This weekend saw a number of high-level BJJ matches on display at Subversiv 5, including a phenomenal performance by NCAA All-American wrestler Pat Downey. In his match against Rasheed Perez, he eventually went on to win via unanimous decision. However, there was one particular moment that captured the attention of the audience.
During the match, the ex-US Open wrestling champion Downey was stuck in top half guard. It’s a picture we’ve all seen before with wrestlers in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; explosiveness until a leg entanglement. This is where Downey did something quite different though.
Whilst he was in the top half guard position, he managed to get a body lock on Perez. Again, this is nothing new…what happened next was though. At this point, Downey proceeded to stand up whilst holding the body lock and staying connected to Perez. Once Perez’s feet left the floor, his half guard lock broke, and Downey proceeded to suplex him. The result was a pass into side control, which also exposed the back.
This begs the question, what can we learn from this? Firstly, it was an impressive display of strength from Downey. Put simply, most BJJ athletes probably wouldn’t be able to lift their opponent and simultaneously stand up without using their arms. Obviously, Downey is built a bit different and has the explosive, powerful background of an elite wrestler. With this said, as impressive as it was, it’s probably not a move that even many experienced competitors could pull off.
Secondly, Pat Downey has shown that BJJ can still learn from other forms of grappling. Was it unusual and situational? Yes. However, it was also practical and effective. Put another way, it helped Downey out of a tight spot and eventually with the match. It should also be noted that Rasheed Perez is no slouch either, and is an avid competitor and purple belt himself.
So, what next for Pat Downey? He’s already beat Nick Rodriguez in a wrestling match a few years back, so his pedigree is there. However, after turning his attention to BJJ it seems that he’s already causing a stir. He is currently training with Vagner Rocha too, which is probably a match made in heaven in terms of style.
Whether this technique gains traction is still yet to be seen. Nonetheless, this a textbook example of how BJJ can learn from wrestling and grow as a result.