It's rare to see but some MMA fights end with a rear naked choke where the victim is standing. What really stood out to me was how helpless they seemed once their opponent locked in a hook with one or both of their legs. I was able to find BJJ videos about rear mount escapes on the ground (though they will usually admit this is hard to pull off), but every video about standing rear naked chokes uses a hip throw that assumes the opponent isn't even attempting hooks.

Are there examples (especially fights) of people having a strategy to escape a rear mount while standing?

2 Answers 2


The orthodox BJJ response to someone on your back with hooks is to first strip the hooks then shuck them off, while protecting the neck. One can do this by standing upright and pushing the hooks down, but the more orthodox method is to bend forward to touch the ground, keeping the hips high, in order to make them slip forward over your shoulders once they lose their foot grip on your hips.

The bending-forward option has become more difficult with the recent realization that the Suloev stretch and other leg entanglements can be high-percentage attacks from this high-hips-and-four-points-of-contact position.

It has become common, especially in MMA where wrestling skills are more developed and walls/fences are involved, to see back control using a seatbelt with the arms and a "broomstick" with the legs, forcing the opponent to fall rather than climbing on their back.

  • I'm having a hard time imagining protecting the neck and removing the hooks at the same time, is there a video demonstrating this?
    – BatWannaBe
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 13:43
  • 1
    @BatWannaBe I don't have an instructional video on hand. It's definitely a "you done fucked up a long time ago" type situation :) so your difficulty imagining it is definitely valid! Either they haven't secured the seatbelt grip and can't yet threaten the choke so I deal with the hips, or I deal with the arms first (while bouncing to shake them out of position) and then switch one or both arms to pushing a knee down while I tuck my chin. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:37
  • Demian Maia versus Jacare Souza has an extended standing-back-control battle: youtube.com/watch?v=dwbdQNaA2ks Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:39
  • Yeah it really does look like you have two remote places to defend. In that fight, I think it helped the defender when the referee moved them because the attacker slipped down enough that he couldn't immediately try a choke, and the defender was smart enough to seize the pants to stop him from leaping higher.
    – BatWannaBe
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 1:26

First off, I'm going to make it clear that just because there are escapes from this position, does not mean that you would EVER want to end up here. Escaping, especially in realistic conditions requires both patience and the ability to act fast and decisively. So, I'll walk through some scenarios:

It doesn't matter how you ended up there, but you find yourself victim to a standing backtake. Now you need to escape.

If they have your back, but have not yet applied any kind of choke yet

Your priority here is to protect your neck at all costs. You are lucky that they have not yet wrapped their arms around your neck, so use the opportunity to prevent them from doing so.

If they have your back AND have started to apply the choke

You are in immediate danger of being submitted. If it's a real fight, we're talking about your life. Pry away their arm(s) from your neck and start to protect it by wedging a hand or forearm between their arm and your neck. Once you have isolated one of their arms, you can start to work towards a hip/shoulder throw, like the seoi nage.


I'm not really able to picture standing back control that involves hooks with the legs. Since I am currently unable to try it out myself, the best I can do is imagine this. It seems logical to just spiral your legs to the outside to escape their hooks, but they will just put them back in. So, if you find yourself with an opponent who has your back from standing, with two hooks in, simply fall backwards. If they try to post with one of their legs to prevent themselves from falling, they have to remove one of their hooks, freeing your leg. If they do no post, the will fall backwards into a traditional back control (back mount) position. It's not a great position to be in by any means, but it's better than being stuck standing with a choke being applied. From the ground, you can start to run through your back escape sequence.

If it's a real fight, this comes with some bonus, as slamming their back to a hard surface like pavement WILL injure the opponent, giving you the upper hand. However, that falls into the realm of can/should. If your life is in danger, that could be your best option.


Coming from a heavily BJJ background, I believe that you are better off taking a fight to the ground than staying standing. So, using that idea, purposely dropping to the the ground when put in this position is very tactical if you have any sort of grappling training whatsoever. I also do not watch MMA, so it's hard for me to put a lot of this into context. I am going to go out on a limb and say the reason that this is such a rare ending to a fight in MMA is because it is hard to get to and it is most likely not going to be a fighter's objective to take the back from standing. I can only think of two scenarios where this could happen, one being the defender isn't quick enough or fails to put up proper defenses in time, leaving their back exposed, the other is a backtake from a standing headlock escape.

I hope I answered your question, or if not at least helped answer it.

  • Standing back control with hooks is pretty common — see Urijah Faber with the body triangle & RNC against Ivan Menjivar or Marcelo Garcia's "backpack" attacks or this pic of Ryan Hall on Diego Sanchez's back. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 8:54
  • @DaveLiepmann That's interesting. This is a position that I have certainly never ended up in during rolling/sparring, nor have I witnessed it myself, so I assumed that it was rare. The OP even said "it's rare to see".
    – LemmyX
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 14:07
  • It requires both players to use tactics that are slightly unusual in a pure BJJ context, plus room to train standing, which is discouraged in many BJJ gyms. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 15:57
  • From the few times I've seen it, the back take happens on the ground or as the defender is standing back up from a turtle-ish position. Not sure why they thought standing would help, though. Like you mentioned, I've seen more consistent escapes from back control on the ground when the legs aren't occupied keeping two people up.
    – BatWannaBe
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 1:42

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