There have been many MMA champions in the past decade coming in from the sport of wrestling which have been very dominant while noticeably being very hard to submit on the ground, even for top submission experts.
Yes, these wrestlers have had a lot of BJJ training and some are good blackbelts but there is an aspect of wrestling par terre they bring into the mix that is something that should not be ignored as in the end of the day…they are winning fights.
Control and The Pin
Wrestling’s main goal on the ground is to control or pin the opponent, there are exceptions such as in folkstyle where there is an emphasis on riding and escaping from the bottom (which has extreme value to any MMA athlete).
This has direct benefit as it develops an aggressive presence on the ground and in the scramble for position on the ground. Being able to pin and hold a resisting athletic opponent is great for any ground and pound MMA fighter. It also teaches proper weight distribution and balance – wrestlers are known for feeling heavy on the ground and this is the reason why.
The Takedown’s Effect on Par Terre
All wrestling training and matches start standing. Due to this, all par terre is always coming off a “cause and effect” sequence, for example a double leg takedown to leg lace. Due to this, the wrestler naturally learns the “transition” from takedown to par terre and in that “transition” they can start the scramble.
No Submissions = Development of Attributes
Wrestling’s biggest weakness perhaps may be one of it’s biggest strengths when it comes to developing an athlete who can fully commit and scramble on any move. There are very rare cases of an athlete stalling and squeezing as we see in BJJ time and time again. Athletes learn to use complete body positioning, head placement and wrestling scrambling tactics in order to give their opponent the absolute hardest time when trying to control them. They can reverse into takedowns, get from under bottom position very effectively and hold on to many top positions where generally they are in an excellent striking position.
We have seen this time and time again with fighters like Khabib, Usman, Askren, Cejudo, Sonnen, Romero, Makhachev, Hughes, Trigg, Davis, Coleman, Kerr, Valasquez, Couture and many many more.
All these fighters have a strong wrestling background and have certainly used the tools developed from their par terre in order to dominate the scramble and control on the ground. Yes all these fighters have ahd BJJ, Sambo or Catchwrestling added on the ground but their base was one of wrestling and it must not be ignored.
Top Position Dominance
Wrestlers get on top, period. It is what they have trained for as wrestling does not teach how to fight off the back as you can see in other grappling arts. This produces an athlete that can get to a dominant position on the ground when it goes to the ground.
Now add in BJJ, Sambo or any other submission based grappling art into the wrestlers repertoire and you will have a deadly mix….but one that can get effectively to the top position off the scramble.
Folkstyle has a difference to freestyle and greco in that it includes rides and entices bottom position wrestlers to escape from the bottom.
Now when we look at how this can impact an fighter it is is too see that both riding an opponent in a position can only be positive when striking on the ground and the fact that a wrestler is seasoned from escaping from the ground can help them dictate to take the fight standing when they choose, we have seen numerous times wrestlers stand up near the cage when they want to take the fight back to the feet.
Adding any type of wrestling will only benefit any fighter as the attributes and skills developed will have a clear transition to the cage. Think of not how wrestling can be beaten by other arts but how wrestling’s attributes can add to the effectiveness of other grappling arts in the pursuit for true ground dominance within the MMA realm.