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Is Pulling Guard in MMA the Worst or The Best Strategy For A Grappler?


Is Pulling Guard in MMA the Worst or The Best Strategy For A Grappler?

Pulling Guard is seen as a cowards way outside of grappling. This is why we see so many anti butt scoot memes:

But with the pending debut of Kron Gracie into the octagon maybe it’s time to reassess this strategy – after all Vinny Magalhaes got to the final of the PFL tournament with it.

Kron Gracie faced MMA veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri at the Rizin Fighting Federation Grand Prix: Final Round event on December 31st, 2016. He won via rear-naked choke in the second round. This improved his professional MMA record to 4-0. Kron also pulled guard twice just as he did in his other MMA fights.

His father, the legendary Rickson Gracie was in Kron’s corner in Japan.

In an interview with Combate.com, Rickson talked about how his son Kron uses a ‘self defense guard’ which other BJJ fighters don’t know:

“Kron isn’t a striking expert but he has developed his to the point where he feels comfortable standing. He doesn’t feel forced to take the bout to the ground. When he feels it is the ideal moment, without hesitation, he does and displays a specific guard for MMA, much different from the one used in competitive BJJ. The difference is that, on the self-defense guard, you keep your opponent under pressure in order to have room to strike. BJJ fighters are afraid to pull into guard, because they don’t know the self-defense guard.”

In an interview with MMA Fighting, Kron talked about why he has pulled guard in all his past MMA Fights:

“I DIDN’T TRAIN TO PULL GUARD. IT SIMPLY HAPPENED,” HE SAID. “I DON’T THINK HE LET ME DO THIS, I JUST THINK HE DIDN’T HAVE MUCH OPTION. THE WAY I PULLED GUARD, IT WAS TOUGH (FOR HIM TO ESCAPE). I DON’T THINK HE EXPECTED THAT. AND ME NEITHER. IT WAS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED THAT MOMENT, AND IT’S HARD TO DEFEND FOR SOMETHING YOU DON’T EXPECT.”

Here’s an interesting breakdown of that analyses the tactic of the guard pull, which is common in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and No Gi BJJ, but rare in MMA. Australian BJJ Black Belt Sonny Brown discusses the strategy behind why you would pull guard, its drawbacks and explain specific techniques

And if you like Kron here’s another fun study:

Kron Gracie makes his UFC debut February 17th vs Alex Caceres.

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