Craig Jones is one of the very few Australian athletes who brought their continent to the world grappling map. He made that happen with his quick rise to the top submitting many big names on his way. Jones came out of nowhere and made waves at ADCC Worlds 2017 submitting two legends of the sport – Leandro Lo and Murilo Santana. Not only his submission-oriented style, but his humor outside the mats make him one of the most beloved grapplers today. In this article we are not going to disregard his personality, but we are going to look into his arsenal of techniques, so we can get a better understanding of Craig Jones as a grappler. Here are the top three moves that served him well on his way to becoming one of the best No Gi grapplers today.
Many consider Craig Jones as just a leglock specialist, but he is a master of the triangle also. Back in his purple belt days (when he used to compete in the Gi) he had tons of success with it and he continues to rely on this technique even at the highest level. He mostly attacks with the triangle from bottom, but also uses it as an opportunity to control his opponent after he gets the kimura trap. He even won a superfight against the European standout Adam Wardzinski with a reverse triangle. It comes naturally to Jones to shoot the triangle from closed guard as he has long legs and great flexibility, but he is also showing his creative risk-taking nature by jumping for the triangle from time to time. On one occasion, taking the risk paid off really well for him – he secured the finish against BJJ living legend Murilo Santana in the second round of ADCC 2017 by jumping for the triangle and then adjusting the proper angle to get the tap. That`s one of the matches that made the world notice him.
Check out how he set up this flying submission here:
Once you finish watching Craig’s Triangle Machine you will know exactly what needs to be done to set up and finish the triangle choke, every single time.
Craig has tremendously improved his upper body attacks since he started training regularly in the “Blue Basement” and one of the submission holds we see him use successfully frequently is the rear n*ked choke. We do not disregard his success with rear naked chokes before joining forces with Danaher`s Death Squad, but it seems like the Aussie is more aggressive in his hunt for the back and more skilled with his control of this dominant position which eventually leads to an opening for a rear naked choke. 25% of his submission wins come via RNC and he has managed to submit opponents like Leandro Lo, Gabriel Arges, Jon Blank and Aaron Johnson with this classic stranglehold. Participating in multiple “EBI Rules” events has also pushed Craig to endeavor into the world of rear n*ked chokes and its modifications and become a master at making people tap while he`s on their back.
Here you can see how Jones set up the back take and secured a RNC against one of the all-time BJJ greats Leandro Lo:
The Heel Hook
Aaand perhaps the most dangerous weapon in Jones`s arsenal is the almighty heel hook. Almost half of Craig`s submission victories were won via a heel hook. Jones has many ways to get this powerful joint lock, but his Single Leg X/Ashi Garami and “Saddle” attacks are his favorites. He has quite a few transitions from outside to inside heel hook and his finishing technique is battle-tested against elite grapplers at various different formats and rulesets. Craig`s A-Game is all about the heel hooks and he is always looking to elevate his opponents, so he can scoot underneath them and get some sort of leg entanglement. If he fails with the heel hook, he goes for a different kind of leglock or tries to get to the back. He has tapped out some of the biggest names out there with a heel hook, including (but not limited to) Nathan Orchard, Jake Shields, Richie Martinez, Tim Spriggs and Gilbert Burns.
Watch this breakdown of Craig Jones`s heel hook submissions to get a better understanding of his aggressive leg lock oriented game:
Craig Jones keeps on evolving and we see that he is adding more and more weapons to his arsenal with every next performance he has. His wrestling is getting a lot better and his guillotine/front headlock game is also becoming a huge threat that should not be neglected by any of his future opponents. At 29 years of age Jones is about to enter his prime and if he continues to develop physically, technically and mentally, we might see him become part of the “Greatest No-Gi Grapplers Ever” club.
Learning the leg attack game is a smart thing to do if you want to pursue the no gi, sub only game. Learning this game will give you an advantage of the standard points seeking fighter. So don’t be a fool, and start picking up leg entanglements and attacks. If you really want to improve this part of your game, then you need to check out Craig Jones new DVD Set “Down Under Leg Attacks.” Craig Jones is quickly becoming one of the biggest superstars in bjj due to his outstanding performance at ADCC 2017 in Finland where he was able to submit Leandro Lo. He recently competed at an EBI and submitted everyone on his way to the finals via inside sankaku heel hook. He almost got the king, Gordon Ryan in an arm lock in the finals but fell short!