Muay Thai Clinch – From Basic Boxing Clinch To MMA-New Construction Options [2021]

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Diehard MMA fans know the way Wanderlei Silva annihilates his rivals. It’s just a perfect combination of Muay Thai clinch and boxing clinches.

One can call “The Axe Murderer” a knee expert.
Most of his wins came via outstanding knees from close range, which turned the lights out even on one of the most powerful 205-pounder in the history of martial arts, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

But you should consider in using Muay Thai clinch for self-defense, because it is one of the most dangerous positions for grappler or wrestler.
Boxer punches from close range, Taekwondo fighter has brutal long-range kicks, a kickboxer chops his foes down, while a Muay Thai fighter kicks your ass with a nasty barrage of elbows, knees, fists, and even trips from short distance!
Wait! Let’s paint a vivid picture!
Muay Thai ring has corners and ropes, while Octagon is not squared. So when you’re pressed against the fence, it is easier for your rival to lift you and finish the bout via slam!
But you can prevent this! Muay Thai clinch is your best friend when you stop a takedown attempt or fight for the under-hooks.
Let’s get to know clinching.


What Is Muay Thai Clinch?


You can call it a technical area of the ancient Siamese martial art where you hold the opponent, trying to deliver your attacks and end the combat.
What is Muay Thai Clinches?
What is Muay Thai Clinches?
It can be good both against aggressive fighter or a counter-specialist. Some brain is required though because you’ll hardly win with a random fighting style!
You can easily put your rival to sleep from close range…
An offensive warrior might attack over and over, but if you shorten the distance and hold him all the time, it will affect his game and irritate him over and over.
A defensive foe holds the guard and covers up well. But putting your arms on his shoulders, head, or even body decreases the number of his options.
Clinching gives you advantage but if and only if you’re a wise fighter. The bull is strong, but a fox can make two bulls kill each other.
Be intelligent!
No fighter in the world could cover every single area from head to toe! Keep reading and learn the secrets which will guide you to the victory!


Muay Thai ClinchEs – Basic Positions


There are 4 basic ways to enter a Muay Thai clinch in a Muay Thai competition:

  1. Double collar tie (pummel);
  2. Single collar clinch;
  3. Over-under;
  4. Double under-hook.

Now, let’s get a closer look at each of them.

#1 – Double Collar Tie

You’ll hear a commentator saying pummel from time to time. He’s talking about double collar tie clinch ladies and gentlemen.
This is a dominant position for the attacker because the fighter on the other end must block the barrage of incoming strikes with a palm.
Mission impossible, right?
Now let’s discuss on how to set up a double collar tie:

  • Both fighters are in the stance. You need to put your arm between the opponent’s hands.
  • Make a step forward (eat strike or two if needed), and put your arms around the back of the rival’s head or neck.
  • Cross your fingers pushing your forearms to the inside. It will stop the blood flow to his brain, and he’ll have a hard time defending your strikes.
  • Push the foe’s head to the inside and downwards to set up an opportunity for a knockout blow.
Strikes:

I gave double collar tie a phrase name–“knees, fire at will”. Why?
The opponent is in big trouble, because his stomach, thighs, and especially mid-section are exposed. So you can attack wherever you want!
The most devastating blows from this position are the straight, diagonal, and rabbit knee. The last one is a great way to crack the rival open and set up the situation for a brutal head attack if he defends well.

Skull-crushing knee strike is sooo easy!!!

To deliver a strong straight knee, push your opponent towards the ground and let him meet the tip of your patella with style.
There is a slight trick with the horizontal knee.
If you want to attack with your right leg, step with your left leg to your left side, move your head to the left and put your right cheek against the rival’s right cheek. It will stop his movements, and you’ll easily finish the bout.
You can also set up other strikes from this Muay Thai clinch position, but it won’t be super effective–leg kicks, horizontal knees, or even trips (MMA combat).
In Muay Boran or Lethwei, headbutts are allowed too, so you turn the opponent’s nose into Mike Perry’s moment of glory!

Just one more tip!

When you press your rival against the cage, attack his thighs or mid-section first. It will soften your foe because his back and neck against the fence prevent knees to the head.
Pull him towards yourself making one step backward to put him off balance and score a knockout victory!
Let’s now get to know the position with the greatest number of options!

#2 – Single Collar Clinch

You can land the greatest number of strikes from this position. Yet, a single collar is equally dangerous both for you and your opponent, because you are fighting for a dominant position (double collar).
Theoretically, if you are a southpaw, and your left limb is free, you should have an advantage.
Here is a detailed description on how to set up a single collar clinch:

  • Let’s assume both of you are in the same stanza – orthodox. Push your left arm around the opponent’s right arm, decreasing the distance between you and him.
  • Try to put your right arm on the inner side of the opponent’s right biceps or the inside of his forearm.
  • If the rival applies the same movement, you are in the single collar clinch, and the game begins.
  • Make one step forward to decrease the distance and put your left hand on the back of the foe’s head, pressing him with the middle part of your forearm for better control.

I call this position “variety of strikes”.
You can land the greatest number of strikes from this position. Yet, a single collar is equally dangerous both for you and your opponent, because you are fighting for a dominant position (double collar).
Theoretically, if you are a southpaw, and your left limb is free, you should have an advantage.
Here is a detailed description on how to set up a single collar clinch:

  • Let’s assume both of you are in the same stanza – orthodox. Push your left arm around the opponent’s right arm, decreasing the distance between you and him.
  • Try to put your right arm on the inner side of the opponent’s right biceps or the inside of his forearm.
  • If the rival applies the same movement, you are in the single collar clinch, and the game begins.
  • Make one step forward to decrease the distance and put your left hand on the back of the foe’s head, pressing him with the middle part of your forearm for better control.

I call this position “variety of strikes”.

Strikes:

Inspect which limb is free. If this is your dominant hand, awesome, but if not, just don’t give up, learn to use your weaker knee or fist.
The most suitable techniques for a single collar clinch are punches–cross, hook, and uppercut.

Clinch punches? Hell yeah!

The hook is great, but the foe can move his hand to the side and neutralize the strike, while cross requires more distance.
Yet, the uppercut is fantastic when the rival moves towards you and pushes you on the fence–it will also prevent a body lock or a double leg takedown attempt, just like a transition to over-under.
Bare-knuckle fighters simply love this position, especially the former Cage Warriors fighter Jim Alers.
Look at that uppercut.
This is maybe the best position for knees to the body–diagonal, horizontal, or a rabbit knee can harm your opponent. But if you want serious damage, please transition to double collar tie.
If the opponent pushes you backward stop him with a straight knee blow, but make some distance.
Also, when you press the foe against the fence, you can punish his thighs or oblique muscles with nasty diagonal knee strikes.

Awesome for elbow kings!

Yeah, you read well, if an elbow is your trademark, stick to the single collar clinch!
When your leading hand is on the inside of the rival’s arm, you can punish him with a spear, horizontal, diagonal or a slashing elbow and cut him open.
As well as you know, the referee could stop the competition because of a cut, so set an elbow to his temple and teach him a lesson once and for all!
Oh, there are additional options from single collar clinch–a transition to the most dangerous Muay Thai clinch position, double collar, or a move to over-under.
Now let’s pay some attention to sweep specialists!

#3 – Over-Under

You’ll see this position many times in the world of mixed martial arts. A wrestler or grappler usually tries to take the control via over-under, but what happens in Muay Thai combat?
Over-under is a fantastic position to sweep experts and fighters who prefer knees to the thigh and short strikes.
Setting up over under–technical description:

  • Assuming you are right-handed (opposite movement pattern for a southpaw), stand in front of your opponent, setting the Muay Thai stance.
  • Let the opponent trap one of your arms and wrap his hands around your body. If your right arm is trapped, great, now it’s time for you to isolate his right arm too.
  • You set the over-under, but now try to put your left leg diagonally from his right leg.
Strikes:

This position is widely used in MMA, but rarely in Muay Thai. But you can land many attacks to the opponent’s thigh–diagonal, rabbit, or even a small knee strike.
Also, for example, if your left arm is free, fire diagonal or short elbows at will. It is almost impossible to land a hook because the distance is too small.
Sorry!

Forget about creativity from over-under!

In MMA combat, even when the fighter is pressed against the cage, there are no more Muay Thai clinch options. This position is good for Judo throws, but not for guys like Gaston Bolanos!
Now let’s learn how to neutralize a striker!

#4 – Double Under-Hooks

Sometimes you’ll face an opponent faster than lightning. The man who keeps you busy all the time is a tough rival, even if you survive until the final bell, you’ll lose on judges’ scorecards.
Oh, but you can shorten his distance!
Eat a strike or two, then simply set up double under-hooks to spoil his striking game. This area of Muay Thai clinch is specially designed to give the world-class strikers a hard time!
Setting up double under-hooks–technical description:

  • Assume the basic Muay Thai stance. Make sure your opponent is in the stance too. Put your forearms between his arms to create a space.
  • Quickly step towards the foe and wrap both hands around his body, but make sure your arms are UNDER his forearms. If possible, touch his chest and abdomen with your body.
  • Congrats, you set up double under-hooks. One more tip–when you move your hands from foe’s hands towards his body, keep your head up, because he could turn the lights out on you with a stunning knee counter!

Double under-hooks are a fantastic position for guys who like to sweep their opponents. Look at the video below.

Strikes:

This position is not designed for striking – your arms are isolated, knees are the only option. Since body lock means hands in the level of the foe’s ribs, you can target his thighs or oblique muscles in some special cases.
The list of attacks includes diagonal knee, rabbit knees, the curved and the small knee strike.
Double under-hooks are type of Muay Thai clinches where you open the opponent with knee combos and finish with a sweep or throw. Then the referee steps in and the bout restarts, unless you’re taking part in an MMA combat.
In Lethwei, you can break the opponent’s nose with headbutts!
Mixed martial arts? Read the next paragraph!
Unfortunately, some of these strikes are illegal in Muay Thai combat.


MMA–New Construction Options


Muay Thai clinches highly applies in the world of mixed martial arts.
But some throws and takedowns are illegal in ancient Siamese martial art, so some modified strikes might force the opponent to forget about clinching Thai expert.
While some people believe this combat should have been overturned to no contest because of the breaking of a 12-6 rule, I am sure Travis Browne showed the amazing power of downward elbow against Gabriel Gonzaga, who pressed him against the fence.
When you hold the opponent from behind against the cage, wrapping your arms around his waist, you can land an endless barrage of knees to the lateral or rear side of his thighs too!
And now the sour-cream of Muay Thai clinch–a spinning back elbow to the opponent who tries to out-grapple you in an MMA combat! Looks at the video below!


Final


Muay Thai clinch is the most entertaining part of this lovely martial art. Distance fighting is interesting, but putting wrestler or grappler who tries to take you down to sleep is super-entertaining!
Fighters who master clinching will have greater chances of defeating dangerous opponents.
If you face a great striker, just wrap both arms around his waist, but when you meet a sweep expert, kick his ass with a double collar tie. There’s no doubt the knowledge of Muay Thai clinch can turn you into one of the most dangerous fighters in the world!

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