How to Counter the Butterfly Sweep Defense

How to Counter the Butterfly Sweep Defense

 Great Technique To Get The Sweep!

Regardless of how long you have been training, you have probably used butterfly guard or at least defended it. It is an excellent guard position that allows for numerous sweeps, submissions, back takes, and leg lock entries. This guard has been around for many years and was made even more popular by Marcelo Garcia.

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One of the simplest and most widely used sweeps from the butterfly guard is a sweep named after the guard, the butterfly sweep. This easy sweep utilizes a butterfly hook to lift one’s opponent to the opposite side, and if their arm is removed, it will eventually lead to a simple sweep that will take one to side control, mount, or knee on belly.


The most common reaction people will have to this sweep is sliding their knee out to the side and using their arm as a base. If your opponent does this, the sweep becomes near impossible. If you examine it, though, you will notice that your opponent’s base is focused exclusively to one side, making all other sides open for attack.


In the following video, 10X Jiu Jitsu World Champ and one of the best grapplers ever, Bruno Malfacine, shows a sweep from butterfly guard in which he takes advantage of his partner’s undefended bases.

Most grapplers working from the top position defend all of their bases except the rear. This is because very few sweeps involve the guard player to come forward and knock their partner down backwards. Most sweeps are side sweeps, and all grapplers are well aware of that.

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In order to make this sweep successful though, the defender has to be afraid of the butterfly sweep first. If it becomes obvious what you are trying to do, they can easily push back and defend against this sweep.


Head positioning is particularly important in this sweep because the guard player should be using their head to push their partner back. If your opponent’s head finds its way under your head, this sweep becomes impossible. An important lesson from this sweep is that when playing guard, it is always a good idea to be ready to move forward and push your partner against their undefended rear.

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