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The head-inside single leg is an essential takedown in both wrestling and MMA. Often when one fails the head-inside, you can fake the switch to the double leg, and the head-outside single is there. This is great for wrestling, but in MMA three horrible things happens if you attempt a head-outside single:

  • You get stuck in a guillotine, and need to immediately pass to side control on the opposite side (quite difficult), or get choked out.

  • You get your back taken. (This is most common)

  • You bail on the leg once you go down and get triangle choked.

Are there instances of this takedown being used in high level MMA? Is it worth keeping in one's arsenal?

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We actually drilled this before MMA sparring yesterday, so I'll answer this.

Yes, it is relevant. I'll address my three previous concerns:

The key is you have to finish the head outside single by "running the pipe", the traditional head inside single leg finish. The reason for this is you get to maintain control through the entire takedown. If you go to bulldoze your opponent like you would with a blast double leg takedown you will drop a hard inside shoulder on their groin area, causing you to land unbalanced, and having your arms stuck. They can take your back or work a guillotine.

Running the pipe allows you to stay standing/squatting while they go down. You can then work a leg drag, bullfighter pass, knee on belly, or just throw some bombs from a low standing position a la GSP. If you don't go down to the ground hard and uncontrolled with the takedown you get to bail on the leg without risking falling into a triangle.

In summary, the answer to all three concerns is: They can't do any of those things because when you properly "run the pipe" you remain standing/squatting, or at the very least, not face down on the ground (like with one or both knees down).

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