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Rockhold shines at UFC 172

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The lead-up to UFC 172 saw Luke Rockhold say that he wanted to take on Keenan Cornelius, one of the hottest young names on the BJJ competition scene, in a grappling-only match at Metamoris 4. The last UFC fighter who competed in Metamoris, Brendan Schaub, performed so poorly that “Schaubing” became a term to identify fighters who avoid any sign of engaging in the fight. On April 26, at UFC 172, Rockhold earned a slick submission victory and showed that he might very well give Cornelius an interesting match.

At UFC 172 Rockhold faced Tim Boetsch, who is a skilled fighter with solid wrestling credentials. As expected, Boetsch looked to get the fight to the ground almost immediately by dropping down for a single-leg takedown. Rockhold sprawled over the attempt and locked up a reverse triangle which left Boetsch turtled up and unable to use both arms to work his way free.

Reverse triangles are not easy submissions to finish because it is very hard to improve the angle and increase the tightness of the choke. Rockhold, realizing that he probably would not finish the fight in that position, began working on Boetsch’s free arm. Rockhold quickly locked in a kimura grip and Boetsch smartly rolled to his back in an effort to defend.

Rockhold clearly had experience with this position as he released the triangle and used his legs to force Boetsch up on to his side, where he then pushed Boetsch’s arm back at a scary angle. Boetsch grimaced in pain and was forced to tap to prevent injury. After the fight, Rockhold said that the reverse triangle position was his “bread and butter” and made it clear that he knew exactly what to do once he got there.

Metamoris is a submission-only grappling competition that wants competitors who go after the submission, win or lose. Brendan Schaub was a complete flop at Metamoris 2 and left viewers with a bad taste in their mouths. If Metamoris is going to invite another UFC fighter to compete, they want to make sure that the fighter will engage and go for the win. They may have found their man in Rockhold.

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