How To Do The Bulldog Choke

How To Do The Bulldog Choke

The bulldog choke is one of those chokes you don’t normally see in competition. It’s definitely a rare sight to see. You only see it every now and then, but when you do everyone talks about it.

The bulldog choke can be classified as a blood choke, similar to that of the rear naked choke. The only difference is that you aren’t mounted on your opponent’s back nor do you have a figure-four interlocking both arms together.

In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about the choke – what its, how to do it, and some key details you should consider. 

What is The Bulldog Choke?

From a glance a bulldog choke looks like a schoolyard headlock you’d see on the playground or in pro WWE wrestling match. The only the difference is that a trained grappler is executing the choke and using technique.

Basically, the choke is kind of like a reverse guillotine choke, where your bodies are facing the same direction. Your choking arm is placed against their neck similar to what you’d do for a Rear Naked Choke.

bulldog choke

Some Notable Uses Of The Bulldog Choke

As we said, the bulldog choke is a submission we don’t usually see in MMA or grappling very often. In the UFC, only a handful of fights have been finished with a bulldog choke.

UFC 31 Carlos Newton vs Pat Miletich: Carlos Newton submitted Pat Miletich in the third round with a bulldog choke.

UFC 47 Chris Lytle vs Tiki Ghosn: Chris Lytle caught Ghosn in the second round of their fight with a  choke.

UFC 181 Raquel Pennington vs Ashlee Evans Smith: In a highlight reel finish Pennington put Smith to sleep with a bulldog choke at the end of round 1. Many MMA fans remember the finish as blood was streaming out of Smith’s head as she went to sleep.

UFC 235 Ben Askren vs Robbie Lawler: In the most controversial fight of 2019, Askren won in the first round with a bulldog choke. Many thought that Herb Dean prematurely stopped the match, but it does go down as a win by  choke. 

How To Do the Bulldog Choke

There are generally two scenarios when you can use the choke. Either off of back control or off an opponent’s take down attempt. In both scenarios, the opponent makes the mistake of leaving their neck exposed for the choke. 

  • Losing Back Control: You can lock in a bulldog choke from losing back control. It’s possible if you have a hand around the opponent’s neck, but lose your hooks as they attempt to escape. Before the opponent escapes, quickly lock your hands together, sit out, and squeeze. Sitting out prevents the opponent from attempting a takedown and adds leverage to your squeeze. This is the scenario we saw in the Ben Askren vs Robbie Lawler fight.
  • Failed Takedown Attempt: The next scenario comes from standing and a fighter attempts to get back control. When they attempt this, their opponent may defend by going for a single leg. The flaw with the opponent attempting this takedown is it leaves their back exposed and get their neck squeezed Just like in the Carlos Newton vs Pat Miletich fight, Pat left his neck exposed. When he did this Carlos locked on a death grip squeeze and got the tap. 

Chewjitsu does a nice breakdown in the video below – check it out! 

Key Details to Consider for Executing the Choke

There are two big details you need to remember for doing the choke. 

  • Leg Placement: You need to sit out with your legs away from the opponent. This will prevent them from countering with a takedown and give you more leverage to get a better squeeze.

  • Your Grip: Do the same grip for the bulldog choke as you would for a guillotine choke. Grabbing the bridge of your hand/wrist and cranking upward will give you the tightest choke possible.

Final Thoughts

Some people question the legitimacy of this choke and if they should even learn it. From the outside looking in, the choke definitely looks like it might only work for a bully picking on a smaller kid on the playground. However as it comes to show, it even works in a professional UFC bout – and these guys are trained fighters and experienced grapplers!  

It is definitely a legitimate technique and one you should add to your bag of tricks. Sure, it won’t be one of your go to moves, but you should still know how to do it. Whenever the opportunity arises, you can spring a tight bulldog choke on your opponent and get the tap! Your opponent won’t even know what hit him!