Easy Ways of Preventing Side Control Attempts


We’ve all been in a match before where we are at a clear strength disadvantage.  This only gets highlighted when us smaller guys get stuck in certain situations that cause us to be dwarfed by the physicality of our opposition.

One pass that does this is the over/under pass, which focuses heavily on the brute force of our opponent.  Having a simple, easy way to learn to escape from this approach is something every lightweight grappler should have in their arsenal!


With a focus on body control, positioning and grip strength, it’s easy to pick up.

Dictating The Placement of Their Body

This specific setup we’re assuming that our opponent is using can be a tricky one.  The over/under pass is normally used by strong grapplers that have no issues bulldozing their opponent over in order to take advantage of them.

There are a couple of things you’d want keep in mind when this sequence is occurring:

  • They have the advantage as long as their head and hips are on opposite sides of your body!
  • Likewise, they are relatively safe as long as their body is out of the range your legs can cover.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, make sure that your shoulder blades stay off of the mat!

If your opponent is able to get you onto the mat, then you’re in some serious trouble.  However, the way to go about defending this setup can be rather easy if you know how to approach it!

First off, like I previously stated, make sure you keep your back off of the mat at all costs!  If they accomplish this, you’re in big trouble.  In order to escape this position, you’ll want to cup their head.

Once you do, shoot your hips out to the side while pushing their head to the opposite side of your body, so now their head and hips are aligned.  From here, you can cut your leg underneath you, allowing you to pop up quickly and either go on the offensive with an attack or a back take.

Use Your Grips To Your Advantage!

While it seems to be an easy setup to execute, this can also be a pretty tricky one if you aren’t careful.  Think of the angle of which you’re at, and how tough it is to stay off of the mat while your opponent is driving into you.

To make sure that you stay off the mat, you’ll want to rely heavily on your Gi grip and your gripping strength.  This is a universally overlooked aspect of many grapplers’ arsenal of skills, because it allows you to control the pace of the match and keep it where you want it without exerting much energy.

Especially in a situation such as this, grip strength is a very vital aspect.  By possessing strong grips as well as grips that allow you to cling onto your opponent for a period of time—as opposed to slipping right off—you are adding a whole new dimension to your game! Now if your looking to improve your grip strength on the cheap, there are plenty of vids on the subject like this.

In this given scenario, grips also become very important once you escape and begin trying to take their back.  This will allow you the proper leverage to latch on and go for the submission finish!

If you thought the tips for getting out of the situations in this article was helpful, then take a peek at this intriguing material I wrote on escaping Bottom Half Guards. You won’t be sorry.

Dan Faggella

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