Ricky Royce vs Levi Sadr: An Example of Small Details Making a Difference

This match happened a few years ago at the Diamond State Games in Delaware. I know that Levi Sadr in the white gi was a relatively new purple belt at that time, and I have no idea about Ricky Royce in the blue gi. What’s interesting though is that you can clearly see a repetition of tactics and a progression of small adaptations based on the results.

Point Breakdown

For ease in differentiating between the competitors, I will just call them by the color of their gis from this point on. Also in the summary of the video it states that the score ended up being 4-2, but the ref scored it wrong.I’ll explain why.

At 2:00, the first points in the match were scored by blue. He hit clean a butterfly sweep by dominating the underhook on his right side, and trapping his opponent’s arm on the left side. Two points were awarded to blue.

Next at 5:05, a scramble began that ended with white being awarded two points, but the end result of that scramble was that white was still on the bottom. So at no point was control sufficiently established for points to be awarded. In fact, it can even be legitimately argued that blue should have been given two for the takedown since they stood back up and he initiated the action that led it back to the ground. It is hard to be sure though since that portion of the match was offscreen.

Last at 6:56, there was yet another guard pull to butterfly guard to sweep, and it was clean. Blue was again awarded two for the sweep. Thus, the match should have ended either 4-0 or 6-0.

Interesting Point to Note

The most interesting thing in this match was the guard pull to butterfly to sweep which was used to score the bulk of the points. It was tried three times before it actually worked, and miracle of miracles he was actually getting more and more successful with it as he kept trying.

Usually when you use a tactic more than once it becomes harder to do since your opponent adapts, but things were different here. The key was that he was adding small details into his guard pulls to set up the sweep immediately, and he finally brought it all together in that third attempt.

So let’s go through and highlight the progression. The first time he pulled, he did it off of standard lapel and sleeve grips so he didn’t have significant control of the upper body and it was easily countered. The second time, he got his grips for the sweep before pulling by underhooking on one side and overhooking on the other. This time though, he didn’t actually establish butterfly guard before trying to sweep so he didn’t have the leverage to actually off balance his opponent.

On the next attempt, he got his grip, pulled to butterfly then went for the sweep but didn’t control the arm on his overhook side. So it was possible for his opponent pull the arm free and use that arm to maintain his balance.

When it finally worked, it came as a result of adding all those pieces of the failed attempts together. He established the grips before the pull, pulled clean to butterfly, locked down on the overhooked, and then used his legs and hips to off balance his opponent for the clean sweep. It’s a testament to how small details can make or break technique.

Consider it one more reason you should all train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Comments 1 comment

RIcky Royce 4 years ago

Thanks for the compliments on my match. I am currently a brown belt. That was a few years ago. I was also giving up about 15 lbs. in that match. I only weighed about 160 at the time. Levi also fought me left handed with an awkward,cross lapel grip on the feet, which really confused me. In other words, I couldn't implement my normal take-down game. He was very strong, however, the butterfly sweep is one of my best moves. Never quit on what works. TOO many guys go to moves that don't work and lose!!!

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