UFC 142 Rousimar Palhares and Why His Leg Locks Actually Work


Palhares at UFC 142At UFC 142 Rousimar Palhares submitted Mike Massenzio with a nasty heel hook just a minute into the first round. Massenzio tapped quickly in pure agony. Why? We see leg locks all the time in MMA and fighters just shrug them off like they’re nothing. So why are Palhares’ so devastating? It’s actually quite simple: Most jiu jitsu guys don’t train heel hooks.


It’s actually considered very bad etiquette to slap one on while rolling.  The reason being quite simple -  they’re just too dangerous.  Unlike an arm bar that is going to hurt like all hell for at least a few seconds before your arm snaps like a twig, a heel hook goes from no pain to blown up knee almost instantly.  It’s a move that is banned in a lot of grappling tournaments.  A blown ACL is a year of misery.  It’s just not worth it.

So when you see Palhares destroying people with it you are seeing someone who actually understands and has practiced the technique.  I feel sorry for his training partners.  The zeal that he attacks the legs with is almost scary to watch when you know what it is doing to the person on the receiving end.

Now to say people don’t train it is of course not true.  They do train it, just at a slowed down 30% rate.  They train the escape, but that’s also at a slowed down pace.  And they certainly don’t train it with someone who is as adept in the technique as Palhares.

It will be interesting to see where Palhares ends up.  No one is going to want to fight this guy because as more and more victims of the submission are ringed up it is dawning on these fighters that this isn’t your normal heel hook.  A broken arm is one thing, a blown to pieces knee is something else entirely.

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