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BJJ Instructional Videos
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How To Beat The Bigger Guys In BJJ

How To Beat The Bigger Guys In BJJ


We Have All Struggled With A Bigger, Stronger Opponent, But Bruno Malfacine Knows What It Takes For The Smaller Guy To Gain A True Competitive Edge!

If you are anything like me then you struggle with the bigger guys on the mats. My instructor is always testing my abilities by putting me against bigger guys. It can be a real challenge, especially on the bottom. I am not the biggest guy, so I am not always able to retain my guard against an aggressive opponent. So whenever I establish my guard I am immediately looking for a way to get back to side control, my preferred position to regain control over the roll and start looking for submissions.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a discipline made for the smaller man to be able to beat the bigger man. It doesn’t matter if you are smaller, slower, or older, if you know more about applying leverage and technique then you can still sweep and submit anyone. As a career roosterweight, no one knows this better than Bruno Malfacine


The more I explore BJJ the more I realize there are just so many different ways to play guard, and some are a lot more appropriate for bigger opponents. A good guard player does not just know how to retain their guard; they know how to set up effective sweeps. Sweeping your opponent is probably the most effective way to change your position. When I am looking for new sweeps that work on bigger opponent’s I look to guys like Bruno Malfacine who have a real understanding of what it takes.

Bruno Malfacine is a 10x World Champion jiu jitsu black belt under Vinicius Amaral. Bruno weights in a just 127 pounds and is regarded as the best rooster weight in the history of jiu jitsu. His most notable titles are IBJJF Pan American Championship, IBJJF European Open, IBJJF World Champion, and much more. Bruno has a great series on BJJ Fanatics that is all about beating bigger opponents. In this series he focuses on butterfly guard and a variety of sweeps, X guard and back takes, ballon sweeps, De La Riva guard and a whole lot more. Let’s check out two sweeps from Bruno Malfacine that will help you beat the bigger guys.

Balloon Sweep Variation by Bruno Malfacine

The ballon sweep is great for lifting a person off of you. You might not think this would work against a bigger opponent, but when done correctly it does not take a lot of power to life your training partner and balance them. It all comes down to positioning. Let’s check it out! Watch the video below and then we will break down the technique.

The first thing Bruno Malfacine does is establish his guard. He keeps his right foot in the hip of his opponent and wraps his left leg around the outside of his opponent’s other leg. He hooks the back of the leg with his foot. Your knee should be right next to your opponent’s knee. You want to control the upper part of his leg, too low and the sweep will be difficult to pull off. Bruno also really emphasizes how important it is to get that hook deep in the thigh. It should basically be inside of your opponent’s thigh. If you do not go deep enough with your hook then your opponent can easily clear your leg and start passing your guard. When Bruno sets his hook he is looking for a reaction from his opponent. His leg should bend at the knee and buckle inwards. Now his training partner’s leg is turned in, weakening his base and also controlling his legs with good entanglement.

From here Bruno can start breaking down his opponent’s posture. With his legs properly controlled, Bruno is able to attack his opponent’s arms.  Typically your training partner will start to post on your shoulders. This allows Bruno to establish a deep collar grip with one hand. His other hand goes to his opponent’s elbow to prevent it from flaring out. This puts Bruno in the perfect position to his the ballon sweep. Bruno demonstrates where the leverage comes from in order for this sweep to work. Your legs have all the power and ability to easily lift your opponent. You can do this completely with out the use of your arms. To hit the sweep Bruno simply pulls with his opponent while kicking his legs and rolling through. He ends up in top mount, the perfect position to start attacking sweeps or submissions, or transition into side control.

Knee Push Sweep Butterfly Guard by Bruno Malfacine

The knee push sweep from butterfly is a very low effort sweep for a maximum amount of payoff. It allows you to sweep a bigger opponent who is seated on their knees. Let’s see how Bruno does it. Check out the video below and then we will break down the technique!

The way you set up your butterfly guard on this one is very important. Bruno is seated in a way that he can easily establish his hooks. He uses an under hook low on his opponent’s back. Bruno emphasizes head positioning in this technique. You want your head to be directly next to your opponent’s chin, pressuring tight into his trap. If you are too loose with this it will allow your opponent to come around to the other side with his head and pass you. So be sure to stay tight with your under hook and your head, and then start controlling your opponent’s base by grabbing his knee and pulling it in towards you. From here Bruno lifts with his butterfly hook and starts to sit backwards, causing his opponent to come forward into his guard. Bruno uses this off balancing to push his opponent backwards. Now he can come to his knee and then push his opponent over, finishing the sweep. When he lands, Bruno is immediately looking to pass his opponent’s bottom knee to get around the half guard.

If you are a smaller guy who gets smashed often by bigger guys then Bruno Malfacine is a great competitor to study. Bruno competes in the lightest division in Jiu Jitsu but can sweep guys bigger than him. Bruno has some great advice to dealing with bigger opponents. Check out the video below!

Bruno has some great advice that is really simple. Remember; use your speed and agility to your advantage. And do not be afraid of going against bigger opponents, even if it is frustrating and you get tapped over and over. Going against bigger opponents is how you learn to develop precision techniques. No matter whom you are, with a few rare exceptions, chances are there is always going to be someone bigger than you out there. So if you are looking for great advice on how to beat bigger opponents then be sure to check out Bruno’s instructional series, “How To Beat Bigger Guys” and see how one of the greatest black belts of all time sweeps and submits guys even double his size.


The Lightweight Guard: Learn To Use Your Smaller Size To Your Advantage To Destroy Everyone In The Gym.

If you are sick of being smashed, learn from a small guy just like you, who learned to use his smaller size as a weapon.



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