Two members of the first family of Brazilian jiu jitsu, Ryron Gracie and Rener Graice, have produced this excellent instructional video showing the jiu jitsu techniques that Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva
used to dominate Fedor Emelianenko
on the ground during the second round of Saturday night's fight.
The whole thing is worth watching, but it's especially interesting to hear the Gracie brothers comment on a technique that seems like something out of a street brawl but was in reality an intelligent, tactical mixed martial arts maneuver employed by Silva: Grabbing Fedor by the throat.
From the video: "Throughout his periods of mount control, Bigfoot would grab the throat, which is very wise, put the pressure on the throat, so it had to be somewhat respected, and then he would punch, hammer, punch. That's very tricky. Fedor had to deal with the choke and he had to block the punches. It wasn't an easy place to be."
It can't be overstated how important the throat grab was to Silva's victory. He first employed it about 40 seconds into the second round, when he used his left hand to grab Fedor by the throat and threw two hard punches with his right hand. Fedor escaped that one, but when Silva got full mount at about the 3:30 mark, he immediately grabbed Fedor's throat with his left hand again and smacked Fedor around with his right hand. For most of the rest of the round, that was Silva's primary method of controlling Fedor: Grabbing his throat with one hand and punching him with the other.
Although the MMA rules of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission
prohibit "throat strikes of any kind," holding your opponent by his throat is completely legitimate. There have been some proposals in MMA to ban grabbing the trachea, but under the current rules, what Silva was doing is perfectly legal.
The technique is sometimes called a strangle choke, and some people use the appalling term "rape choke" to describe it. Whatever you call it, it's a great technique for imposing your will on your opponent from the top position on the ground. Silva employed the same technique in his last fight, a second-round TKO win over Mike Kyle, and other fighters who have used it include Tom Erikson, (who choked out Matt Skelton in Pride), Wanderlei Silva (who did it to Keith Jardine) and Rampage Jackson (who did it to Chuck Liddell).
It's also worth noting that one of Silva's advantages as a fighter is that he has enormous hands. I've met a lot of MMA fighters and NFL players, and the only handshake in my life that has ever made me gasp at the size of the other person's hand was when I met Silva. With such huge hands, it's easy to wring your opponent's neck.