Issue 163

January 2018

Tywan Claxton takes off and takes out a helpless opponent.

There may never have been a more athletic feat in MMA than Tywan Claxton’s flying knee at Bellator 186. From a standing start, the 25-year-old leaped into the air and landed almost half way across the cage – via the face of Jonathan Bonilla-Bowman.

“I think I was just born athletic,” says the former Ohio University Bobcats wrestler. "Strength and conditioning work also helps me be explosive, but I think it’s just God- given talent.”

As a grappler making his professional debut, you might have expected a takedown-heavy performance, but ‘Speedy’, now dubbed ‘Air Claxton’, says anyone he’s trained with knew to expect this jaw-dropping attack. He practices it all the time.

“Everyone knows it’s coming!” he explains. “I train it on all guys from ’55lb’ers like Carrington Banks, to 205lb’ers like Pat Cummins, and even great strikers like my man A.J. Matthews. If I hit someone with it, I’ll just buy them a beer and tell them to shake it o , they should have seen it coming.”

It might be familiar to his teammates, but to enlighten the rest of the watching world, here’s how he did it...

STEP 1: Window Of Opportunity

“I knew he was ducking his head under punches instead of slipping them, which made me abandon the combination I was going to throw and go for the knee.”

STEP 2: Taking Hold

“Grabbing the back of the head was key for me because it gave my knee a place to go. I wasn’t sure how hard the knee would land but I knew it would land the second I locked my hands behind his head.” 

STEP 3: Impact

“The knee connected and I was like, that’s it, he's out, I was ready for whatever happened after the initial leap, but I knew he was out, so ground and pound was completely out of my mind when he hit the canvas.”

STEP 4: So Explosive

“I had complete control over my body, but I expected him to move backwards, which made me jump a little higher than usual. The landing was almost a disaster, but I pulled it off!”