Monday, February 18, 2013

The Heel Hook: From Takedown To Finish

Another amazing guest post from Dan Fagella on the heel hook set ups of Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares.

Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares is probably the most famous leg locker in MMA right now - and maybe one of the most famous in the world. His popularity comes not only from how many heel hooks he gets in world-class competitions, but also in his surprising and sometimes flashy setups that catch everyone - including the crowd - off guard.

Today I’m going to take a look at just one of his great standing leg lock finishes from the highlight video below. Watch at 2:45 to see the single leg to heel hook setup I’m talking about.

Standing MMA Leg Lock Setup from Toquinho:

1) The Entry

The entry begins from a single leg takedown. Toquinho, as you can see at about 2:46, comes in with a BIG jab-overhand right combo, and jolts the opponent backward, bringing his hands up to defend. At this opportunity, Toquinho dives in for the single leg and hoists it up between his legs in a very “wrestler-like” style.

Feeling his opponent’s counter, or possibly just noticing how isolated the opponent’s leg is, he dives under.

2) The Roll

This is something that 98% of MMA fighters simply would not and maybe could not do. He grips the far hip and swings his inside leg through, pulling his opponent off balance and pulling himself directly underneath his opponent for the leg lock setup. He actually lands more in a kneebar orientation at first.

3) The Finish

This is CLASSIC Toquinho, he not only forces a bend in the opponent’s knee right as the opponent turns to relieve the pressure (very technical), but he also viciously turns his stomach to the ground and starts his roll. This is merciless, and probably not fit for the training room, but in the world of MMA this is one of the factors that makes Toquinho to feared.

Hopefully you enjoyed that little breakdown. If any of you are involved in no-gi or MMA, Toquinho is the man to watch when it comes to awesome setups and fast finishes on the heel.

All the best and catch up soon!

-Daniel “Micro” Faggella

Dan Faggella is a No Gi Pan Am Champion, a BJJ School Owner, and Writer for Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style (UK), and More. A Recognized Leg Lock Instructor, Dan is Giving Away a Free Heel Hook DVD (with Breakdowns of “Toquinho’s” Awesome Matches) with his Leg Lock Mastery Program at

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