Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Let's start with the "Greatest BJJ Match Ever!"

I want to start with this match for three reasons:
1.  It's one of the most visible BJJ matches in recent memory (Thanks Budovideos for putting it on Youtube for free!)
2.  There are some debatable calls by the referee, especially one I asked about on Sherdog.
3.  During the last referee certification seminar I attended, hosted by Andrew Smith at Revolution BJJ in Richmond VA, this match was used as a case study, so it's fresh in my mind.

Without further ado, here's the match:

And here are my comments:

0:50 - Buchecha pulls guard and sweeps.  Straightforward.

3:05 - Rodolfo could arguably get an advantage for causing Buchecha to sit to his butt / attempting a foot lock.

3:30 - The competitors are in a neutral position very close to the edge of the mat.  This would have been an excellent time to stop the action and restart in the center.  Instead the referee hesitates and 5 seconds later has to stop Rodolfo just as he is initiating a sweep.  I have been guilty of this mistake as well and now I do my best to stop a match that is close to the edge at the first possible chance.

5:10 - Rodolfo sweeps off the omoplata no problem.  The next sequence, however, is a bit controversial.  Does Buchecha ever have a guard established?  I vote yes.  I think it's a weak guard, but his hips have not yet been stifled and his left leg is in play.  I think Rodolfo had to work to get him into the leg drag position, so he deserves points for the pass that comes 15 seconds later.  Braulio Estima disagrees.

I would like to see some clarification on this scenario because it is becoming common in the modern competition game.  If a competitor is swept directly into a leg drag, will a guard pass be scored?  I have seen IBJJF matches scored both ways (but it seems like more times guys get the pass points than not).

6:20 - Buchecha attempts a knee bar.  Deserves the advantage.

6:30 - Buchecha comes up on top for the sweep.  I've personally missed this call a couple times (and felt bad afterwards) because it's easy to forget where the competitors started the sequence especially if it goes on for a while.

7:10 - Rodolfo initiates a knee bar sweep of his own and ends up in a transitional position where he gets 2 points if he comes on top or an advantage if doesn't.

8:20 - Rodolfo finally come up and earns his points.

10:15 - Rodolfo initiates a half-guard pass that comes close to ending in full mount.  I think he deserves an advantage for this series which lasts the next 30 seconds.

10:50 - This is the most controversial call of the match in my opinion (Braulio Estima disagrees, he's still worried about the guard pass).  Did Buchecha have guard?  I think he didn't, but the ref sees it the other way.  If he didn't have guard, the reversal would not earn points. However if he did have guard, the reversal would be a sweep worth 2 points.

I don't fault the referee at all, I think he was at a bad angle to determine if the guard was established.  Plus he had to make the call in real time, I have the advantage of rewinding and watching it over.

11:20 - Rodolfo gets caught looking at the clock and gets taken down.  Easy 2 for Buchecha.  I think Buchecha gets the points immediately because Rodolfo lands on his back, and not because the takedown lands out of bounds, but I'm unfamiliar with how IBJJF rules score this.

12:35 - Rodolfo goes for an advantage-worthy armbar.

Official Result: Rodolfo loses 8-7

My Result: Rodolfo wins 7-6.  The official referee and I just disagree on the sweep, but that changed the entire outcome of the match.  Perhaps we need multiple refs/judges per match like they have in Judo?