The Von Flue Choke: The sneaky MMA submission

The Von Flue choke is a shoulder choke that is rarely seen in MMA and BJJ competition. It is named after Jason Von Flue who successfully used the choke in the UFC on a number of occasions. Since then a number of MMA fighters and BJJ practitioners have executed the submission successfully in competition.

Many BJJ and catch wrestling practitioners claim that the submission has long been around but Von Flue’s use of the attack was definitely the highest profile use of the technique to date.

The choke catches many people off guard as it is usually applied when the defending fighter is on the bottom in side control and is not expecting a choke attack. The submission works by slowly building pressure on the carotid artery and if applied correctly has the ability to render an opponent unconscious.

In recent years Ovince Saint Preux has become known for his use of the choke in the UFC. He has three submissions by Von Flue choke including two back to back wins in 2017.

Jason Von Flue

Jason Von Flue is a retired MMA fighter who had a brief stint in the UFC after his performance on the Ultimate fighter series 2. He made his UFC debut at at Ultimate Fight Night 3 when he took on Alex Karalexis.

During the 3rd round of the match Von Flue defended a standing  Guillotine attack from Karalexis. When the fight went to the mat Karalexis held onto the guillotine despite Von Flues advance to side control. From here Von Flue connected his hands and shifted the bulk of his weight towards Karalexis’ head. The pressure on Karalexis’ carotid artery was too much and he soon lost consciousness. The fight was stopped and  Jason was declared winner by technical submission. Many people were left confused by the submission and quickly worked to analyse the mechanics of the choke.

BJJ and the Von Flue choke

The Von Flue choke is much more rarely seen in BJJ (especially BJJ in the Gi). This probably do the fact that top level BJJ competitors are less likely to hold onto guillotines when their opponent has already passed to side control on the other side. The other reason is that it is harder to apply the required shoulder pressure when both competitors are wearing a Gi wdue to the friction caused.

The choke is essentially an arm triangle and is similar to a number of other BJJ submissions including the head and arm choke and the popular leg triangle. The Von Flue uses the exact same principles as both of these attacks.

Polish BJJ blackbelt and top professional Adam Wardzinski shows some good tips and variations on the choke in this video.

Von Flue in MMA

Since Jason Von Flue’s initial use of the choke in 2006 there have been numerous further examples of the choke in professional MMA. UFC fighter Ovince Saint Preux seems to have mastered the choke and it has become his signature finishing move. He currently has 3 wins by way of the submission and has even jokingly referred to the move as the “Von Preux choke”.

A number of other fighters such as Jordan Rinaldi and Brent Weedman have also successfully used the choke in MMA competition. However it is still rare when compared to other submissions. This is probably because the defense of the choke is relatively easy to learn and easy to apply if you correctly recognize the attack is coming.

Submission steps

  • Get to side control on the opposite side to guillotine attempt
  • One arm should be as deep as possible under the head.
  • Other arm goes over their body and if possible traps their guillotine arm
  • Clasp your hands in a gable grip
  • Spawl onto toes to increase pressure on opponent
  • Dip the shoulder so that pressure increases on the carotid artery
  • Flex bicep to further increase pressure

Key points

  • The choke seems to suit bigger guys who can inflict heavy top pressure on their opponents.
  • To be most effective the shoulder needs to be on the neck and underneath the chin.
  • The choke will come on gradually and may take some readjusting in order to get the tap.
  • Be careful when doing as many opponents will not expect and may lose consciousness.