Carla Esparza Shows Us 5 MMA Takedowns & Submissions

FightCamp - Carla Esparza Shows Us 5 MMA Takedowns & Submissions

Practice your Jiu-Jitsu takedowns and submissions with UFC Fighter Carla Esparza. The “Cookie Monster” shares her 5 sweetest MMA grappling techniques.

Published: August 9, 2022

Topics: Tips & Technique, Training

Author: Raquel "Rocky" Harris

In combat sports like MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you need to have strategies for getting your opponent in a compromising position. The three most common techniques for dominating your opponent on the ground are takedowns, submissions, and grappling. UFC Fighter Carla Esparza visited the FightCamp gym to break down some of her favorite submission and takedown techniques with Rocky Harris.

Whether you’re a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner or a boxer or kickboxer looking to shake things up with a little MMA training, grab a training partner and follow along for these 5 powerhouse takedowns and grappling moves.

*If you are new to MMA do not try these moves without a seasoned professional or trainer in person to guide you.


Double Leg Takedown

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • Begin in your kickboxing stance and drop low into a lunge to get under your opponent

  • To shoot your takedown, step your lead leg forward, aiming for between their legs to throw them off balance

  • Shoot your arms forward and lace them around the backs of their thighs

  • Your rear arm will lift your opponent’s arm, and your lead arm will make a chopping motion to throw off their balance

  • Use your head pressure to help throw them off balance and topple them to the ground

Pro tips from Carla: When in doubt, drop down lower. It’s super important to step in deep to get that impact on your opponent and get them off balance. The further you step your foot behind your opponent, the greater the impact of your body into theirs when you go for the takedown. You don’t want to be on the outside of their thighs as your opponent will be trying to move their legs back, so wrapping around the back is essential

Catch Kick & Inside Trip

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • When your opponent throws a kick, catch it with your same side hand

  • Use your opposite hand to grab their calf from underneath

  • Step back half a step to give yourself room to swing their leg to the other side of your body

  • Close the distance and grab their body around the waist with your now-free hand

  • Take a big step with the leg closest to them, stepping around their leg and bumping them with your hip to trip them over your knee and shin

Pro tip from Carla: Any time you want to throw somebody, you need to be body-to-body close. Get in there!

Inside Leg Trip

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • Start off in the clinch position

  • Pick a leg to go after and force your opponent to step it forward by taking a step back

  • Step your leg through theirs and kick your leg back, falling to your knee as you step

Pro tip from Carla: Usually in wrestling, it’s always forward pressure. When you kick forward, launch your leg back to propel your body forward. Explode forward like you would at the start of a sprint on the track. Both you and your opponent will fall to the ground in a sprawl.


Rear Naked Choke

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • Start on the mat with your opponent sitting between your extended legs, facing away from you

  • Throw your legs around their waist so that your feet are between your knees

  • One hand should be beneath their arm, and the other should be over their shoulder

  • Shoot the hand over their shoulder across the neck in a slicing motion and grip as high as possible on your opponent’s shoulder

  • Pull out your lower hand and grip that bicep with your upper hand

  • Put your free hand against the back of your opponent’s head

  • Bring your head in tight against the back of your opponent’s head

  • Use the pressure of your head against theirs, and squeeze until submission

Pro tips from Carla: When it comes to grabbing your bicep, the deeper the better, so walk your fingers up as high as you can to get it nice and secure. It’s very important to hide your hand behind their head because if it’s on top, your opponent can pull it down.

Mount Escape

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • Start on your back, with your opponent in Mount (seated atop you with their knees and hands on either side of you)

  • Walk your feet up so that your knees are raised, touching your opponent’s rear

  • Put your hands on their hips and explode up, bumping your hips and extending your arms to lift your opponent off you

  • Quickly tuck your knees tightly to your chest

  • Your opponent will land on your shins, so wrap your arms around their torso and extend your legs to push them back off of you

FightCamp - Takedowns & submissions with Carla Esparza
  • Turn the tables on your opponent from this position by closing the gap, getting one overhook and underhook

  • Sit your weight on your left buttcheek and propel yourself to the left

  • Put your weight on your bottom toe and use your right leg to push your opponent over onto their back. Now you’re in the dominant position

Add these MMA moves to your training at home or at the gym, and let us know which takedown and submission moves are your favorites in the FightCamp community!

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Raquel "Rocky" Harris

Raquel “Rocky” Harris has won titles in Karate, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. She traveled with Team USA and secured a Gold Medal in her first World Championship tournament. Rocky is an author, screenwriter, fitness model, and FightCamp Trainer. She is also USA Boxing Coach certified.

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