The naked choke

By EUGENE S. ROBINSON  |  August 29, 2010

Cain Velasquez is an undefeated UFC prospect who, at October's UFC 121, will attempt to move from the fourth-best heavyweight fighter in the world to number one (a spot occupied by Brock Lesnar). It will be a contest marked by no small amount of choking — to say nothing of punching, kicking, throwing, arm barring, and leg locking. "In wrestling, we're always on the neck," says Velasquez, from the AKA training facility in San Jose, California, that is probably more like home to him than his actual home. "It's not so legal in collegiate amateur wrestling but it's sometimes part of a pinning combination."

Digging in deep to his choice of choke, he makes a curious, almost sly pick for a guy not known for being anything but deadly earnest. "The arm triangle choke. You know — the one that Lesnar used on Carwin." This choke had the 260-pound Shane Carwin with his left arm pinned up against his head while Lesnar cinched it in, hopped over his body, dug his heft against Carwin's neck on the one side with his ham-hocked forearm on the other, and squeezed like his life depended on it. Carwin tapped (quiet, calm), quickly. Velasquez claims this as his favorite.

And we have to agree. Anything that keeps you at number one? A favorite in our book too. Courtesy of the choke.

Eugene S. Robinson can be reached at

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