Aloha guys, thought you'd enjoy this breakdown of Roger.
The infamous Roger Gracie re-emerged at the IBJJF Black Belt League Super Fight after a three year hiatus. Known for his mastery of the basics, his return to jiu jitsu did not disappoint. Roger faced another BJJ legend, Black Belt World Champion Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros, in a match where Comprido came out hot and took Roger down with a snatch single leg. After recovering full guard, Roger systematically began to unwind Comprido's game in an era where flashy moves are a hell of a lot more common than full guard.
After landing in an open guard position. Roger grabs his opponent's lapel and pulls Comprido forward to closed guard. Comprido attempts to raise a knee to defend but the pull from Roger shifts Comprido's weight forward and he is forced to enter the closed guard.
Once Roger pulls Comprido into his closed guard, he straightaway establishes a cross grip to attempt to arm drag. Comprido realizes this and defends by gripping the same side lapel to prevent the arm drag. In a series of counters Roger ultimately ends up with the upper hand by weaving under Comprido's grip and breaking the grip. With the grip broken, Roger immediately prevents Comprido from regripping and transitions to a cross sleeve + tricep control.
With the trap set, Roger patiently waits for Comprido's mistake. Comprido defends by raising his right leg to weight down his left elbow and prevent the drag. But when Comprido gets frustrated and raises up his elbow to attempt to break Roger's grip, Roger seizes his opportunity and hip escapes underneath the elbow.
Now with the angle, Roger feeds Comprido's lapel to help with the sweep. To defend, Comprido raises his left leg but Roger does not panic. Lesser jiu jitsu fighters would be stumped and switch to another attack thinking their sweep was blocked. Instead, Roger places his foot on Comprido's left hip and hip escapes until Comprido is forced to drop to his left knee. As soon as the knee hits the ground, Roger sweeps to mount.
With Roger mounted on Comprido and Comprido giving his back to defend from the cross choke, the inevitable end is near. But not so fast, a crafty veteran himself, Comprido defends his neck well forcing Roger to grip the collar underneath his arm preventing standard collar chokes. Realizing this, Roger attempts to finish an ezekiel grip from the quarter guard. When Comprido turns in to defend, Roger frees his left foot from quarter guard and transitions to the S-mount. With each attempt to defend, Roger closes yet another exit and Comprido is forced deeper down the rabbit hole until there is no escape.
Now in the S-Mount, Roger pulls across the far arm of Comprido and tucks it into his armpit taking the defending arm out of the fight. Weaving his arm under and gripping his lapel, Roger is able to focus on breaking Comprido's grip to finish the arm bar. With all escape routes now closed, Comprido is forced to tap or hyperextend his elbow.
Watching someone like Roger compete reminds me of the early Gracie in Action tapes where your opponent is systematically defeated. It begins by luring them down the rabbit hole until each avenue of escape is closed off. If your opponent does A you do B. And once you hit the bottom and there's no place left to go, your opponent is forced to submit. In an age of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where every new guard seems more complicated than the last, it's refreshing to see that a simple yet effective style of Jiu Jitsu still lives.