The Severe Spotlight: Charles Jourdain

In MMA sometimes it’s necessary to just get it done. Of course, the way in which it gets done, can, like almost any artistic endeavour be based in a pursuit of aesthetic grandeur or it can just be effective. Charles Jourdain dug deep into the bag of effective tricks he possesses and submitted Ricardo Ramos with an arm-in guillotine.

In its duration, the fight was well contested. Jourdain began the fight pressing on the front foot, looking to land kicks with his superior range. Ramos, never one to back down from an adjudicated altercation fought fire with fire, looking for his routes inside and punctuating combinations with his own head kicks.

Jourdain stepped through the ranges with a lovely right-hand feint, before landing a left straight. A crowded and defending Ramos pushed back behind the tramline, to be met with a smart double uppercut from Jourdain. A collar tie led to a knee from the Canadian which Ramos attempted to gobble up and transition into a mat return.

The use of the guillotine, the threat of the guillotine and the pure use of the grip itself is present throughout this fight. It began with Jourdain turning to his right as the double leg shot came in, knowing Ramos would square up to continue the drive. This allowed Jourdain to wrap up the guillotine, offering Ramos a decision. He could continue to drive and complete the takedown, as the hands had committed to the neck; or bail and fight the hands. Ramos smartly complete the takedown and used his head to post and consolidate his position to the far side.

When a guillotine is being threatened, the mechanic that completes the choke, is the breaking of the posture. If an opponent can keep their head and spine aligned, it will be difficult to bend the neck. Generally, leg entanglements are used to keep an opponent on the same side of the body as the choking arm as this stops the exact reaction Ramos completed. However, Jourdain offered a last-ditch effort to switch to a high wrist variation of the guillotine, which initiates a blood choke, alongside the regular esophagus crush/windpipe closure of a regular variation.

Ramos noticed this and covered the hand with the chest before looking for a von flue choke. Jourdain, an experienced grappler was aware of the threat and did a good job of pummelling both butterfly hooks to force Ramos to pummel his own leg positioning and moving toward a half guard/lockdown leg configuration of his own, to misalign the spine of Ramos and take pressure off the von flue threat.

Ramos used the same headstand mechanic to work to a half guard, as once again Jourdan searched for a guillotine. Forcing Jourdain to move to a z-guard variation of the half guard position who makes his only glaring mistake of the fight. He takes too long working on a kimura when Ramos’ elbow position did not make the kimura an efficient option, and got his guard passed.

However, this leads to us seeing a rare type of guard used in MMA – octopus guard. This is a guard in the modern time made famous by Australian grappler Craig Jones. Jourdain builds up to his right elbow, posting up on the crossface of Ramos and ducking his head out toward the back, with an overback grip he begins to win inside position. He swims his left knee under Ramos, whilst tucking his right foot tight toward his hamstring. The overback grip restricts Ramos’ head movement which as a fundamental principle of grappling, means Jourdain should win the scramble.

In a sport grappling scenario, often octopus guard leads to back attacks. In this situation Ramos smelt danger and began to granby out. Jourdain didn’t catch his left hand to the right hip of Ramos quickly enough, and this allowed the full granby rather than the leg drag with a tight waist grip that Jourdain originally planned for.

The beginning of the end came as Jourdain used a granby of his own to escape the ensuing scramble and Ramos dived on an inefficient double leg. Jourdain smelt a guillotine, and with weight pressed through the right side of Ramos’ body, had already broken the posture. The right hand of Jourdain took a post on the ribs of Ramos so that he could monitor the space and lace up the arm-in when it became available. Jourdain collapsed his left knee to an externally rotated position in preparation for the guillotine, and as he wrapped it, threw in his right arm to connect the arm-in configuration, connected his left knee to the right hip of Ramos, and draped his right leg over the back and hips of Ramos, solidifying his position.

The choke is immediately tight, and in a last gasp effort, Ramos attempts to bail to his knees to attempt to straighten his head. Jourdain smartly continued to raise his hips, and bring his hands to his chin, keeping the posture broken. Ramos was forced to tap, and the investment pays off for Charles Jourdain.

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