Leandro Lo Pereira do Nascimento is an elite black belt competitor dominating the lightweight division in men’s BJJ. A relative new comer, the phenom burst onto the scene 2 years ago defeating another stalwart, Michael Langhi. Lo is know for having both an amazing guard as well as having some of the best passing in the sport. Ironically, despite winning the World Championships in 2012, he hasn’t quite reached the fame of his other Cicero Costha team mates, the Miyao brothers.
Lo has an uncanny ability to pass either using a loose free flowing style as well as a tight grinding/smashing style. He meshes both styles well and combined with his amazing balance, he has passed most of the top guards in the world. His unique passing style will be the subject of several pieces.
Lo’s Tiny Adjustments to the “Basics”
Lo appears to employ a “basic style” ie no inversions, berimbolos, “modern” leg dragging etc, but his subtle yet effective modifications to the “traditional” knee slide pass, bullfighter pass, DLR/Spider, qualifies his style as “modern BJJ”.
I’ll let the video do the talking, but a big key to Leandro’s passing success is his use of “active posting” (putting his hand(s) on the mat and re-basing out of sweeps rather than fighting them). Rather than trying to dominate position and establish “base”, Lo floats over his opponent and uses dynamic adjustment with his free hand. This technique allows Lo to pressure/smash his opponent working the knee slide pass till it’s given up. He has never been swept overhead/sideways since using this and is able to camp on top of an opponent for extended periods of the match grinding them out.
Using active posting Lo also does a modified long step/scorpion pass which is typically taught with a crossface grip. His modification allows him to pass good reverse de la riva guard players, which is typically a good counter move to a knee slider.
Seeing subtle modifications to basic moves employed so effectively at the top level of this sport shows how BJJ’s evolution doesn’t always have to be towards the “complex”.
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bonus: Another competitor more famous for his guard also employs several aspects of Lo’s top game in his own passing. Check it out.