When going for a guillotine choke and your opponent defends by jumping to side control all coaches say the same thing. Let go of the guillotine!

The reason for this is if you don’t, you will beat wrapped up in a Von Flue choke in a heartbeat. A Von Flue choke is one of the most effective counters in Jiu Jitsu/MMA and also a very strong choke.

Let’s take a close look at this submission and detail everything about the Von Flue choke. Detailing who came up with it, how it works, different setups, and tips for doing the submission.

Who came up with the Von Flue choke?

The choke is named after former UFC fighter and TUF competitor Jason Von Flue. To counter a guillotine choke, Von Flue would jump to side control and lock his arms together. Putting immense shoulder pressure on his opponent’s neck.

So much so that in just a few moments his opponents would be asleep. The MMA community first saw Von Flue pull his choke off against Alex Karalexis in the TUF 3 finale.

Before Karalexis knew it he was waking up not knowing what had happened. After that fight, the Von Flue choke became a submission trained in every MMA and Jiu Jitsu schools.

This submission completely changed how we defend guillotine chokes. Today it is a rare submission to see, but when a fighter holds a guillotine too long we know what’s coming.

Current UFC fighter Ovince Saint Preux has become an expert at the Von Flue. Currently holding the record for most wins by Von Flue Choke.

How does the Von Flue choke work?

The Von Flue chokes work by using your opponent’s own tenacity against them. Sometimes they’ll grab a hold of a tight guillotine and will refuse to let go no matter what.

This is a grave mistake and how you get put in the Von Flue choke. After you jump to side control, they have basically trapped themselves from defending their own neck.

Once you connect your hand and put shoulder pressure on their corroded artery, they will either tap or go to sleep.

Basic Von Flue choke

The opportunity for a Von Flue choke prevents itself from a guillotine attempt by your opponent. Before you can even think of doing the choke, you have to address the choke you’re in.

Grab the wrist of their choke arm, lift your chin, hug around their head, and hop over their guard. Be sure to hop on the opposite side of their choke arm or it will make the choke tighter.

If they still have a death grip on your neck, then you’re in position for the Von Flue.

Clasp your hands together with a Gable grip and bring your arms in to take space away. Then to prevent them from possibly recovering their guard, slightly turn your hip towards their head.

With your opponent’s arms trapped, drop your shoulder down on their neck to put on some heavy pressure. They’ll only have a few moments to either submit or go to sleep.

Von Flue set up in closed guard

You can actually set up a Von Flue choke from inside your opponent’s guard. It starts from the traditional guillotine defense by blocking their choke arm and driving your shoulder into their neck.

If you put down heavy shoulder pressure, your opponent will likely open their guard and go for butterfly hooks. Before they get them, hop to side control and go to finish the Von Flue choke.

OSP Von Flue choke

OSP is so good at the Von Flue choke that he has developed his own set up for the choke. The way he does it, you could do the Von Flue with only one of your opponent’s arms trapped.

When he reaches under their arm, he traps their arm to their body where they can’t pull it out. Then he will sit his opponent up to get a deeper overhook around their neck.

Preux then walks his hand to his other hand, clasps his hands together, and drops his shoulder on their neck.

Von Flue set up from standing

You could possibly set up a Von Flue off of a standing guillotine attempt by your opponent. Once they lock it in and try to crank, you need to protect your neck and walk around their hip.

From here, you’re hip to hip with your opponent on the other side of their choke arm. Keep your neck against their body and lock your hands together around their hips.

To take them down, pull them into you and turn your arms like a wheel to knock them off balance. When they fall to the ground and still won’t let go of the guillotine, you can now hit the choke.

Gable grip your hands together and drive your shoulder into their neck to get the tap. A Von Flue is also possible off a double and single leg. Pending your opponent is holding your neck and won’t let go.(Sorry no video)

Von Flue to arm triangle

For whatever reason if your opponent somehow gets their arm free from the Von Flue, you can still submit them. One option is going to an arm triangle choke.

You still have some solid shoulder pressure, so all you need to do is transition to the arm triangle. Use your head to push your opponent’s arm across their neck.

Then hop over their body and drop your hips to the mat to finish the arm triangle.(Skip to 10:30 of the video to see the technique.)

Von Flue to Kimura, Americana, or straight arm lock

You could also possibly hit a Kimura Americana, or straight arm lock off a Von Flue. Pending if they get their arm free.

For a kimura, grab their wrist and have their hand facing down, Then reach over, grab your wrist to lock in your kimura grip and finish it from where you like.

The Americana setup can occur when they turn their arm up. When they do this, plant their arm to the mat and lock on your Americana grip. 

Then your 3rd backup option is when they straighten their arm out. All you have to do is follow their arm and lock in a straight armlock.(Skip to 3 minutes to see the techniques)

Tips for doing the Von Flue choke

The Von Flue choke should be your go to move whenever your opponent won’t let go of a failed guillotine. Here are some tips to remember when going for the Von Flue choke.

  • Pass Guard: You have to quickly pass guard when defending a guillotine choke to get in position for the choke. Otherwise, you will be locked in guard and forced to do the normal guillotine defense.
  • Don’t Jump Towards The Choke Arm: Never jump to the same side as your opponent’s choke arm. This will actually make their guillotine choke tighter
  • Arm Positioning: Once you pass guard, you need to put your arms in position for the choke. One arm goes behind their neck and the other goes under their choke arm.
  • Gable Grip: The best grip to use for the Von Flue is the palm on palm Gable grip. Put your palms together and bring your elbows in before putting on the pressure. 
  • Turn Your Hip: Turn your hip slightly towards your opponent’s head to prevent them from recovering guard. It also makes the choke a bit tighter.
  • Shoulder Pressure: Once your hands are connected, drop down some heavy shoulder pressure on your opponent’s neck for the tap.