Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and The Stick

In-fighting is largely about 2 things: an underhook and head position. When you have a dominant underhook and your head below the other fighter’s chin, you likely will win the cage control game in a clinch. When you watch a fight, you’ll start to notice that the guy with lower head position and a deeper (higher) underhook is usually the guy with his back off the cage.

DC, being the shorter, stouter fighter (Jon’s legs are skinny) was often winning the underhook and head position battle. Once that underhook is in place and you have the guy pinned on the fence, you use your free hand to go to the body, over the top to the chin, and can determine when space is created to throw up a knee to the body/legs. Most guys pinned on the cage try to underhook the opposite side to keep the guy close and limit space for shots. This is generally bad because you’re likely still losing the position, and therefore, the round.

Jon has other strategies. First, Glover tried the same strategy (pinning Jon on the cage with an underhook). Jon used a self defense 101 technique – he overhooked the underhook around the elbow and lifted creating basically a key lock from standing and injured him. He tried the same thing with DC in the first round, but DC knew it was coming and defended.

So he started with the second technique. Instead of losing rounds by underhooking the other side, he just grabbed DC’s wrist and stood at a 45 degree angle. Sometimes, he also would use the overhook side and go to a 2 on 1 (both hands on the free hand) or basically a modified Russian tie on DC’s free hand.

Since he had control of that hand, DC had no offense. It limited Jon as well as he usually only had knees from the hand control side, but since he employed the 2on 1, he could also let go with the non-underhook hand from time to time and drop short elbows and body shots.

It’s very subtle but if you re-watch the fight, DC was winning most of the positions (his back was off the cage), but that little hand control battle gave Jon the ability to land more effectively, and thus, steal the close rounds.