Whether you want to do it or avoid it, things happen in a fight. In a fight for self defense, one thing you should keep in mind is that when you get close to the attacker and clinch, there is no referee who will interfere to break the fight.
Things could get worse. You are close to the attacker. The attacker can hit your vulnerable parts of the body. You can end up getting on the ground and grappling. You have no idea how many attackers will be there, so while grappling on the ground even if you are good at it, other attackers can easily attack you. And you will be in a bad position to defend that.
You can see clinch in another way. When you are in an attacking range, the attacker can strike and hit you. You can grab his hands to stop him so that he cannot hit you.
At the same time, you can control this body. In a situation like this, you have to be fast to make your move. You can strike the attacker's leg. You can do foot stamp, kick to his knee, knee charge.
If you are able to make the attacker off-balance, you are in a good position. Don't let things go out of control. Dr. Mark Phillips, A Criminal Psychologist, High Risk Security Consultant, Martial Arts and Defensive Skills Instructor made a video about this. Let's watch this video.
Source and Video Credit
You can clinch so that the attacker cannot hit you in a close range and you can control the situation. However, if you fail to do that, this could end up pretty bad since there are no rules, no time limitation and no referee.
So you are on your own. Please do not consider that what works in a fighting competition, that might not work in real life for self defense.
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Stay safe. Always be happy!