Generally speaking, the fighter on top has the advantage on the ground, but the guard neutralizes things. Many MMA experts would even argue that the fighter in the bottom-guard position has the advantage. There’s a reason why fighters are typically hesitant to jump into the guards of fighters like Charles Oliveira, Demian Maia, and Gilbert Burns.
The BJJ guard helps you to minimize the effectiveness of your opponent’s punches, and it allows you to end the fight in an instant. There are countless submissions, sweeps, and reversals that can be executed from the guard.
Three Best BJJ Guards For MMA
Each guard has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose the one that best suits your fighting style. Train hard and become unstoppable in the cage.
1) The Closed Guard
The closed guard is one of the most common and basic guards in BJJ. It’s a simple guard that can be used to control your opponent’s torso, but it limits the number of submissions you can pull off.
An excellent closed guard can significantly reduce your opponent’s ability to land effective ground strikes, and it can even tire them out. However, it should be noted that being in a top-ground position looks good to MMA judges, so you don’t want to be stuck in your closed guard all day.
To execute a closed guard, you simply lock your legs together while in the guard position. Use your hands to control your opponent’s hands to limit the attacks they can throw at you.
The closed guard is something you use when you’re worried about your opponent’s ground and pound or you need to catch your breath. It’s an effective way to slow down the action, and you can even force the referee to stand you back up with it.
2) The Butterfly Guard
The butterfly guard is a great way to sweep your opponent while also being in an excellent position to submit them. This guard allows you to control your opponent’s legs while also having the option to go for submissions or sweeps.
To execute the butterfly guard, start in the standard guard position. From there, bring your feet up and hook them around your opponent’s legs. Use your legs to control their movement and keep them from posturing up.
This guard is an excellent option if you’re looking to sweep your opponent or go for submissions like the kimura or Americana. It’s also a good position to be in if you’re trying to avoid being mounted.
The downside of the butterfly guard is that it can be challenging to maintain if your opponent is stronger than you. They may be able to posture up and out of the position, or they could sweep you with their leg movement.
Some of the simple things you can do to make your butterfly guard more effective include:
- Do not let your back touch the ground when in that position. Instead, sit up with your lower back perpendicular to the ground.
- One of your feet should be slightly outside your opponent’s corresponding foot, while the other is right inside its counterpart. The outside foot is used to power your sweeps, while the inside foot is used to lift your opponent as you sweep.
3) The Rubber Guard
BJJ ace Eddie Bravo popularized the rubber guard in the early 2000s. It’s an advanced guard position that requires a great deal of flexibility. The rubber guard is a variation of the open guard that involves grabbing your shin with your opposite arm over your opponent’s back.
The rubber guard significantly restricts your opponent’s mobility, and it’s arguably the most effective guard when it comes to defending against ground strikes. It also leaves your opponent open to several submissions like the omoplata, gogoplata, and triangle choke.
The first thing you need to know about the rubber guard is how to get there. Generally, you’ll be starting from the bottom of the full guard. From here, you’ll trap your opponent’s near arm with your legs. You can do this in a few different ways, but the most common is to cross your ankles over their biceps and grab onto their wrist with your hand.
Once you have their arm trapped, it’s time to work on isolating their far arm. You’ll do this by reaching over their head with your free hand and grabbing onto their far biceps. Once you have a hold of both arms, it’s time to start isolating their far arm. You’ll need to sit up and start scooting your butt back towards their hips to do this.
You’ll also need to bring your knees up towards your chest as you start to sit up. The goal here is to get your hips as close as possible to their shoulders while trapping their arms between your legs. This can be a bit of a juggling act, but you’ll get the hang of it with a bit of practice. Once you’re in position, it’s time to finish the move by trapping their far arm between your legs.
Now that you have their arms isolated, it’s time to start working on submitting your opponent. The most common submission from the rubber guard is the armbar, but there are many other options available to you. For example, you can also go for a triangle choke or an omoplata. No matter what submission you’re going for, the key is to keep your opponent’s arms isolated and to control their hips. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the rubber guard.
One of the things that make the rubber guard so effective is the fact that it allows you to control your opponent without using a lot of energy. Conversely, our opponent is forced to use lots of energy as they try to break away from your guard.
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