Black Belt Marcio Feitosa Explains How to Be Successful Against a Much Heavier Opponent

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Caio Terra did what he could against Gustavo Elias in San Francisco

Caio Terra did what he could against Gustavo Elias in San Francisco

The black belt absolute final at the San Francisco Open last Sunday put roosterweight Caio Terra against ultra-heavyweight Gustavo Elias. Despite all his efforts, Terra ended up being submitted by Elias with a bow and arrow choke.

So we figure it was valid to ask if there’s a way to be succesfull when fighting heavier and bigger guys. What are the techniques that Jiu-Jitsu possesses to take the weight and size advantage away from your opponent?

We went to talk with fourth degree black belt Marcio Feitosa, a three-time world champion and one of the most renowned coaches of all time.

What are Feitosa’s tips for lighter fighters to have success against heavier and bigger opponents?

“I think we can divide the bigger opponent in two categories:  the tall guy and the fat guy,” he told “Fighting Roger Gracie is different than fighting a guy with a huge gut, and they are both bigger and heavier than you. When it comes to a fat opponent and you are playing guard, it’s important to do a an armdrag and cross the guy’s arm. You will make him uncomfortable and create an opportunity for a attack on his back.

“If you managed to pass his guard, don’t go for the mount, as it is gonna be easy for him to flip you over. Prefer the knee to the belly and to attack his back.”

For taller guys, Feitosa knows what to avoid.

“If the guy is taller than you, avoid attacking his foot, once chances are he is going to attack your foot as well and be more successful,” he said.

When playing defense, Feitosa has some pointers for when you are in a bad position.

“If the guy passed your guard and is on side control,” he explained, “you have to avoid at all costs to be with your back flat on the ground. Doesn’t matter if you expose your back a little.”

As a last tip, The black belt said that your condition might be the key to your success against heavier opponents.

“Move around a lot and try to gas him out!” he exclaimed.

But for the best tip, the professor always saves for the end: “Do you really want to avoid problems with heavier opponents? Don’t sign up for the absolute!”

Here are two good examples of David vs. Goliath matches.

Marcelo Garcia vs. Ricco Rodrigues (ADCC 2007)

Marcelo Garcia v. Ricco Rodriguez by Noob1309

Rubens Cobrinha Charles vs. Rafael Lovato Jr (Pan 2009)

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