Special Guest Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Wilson Reis and the Tozi Guard Pass

We've got a special treat today. Bloody Elbow reader CaptainArmbar aka Joel Snape, the features editor for Men's Fitness UK, has submitted a Judo Chop documenting the…

By: Bloody Elbow | 14 years ago
Special Guest Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Wilson Reis and the Tozi Guard Pass
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

We’ve got a special treat today. Bloody Elbow reader CaptainArmbar aka Joel Snape, the features editor for Men’s Fitness UK, has submitted a Judo Chop documenting the slick guard passing Wilson Reis showed against Shane Lierley at Bellator XIV. This should be considered a sequel to the Judo Chop I did on Reis’ incredible half-guard sweeps in the same fight. Take it away Joel:

The Wilson Reis pass – schizophrenically known as the Margarida, Tozi, Sao Paolo and ChimPass – is not a pass many beginners learn, because it breaks at least three of the cardinal guard-passing rules you’re taught in BJJ.

  1. You keep your hands on the guy’s chest, not on the floor.
  2. You posture up.
  3. You don’t reach back to try and open the guy’s guard.

These are very good to impress on a beginner because they’re good rules of thumb for avoiding basic subs like the triangle and omoplata. You need a bit of jiu-jitsu experience to break these rules, because you need to know what the threats you’re dealing with are, and be experienced enough with applying proper pressure to make sure you’re nullifying them. From the top, then…

Animated gifs, videos and more in the full entry

Gifs by Chris Nelson

The first hint you get that Reis is going for the pass is that he slides one arm under Lierley’s armpit. Normally putting a hand on the ground would open up the chance for an omoplata, but Reis gets a deep underhook, which means he can use shoulder pressure to keep Lierley flat on the mat. He’s also keeping his hips low and very tight, which basically kills Lierley’s hip movement and any chance of him throwing up a triangle. This is important, because it’s time for stage two: reach back to grab the leg. Normally this is a terrible idea in BJJ, but Lierley has basically no movement off his back at this point.

Sometimes you can just break the guard with one hand, but against guys who are determined to hang on, Justin Garcia teaches a nice variation where you use your thigh to prise their feet apart. Because you can’t see what’s going on you have to ‘feel’ which way to circle your leg for the break, and to do it at the speed Reis manages here is an indication of how much he’s honed this pass.

It’s possible to pop straight over into side control at this point, but against someone with explosive hips it’s safer to just pop one leg over and take half guard, rather than risking losing the whole move. This pass meshes beautifully with the classic head/arm control half-guard pass (also beloved of GSP and Jake Shields) because you’ve already got the underhook you need and the opponent’s already flattened out.

The commentary featured a lot of talk about Lierley being uncomfortable on his back, but this is actually a very good pass to use against wrestlers. A wrestler’s typically going to use hip movement to make space and explode off their back, but this basically shuts down any movement, and the main risk is the omoplata/triangle, which no wrestler is likely to try on a BJJ black belt. In fact, opening your guard to try to get something going is going to get your guard passed quicker if you’re inexperienced. In this second pass, Lierley seems to try something, and as a result Reis doesn’t even need to switch his hips – he just stuffs the foot and blasts over the guard.

Before this match I was pretty dubious about this move’s potential for MMA, because your head’s so much in punching range – I hadn’t realised that having your head flat to the guy’s chest and underhooking one of his arms basically takes away all the distance and leverage you need to land any kind of decent shot off your back. It actually seems like a great move to use against wrestlers – most passes allow them to use their explosive hips to create a scramble and stand back up, but this one basically eliminates that possibility. There’s a chance Lierley hadn’t even seen/felt this before, and he’s certainly never had it done to him by someone who’s mastered it as thoroughly as Reis.

Here’s the pass explained in brilliant, 17-minute detail by Justin ‘ChimChim’ Garcia:

And here Roberto Tozi – the man who taught the pass to Reis – teaches a variation of the move where he tripods up first, which you can see Reis try a couple of times in the full fight.

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