Footlock Friday: Imanari’s Inverted Heel Hook!

 Dan Faggella celebrates Footlock Friday every week here at OTM. Dan is a No Gi Pan Am BJJ Champion, author, and writer for Jiu JItsu Magazine, MMA Sports Mag, and more. At 128 Pounds, most of Dan’s competitoin wins against bigger opponents have come by way of leg lock! Get his free leg lock course at:

Whoa, I’m so surprised I haven’t worked with more of Imanari’s matches in the past, this guy is argued to be the best leg locker alive right now, and in the MMA world he’s shown it over and over again. In the match above, I wanted to quickly break down the elements that lead him to another leg lock victory.

1) Overzealous Opponent

Imanari’s opponent in this match is Kevin Belingon – and oddly enough (although he’s done things like this plenty of times), Imanari’s first move is a headkick, which he missed and lands flat on his butt. Here’s where Kevin went wrong.

Instead of closing the grap slowly and striking Imanari on the way up, or kicking him in a controlled way when he was down, Kevin bull-rushes in and ends up standing right in the eye of the storm: near the legs of Imanari. Immadiately his leg was engulfed and the leg lock war began – a fate that could have been 100% avoided with 20% more caution. 

2) OWNING the Thigh

It’s like real estate. You want to acquire and keep it, and call it your own. This is what Imanari does with Kevin in this match.

Notice that despite Kevin’s thrashing about, and the repositioning of the leg, Imanari stays HIGH on the thigh, clamped down hard and confident that leg locks will present themselves and allow for the submission. This kind of confidence doesn’t happen unless you can own the tight!

Looking forward to next week – be nice to each other’s knees out there 🙂

-Dan Faggella


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