You're probably familiar with the term "rear naked choke". In fact, that term has become quite popular thanks to the UFC and other fighting organizations.
Here's the thing, the name and the description don't match. Here's why...
Choke hold (aka rear naked choke)
A choke hold prevents air from reaching the lungs by constricting the trachea and preventing air from reaching the heart by way of the lungs.
A sleeper hold is when the blood is unable to pass through the carotid artery, which cuts off the oxygen flow to the brain.
What about most MMA fights?
What you see in the HIGH MAJORITY of MMA fights is actually a sleeper hold and NOT a rear naked choke.
How is the rear naked choke done then?
The rear naked choke is done by placing the forearm or wrist bone directly on the trachea and compressing it, causing a choke by way of constricting the trachea. It's a far more dangerous choke because you could easily break the trachea aka (the windpipe) and potentially kill your opponent with it.
Note: I've suffered a minor but brutally painful trachea choke. It's not fun. (a story for another day).
What about the sleeper hold?
A sleeper hold on the other hand is where you're forearm is directly on the carotid artery on one side of the neck while the bicep muscle is on the other side. By squeezing, this cuts of the oxygen flow to the brain which will cause your opponent to pass out rather quickly.
This is a much safer and humane approach.
Below, you can find 29 Killer Sleeper Finishes. Enjoy!