Normally seen in the schoolyards by bullies or the squared circle in professional wrestling, the bulldog headlock can also be used as an effective submission as the bulldog choke.
This submission is rarely seen due to the number of counters it has, however it’s always good to have an ace up your sleeve when you’re competing. The basics of the bulldog choke are very similar to the headlock position seen in schools. While it’s rarely seen in BJJ or MMA, if applied effectively it can be used to submit people incredibly fast due to the pressure caused on the neck and the carotid arteries in the neck.
The reason this position is rarely seen because most of the positions in BJJ rarely see a person opening exposing their back to their opponent, one quick head pop and they’ll have their back taken. However, there are a few legitimate ways you can add this into arsenal as a hail mary in the dieing seconds to squeeze out a win.
The Bulldog Choke in MMA
The bulldog choke is a technique that, although rare in combat sports history, has been effective twice in UFC 181. Uriah Faber and Raquel Pennington both won submission victories with the technique. The position was also seen in Ben Askren’s debut MMA fight against Robbie Lawler.
The bulldog choke looks like a hybrid of a pro-catch headlock and a naked choke in the back. The position defies the age-old adage of BJJ “first position, then submission”, according to which a grappler should have relative control over the opponent’s body, before trying to end the fight with a submission.
Unlike a rear-naked choke, the bulldog strangulation does not offer control of the body of this type; rather it follows an old wrestling adage: where the head goes, the body will follow. The victory of Raquel Pennington over Ashlee Evans-Smith and Carlos Newton over Pat Miletech at UFC 31 is a good example. In these two examples, the one who defends the bulldog’s choking effect is forced to fight against the constrictive pressure of strangulation and immobilizes the pressure of the weight of his opponent’s body on his neck, pulling them and pinning them to the ground. Unlike a rear-naked choke, where the defender could defend himself by rotating into the attacker, the bulldog stranglehold defender is not able to turn in all directions, only down and out.
How to do the Bulldog Choke
The bulldog choke is best used when your opponent is turtling. Instead of taking the back, this time your weight is going to be focused on the top of the shoulders and the back of the neck.
Expose the neck by pulling the chin away from the chest and insert your forearm. Follow up by connecting your hands with a ball and socket grip, the choking hand being the ball and the free arm being the ball. Compress the choke by dropping your armpit into the neck of your opponent and bringing your hands to your chest. The resulting pressure should make your opponent tap quickly if applied properly.
The bulldog choke primarily attacks the arteries in the neck however the pressure also directs force on the oesophagus in the opponent’s throat