Joe Rogan was wrong calling UFC 285: Craig Jones questions arm triangle details

If you’ve been following UFC 285, there’s been a lot of talk about a low blow leading to the submission finish in the bout between Bo Nickal and Jamie Pickett.

Nickal received a lot of publicity heading into event due to his wrestling credentials. He won NCAA tournament twice and is widely believed to be the best American wrestler to transition into MMA in the last couple of years.

Putting the low blow accusations aside, there’s another interesting note about the finish.

BJJ ace and ADCC silver medalist Craig Jones recently shared a video in which he claims Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier made a mistake calling the event.

Cormier started:

“He has got to keep him in his guard. You can’t allow Nickal to get off the side. That’s already gone, you know.  He’s in trouble now.”

Rogan added: “With the kind of squeezing that both Nickal has.”

Cormier added a little later:

“As Nickal passes the guard, it just gets tighter.”

Rogan affirmed: “Yeah, it’s going to get tighter.”

Cormier went further calling it ‘wrong’: “What Nickal’s doing this wrong. Nickal’s got to get his hips off to the side. And drop his chest to the mat. This is not an ideal finish.”

“…that’s why Jamie’s is not tapping. ”

“If he does this correctly, Jamie will have no choice but to tap. This is better.”

Rogan added: “But if Nickal gets that left leg free and pops open to the side, he wants to maintain control of the body DC.”

As he uttered it, Pickett tapped.

Rogan and Cormier are referencing here the traditional way of finishing an arm triangle. Typical arm triangle involves passing the legs and using the increasing distance between your hips and your opponents hips to tighten the choke.

B Team’s Craig Jones insists this is an error. He explains:

“And what I really liked about this arm triangle and something that Joe Rogan said during the broadcast. I believe he’s wrong in terms of finishing an arm triangle.”

“He was saying to step off the body. He was saying that left leg should come off the body and work like a clock. I think that incorrect finish. That’s a finish that if you do that, good guys are going to turtle or backwards roll and they’re going to separate your grip. ”

Jones taught this escape in a previous video he posted:

Jones pointed to Makhachev finish at UFC 280, as the appropriate adaptation of the technique:


“So Bo Nickal, to me, showed incredible technique by always keeping his left leg either in a half guard position or in a mount position. This means that Jamie Pickett can’t use a turtle style defense. ”

“He used basically the way Islam finishes the arm triangle, and that’s he ultimately switched to a RNC style of grip. And as soon as he did that, Jamie Pickett tapped immediately.”

This variation isn’t infallible either. Khabib Nurmagomedov previously showed the proper way to defend this modified arm triangle.