be surprised to see it as a transitory position; but it's just inferior from a TD perspective and from a defensive perspective.

If the guy with the 2 on 1 is constantly pulling and pushing to severly offbalance his opponent, I think it will be VERY hard for him to strike with any real power. Obviously, one shouldn't hold onto the 2 on 1 for long, but use it for takedowns as quickly as possible.

I haven't seen it yet in MMA, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone were to come to the MMA scene in the near future and show people that it can be done and then some! I have faith in the 2 on 1!

when done well (I can't do it well) it's hard to hit the guy, my coach is a master at it and I can't hit him with any power when he does it, it's not the grip as such it's keeping the opponent off balance.

Couture and Henderson have stated they don't recommend using it for MMA - so in my blind hero-worship, I pretty much have crossed it off my list during that kind of training. At the same time, I can see how a quick two-on-one to a shot could be used from a clinch. More like a fast "shuck" than a true two-on-one control. Who knows? Shonie Carter knocked out Matt Serra with a spinning backfist right after I was telling someone they were useless, so I don't take as strong a stand on these things as I used to. ;)


Stephan,my juvenile guess is that it can be used in the street for an instant Dumog/balance disruption.Against a true MMA competitor,I have no idea.Your point is apt.Perhaps a good set-up for arm/shoulder throw.But,as you are well aware,I don't know very much!


OK, glad we settled that. The 2-on-1 will NEVER be used as a control position in the UFC or Pride.

C'mon someone, prove me wrong!!!

Dude, I'm totally working on it, dude!

I imagine the simple and most direct answer would be "Find out of yourself. What may or may not work for you, may or may not work for another."

However, that answer is too easy, a cop-out and a bit lame.

I can't exactly recall seeing it in a MMA event, still may have happened.

The one major reason for it's scarcity is that most people in MMA have never trained it at all, and those who have trained may not have trained it in a MMA context.

Just as with the double leg, which had to be altered and modified for MMA (you can shoot under punches, watch out for Guillotine, for example), the Russian also has to be modified for being struck while using it.

Tactically speaking, what technique has a force field when being applied? Name a technique that is so sound that you are not vulnerable in some fashion? When I jab, I am in danger of being countered w/ a cross, should I toss out jabbing?

When I double collar someone and am throwing knees, I am in danger of being hit with tight hooks and uppercuts. Double collars in the wastebasket?

On the surface the 2 on 1 appears to have a higher degree of vulnerability because there is one limb free to threaten you. However, for those who actually have the 2 on 1 at a high level and use it PROPERLY, constantly off-balancing, striking, positioning, looking for an immediate take-down, etc. there is a another paradigm.

For those who don't have a "Wrestlers" 2 on 1, it will take SERIOUS amounts of work to get it at a level to use in MMA, IMO. Hardly impossible, though.

We use the 2 on 1 in my gym. We do MMA as SPP for "Self-defense". We do not do Wrestling, BJJ, then some kickboxing and hope it gels together. It's MMA every day, all the time...strikes, wrestling, hooks, all available at any time in the drills and sparring. I have coached guys w/ no wrestling background, yet they use the 2 on 1 in a MMA environment. They have NEVER used a 2 on 1 in Wrestling!!!

Just like any technique, it has vulnerabilities which you need to shore up. You learn how to defend while using it, when to let it go and go to something else, how to counter when being struck, how to deal w/ being hit while using it, etc. Some of the takedowns are EASIER when someone is punching at you.

If you are CONSTANTLY applying pressure, keeping him off-balance, driving knees into anything, headbutts if allowed, postioning and re-positioning, looking to reach-around, looking for doubles, looking for carries, dragging & snapping, switching to other 2 on 1 variations, etc. you should be giving HIM a lot to worry about. He has to be concerned with being taken down, being hit, keeping his balance, and regaining a better postion and tie-up.

If someone is slapping it on and just hanging around in it, then I would suggest, they don't know what they are doing.

Obviously, how much prior experience you have had w/ the tie-up and more importantly how much experience you have had applying it in a striking environment will determine the degree of functionality of this for you.

Remember, it's not so much about the technique, but about the tactics, set-ups, timing, intent, etc. It's not the "new" technique that will revolutionize MMA, but another tool in your toolbox.

Train it and find out for yourself. You may find that it is a "Stupid, brainless, and dangerous technique to apply."

Some thoughts....

All the best,

I just remembered that SBG as well as Burton Richardson's group both use the 2-on-1 as a large part of their empty-hand vs. the knife curriculem. They train it with full resistance, so there must be something to it. If it works against a knife, it's gotta work in MMA, right? I've been meaning to train this for a while, hopefully the next time I get to a seminar I can have someone really go over it with me.

check out this clip:

I was sparring once with a guy named aaron del mar, who was good atjudo, and he liked the russian tie and if someone threw a punch with the other arm he would release the 2 on 1, step through, and catch the incoming arm and execute a head and arm throw. He did it to several guys. He expected the free hand and it came

If you are constantly pivoting to his side and away from the punch, sweeping, tripping, reaping or blocking his foot, kneeing his thigh, threatening him w/ a reach-around, dragging him off-balance, and switching to other 2 on 1 variations, you will be setting up not only your offense, but nullifying much of what he is doing and forcing him to work exclusively on getting out .

When that other hand comes, you can drag w/ the 2 on 1.

You can do a "polish"...push it into him and run/tackle.

You can lift the arm you have tied INTO the punching arm just like you would do if he was posting on your head and shoot a double.

You can tuck your head and move so his fist hits the forehead/head (NOT the crown) to protect your face and set up takedowns.

You can use the arm that is controlling his upper arm to smash away incoming punches from inside.

You can duck and single the near leg.

You can release it and sweep single his punch on this far leg as it goes over your head, especially if he is squaring up.

You can duck-under the arm you are controlling, and "turn the corner" double or just take his back.

etc., etc., etc.

If you grab it, hang there and square up w/ him (at least right away) it's no different then throwing a jab and leaving it extended.

I AGREE that there are a lot of options from the 2-on-1

I AGREE that a 2-on-1 is a valid technique against a knife (being an FMA instructor under Dan Inosanto)

I AGREE that it could probably work in MMA (and I would probably try it if I competed in MMA)

but my question was whether anyone could think of it ever having actually been used in MMA

ausgepicht is the "polish" like the country Poland because in Gables book theres a drag-trip tech linked to Alexander Medved

See that's what's great about this place: you get so much more than what you ask for. ;)

In that, I can't say I've ever seen it used.


Yea. As in the country. Gable mentions Medved in what book? I have some KILLER footage of Medved coaching....the man was/is incredible.


I did answer whether I personally had seen it ("I can't exactly recall seeing it in a MMA event, still may have happened") in my first post. What I typed after was to promote discussion.

In your first post you typed "I see some major problems with using it in MMA." which is another reason why I added the extra. This somehwat contradicts:

"I AGREE that it could probably work in MMA (and I would probably try it if I competed in MMA)

but my question was whether anyone could think of it ever having actually been used in MMA"

But since it's YOUR are the boss!!! ;-)

Gables last book i think its called coaching wrestling succesfully its on ebooks for FREE but its usually at bookstores i like the drag and trip but on a wrestler i usually end in /2 guard

Ah....I have that book. Don't recall reading that part. I'll have to re-read it!

Have you seen Medved in action? You can understand why the guy has moves named after him. The things he can do with a 2 on 1 are amazing.

I think that a fireman's would be an easy option off an incoming punch from the two on one.

For me, the most important thing about the clinch is to keep moving in it. You just can't secure one position and hold it. You got to keep moving, striking, pressuring, and attempting to strike, throw, or tackle your opponent. The two on one is ALWAYS a transitory position and never the goal of the clinch itself.