Defending Guard Pulls With Leg Locks with Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of leg locks. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more - find more of his leg lock articles and resources at

There are few grapplers that are so complete and well rounded as Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida. An imposing figure, the 220 pounder defies all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu logic and floats around the mat with such ease that you can help but stop and marvel at how well he grapples.

A fearless competitor that can end the match in more ways than I care to count, Buchecha has a soft spot in his heart for anything involving leg locks…which makes two of us! Relentlessly pursuing your feet, you can only hope he gives up after a while, because once he gets his paws on your feet; it’s over.

The relentless leg lock pursuit was on full display at the Abu Dhabi World trials just a few months back, when Almeida locked horns with James Puopolo. An imposing figure in his own right, Puopolo found out just how dangerous Buchecha can be when pursuing the leg lock.

Defending The Guard Pull

Right out of the gate, James Puopolo made it clear what his game plan was: pull guard. The very first guard pull was sloppy to say the least, causing the legs of both men to be intertwined. Almeida began fighting for the leg right then and there.

Furiously looking for the kneebar, Puopolo was able to defend the hold causing Almeida to forfeit the hold. He was, however, able to obtain top position and became very heavy through his hips. This forced Puopolo to the mat, giving him little room to move.

Eventually, given his size, Puopolo was able to muscle his way back to his feet.

Eyes On The Prize: The Leg Lock

Once they began dancing around the mat again, Puopolo once more pulled guard, which wasn’t fooling Almeida. Once it didn’t work to his advantage, it seemed that Puopolo entertained the idea of utilizing an inverted guard, which would have left his feet extremely exposed and vulnerable.

Once more, the opportunity arose for Buchecha to attack the legs of Puopolo. Once he saw his chance, he pounced right on the leg looking for a knee bar, similarly to when he attempted it earlier in the match.

Aware of this, Puopolo did a fantastic job of defending the lock and made sure that Almeida could not extend the leg back for the submission. Seeing the defense firmly in place, Buchecha abandoned the knee bar and put focus on the foot on Buchecha, scoring the submission victory. If you're interested in learning about other wins by Buchecha and the success of his team there are many other good resources including this one.

The game plan was implemented and worked extremely well for Almeida. Even when Puopolo was able to implement his own attack, Almeida kept his cool and was able to fight through the adversity.

Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida is as good as they come. His sheer size, strength and agility make him a mutant-like grappler, with the skills to support this claim.

Dan Faggella

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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