How I deal with larger, stronger, heavier opponents for Gi BJJ


White Belt
Apr 9, 2008
Reaction score
I see a lot of posts asking how to deal with guys heavier and bigger. Most responses to this issue is to play open guard, arm drag, take the back, etc. However, I wanted to post a more detailed game plan and specify specific techniques that work for me. Note: The following is my game plan when I go against guys that outweight me buy 50+ lbs. When I roll with guys similar in size, my game plan is different. Please feel free to make suggestions and critique.

Background: I have been training BJJ for almost 2 years (blue belt). I am lucky to train under a great instructor and have great training partners. I am about 5
Wow, excellent work! That's a really great approach you have. Thanks for posting this ... I think I will try to put it in the sticky. I agree with almost everything you say as a small v. big strategy.
BJJesq: Good writeup. I assume from your name that you're yet another attorney who dabbles in BJJ. haha... It's great that you're formulating a comprehensive game plan. I keep preaching this to beginners that you really need to develop a total game plan (an answer for every situation/position that you might find yourself in).
WOW! I clicked on this thread thinking I'd find another noob asking the same ol' question. What I found was a well thought out, and extremely well researched post. Great first post!
I think the gameplan has to change slightly against guys who like to do seated passes or standing passes.

Against guys who stand, I like to use stuff like de la riva and x guard. Against guys who like to stay low all the time, I will use spider guard and a seated guard. I hardly ever use closed guard, its just to kill some time if the guy is bombarding me with guard passes like a wrecking ball. I need to get myself together so go into closed guard for a minute to regroup.

I use to like using a seated guard against people that do standing passes, but I stopped doing it once the really fast guys just kept grabbing my gi pants, holding it down and passing from there. The guys at my club are generally very fast so its something I have to be really carefull of.
Very well done. A reminder to people that forget that Sherdog join date has nothing to do with skill, ability or intelligence. The only thing I do that is a little different (not better just different) is that I play with my feet on their hips a lot. This allows the strongest muscles in my body to control his weight. Typically I work sweeps from there or just push off and scramble to a single leg. But then again I am more wrestler than BJJ player.
"A reminder to people that forget that Sherdog join date has nothing to do with skill, ability or intelligence."

lmao @ having to point this out for TARDS who think *join * date is the actual day u started training .

...but its true tho :)
Thanks for the reply guys.

Sherdog_Mutt: I like to think of myself as a BJJ guy who dabbles in the law. =)

Zankou: I just read your thread on the same issue.
There are many guys at my club who are great at omoplata from the closed guard. That and the turtle guard are two aspects that I definitely want to work on.

Here is part 2 of my gameplan:

In the event I am successfully able to sweep my opponent and I end up on top, I hardly ever use the mount because with my weight, I don't really feel like I have enough control. As a smaller guy, I have most success with Side Mount and Knee on Belly.

A. Side Mount:
Sorry, I hit submit reply by accident.

A. Side Mount
a) Positioning: Although I love Saulo, I have difficulty playing side mount using only "hip connection". Instead, I use the standard side control where I cross face opponent's head and lock my hands together. The key to this position is cross facing opponent hard by driving my shoulder hard into opponents chin/face to prevent him from turning into me.
b) Once I get control in side mount, I begin my attacks. The first thing I like to to is to Bug Opponents Neck. I like to do this constantly. I Grab deep in X
With you being 5'4" and 110lbs, no wonder you have a lot to write about.

Good stuff.
I'm a small guy too (120) pounds but have being Jiu Jitsu for only 9 months so I end up on bottom a lot. I really like the armdrag from open seated guard and have been practicing it a lot! When it comes to escapes Marcelo Garcia Winning Techniques of Submission Grappling Series 3 has some of the best escapes I've seen. Some of them are oldies that I learned, forgot and then relearned. They are very solid, fundamental and high percentage escapes using a really cool type of bridge. I highly recommend it to all the small guys out there who end up in bad positions. Great post by the way, I learned a lot and it was very informative.

Where's your armdrag?- My instructor
Hi all,
sorry for the naive question, but I don't seem to be able to access the original post that describes the gameplan. Is it still available somewhere?
At the two year mark I think this is exactly the right question to be asking.

Here's Brandon Mullins, 118 lb world champion, talking about game plans.

What happened to the original post?

As a bigger, stronger guy, I'd like to know how little people deal with me so I can deal with them.
What happened to the original post?

As a bigger, stronger guy, I'd like to know how little people deal with me so I can deal with them.

I was reading the first post thinking it was all, and then seeing @Zankou talk about how well thought out and detail post it was.

I thought he was being a sarcastic asshole until read the dates.