FootlockFriday: Rousimar Palhares-Heel Hook vs. David Avellan

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 is offering a Free DVD featuring breakdowns of some of Toquinho’s BEST Leg Lock finishes, found online at:


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts fans alike know the name of Rousimar Palhares and what he is known for.  The man they call Toquinho, or ‘Little tree stump’, Palhares has left his calling cards on many limbs as a lethal, lethal leg lock wizard.

In a ADCC 2011 match with the well known David Avellan, Little Tree Stump (c’mon, tell me that isn’t an awesome nick name!) applied one nasty, vicious heel hook!  Right away, you could see the pain and discomfort takeover Avellan’s body, as he fell victim to yet another Palhares heel hook.

Eyes On The Prize

Winner by Leg Lock! Rousimar Dominates Again.

Winner by Leg Lock! Rousimar Dominates Again.

Watching this match, there was one thing that I noticed from the jump; Palhares’ hand placement.  Even while he was in Avellan’s guard, Rousimar always had one hand on a leg of David, clearly focusing in on a leg lock. My comments in OTM’s “Heel Hook Hear ‘Round the World” article mentions the “unexpectedness” of the setup. Some people might argue that with Palhares… ALL setup for heel hooks should be expected.

The one advantage Palhares seemingly has over most, if not all of the people that he faces, is his pure strength.  He is built like, well, a little tree stump!  His build allows him to exert his dominance on the opposition and makes it that much more difficult for people to get him off of them.

Every single transition and move had the common factor of Palhares scheming on one of the legs of David Avellan, clearly waiting for his time to spring a trademark leg lock.  His time came, and latched on for dear life, ending the match…or did he?

A Restart… of Agony

Quickly, Palhares locked on a nasty looking heel hook.  This caused the ref to jump in and end it, which is where things get a little murky.  Avellan was bewildered and had idea as to why the ref would step in and end it, claiming that he didn’t tap out.  Meanwhile, it seemed as if Rousimar went in for a hug but ended up clubbing David in the back of his head, forcing Avellan to shove Palhares away.

After some debate, the ref chose to restart the match in the center of the mat from the same position.  This time, Rousimar did not hesitate the end it and cranked the heel hook with some serious intent.  This time, Avellan had no choice but to tap out due to the pain.

Watching it in slow motion, you can almost see the leg of Avellan start to bend; it isn’t pretty what so ever.  After the match, David remained on the mat clinching his leg in pain, unable to get up off of the mat.  Palhares continued looking for a hug and began bowing, but David was not pleased with how things played out and did not recognize the post-match display from Rousimar – which some people might have argued was malicious or intended to insult.

So the moral of the story is simple: Rousimar Palhares collects legs for a living.  This match was a perfect example of that as the leg lock was brutal and clearly hurt Avellan.  The scary thing is, it seemed as if Palhares did it almost at will, exerting his dominance whenever he chose to.  Who knew a Little Tree Stump could be so dangerous.

-Dan “Micro” Faggella


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