Living On The Edge-Bas Ruttens’ Risky Guard Escape & Pass

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 writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find more of his leg lock articles and resources at

There are certain moves that are so common place in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that it’s easy to overlook proper escape techniques from this positions.  However, the one spot that I find myself drilling over and over either with my top students or our first day white belts is working in your opponents closed guard.

With seemingly countless guard escapes and passes, there are many that I’ve seen in my grappling days.  Some are the basics, others more advanced, all however doing the same trick with that being escaping from your opponents guard, improving your chance to mount an offensive attack.

During on my recent—and very common—YouTube scavenger hunts, I found a very intriguing guard escape from one of the all-time greats in Mixed Martial Arts, Bas Rutten.

Known as one of the most feared strikers in the history of the sport, Bas is more than welcome when it comes to sharing his grappling techniques.  This one particular guard escape, however, seems to be an extremely risky move.

Controversial Guard Escape

A world renowned name in combat sports such as Bas Rutten should rarely be judged for what they do or say concerning their craft.  However, many people question his method for this particular guard pass, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them one bit.

Let’s take a look:

  • Right away, Bas tells us to pretend as if we have no clue how submissions work.
  • To do this, we bait our opponent with our arm, leaving it lying in their chest just begging for a submission.
  • As they grab your arm, look back and away from you, making them think you aren’t worried about the hold.
  • After doing this, they will open their guard in order to bring their legs up to apply the armbar.
  • As they do, pull your arm out, escape from guard and pass into side control.


From here you can do a few various things; work your ground & pound, throw on a submission—to make up for fooling him into thinking you can’t grapple—or pass into mount or side control. I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so much because of how tricky and techniqual the positions are. Just like the guard, being on bottom side control is a tricky spot. You can check out some top concepts and advanced side control escapes here!

Does It Work?

Bas Rutten is one of the most legendary Mixed Martial Artists of all time

Quite simply, that’s the only question on my mind after watching this.  It’s very, VERY risky to leave your arm sitting on their chest, because any skilled grappler with apply the armbar far quicker than you can escape from the hold. Not only can they armbar you, they can use the arm to set up an arm drag to the back. If you’re back is taken priority number one is escape and you can check out some sweet back mount escapes here!

Yet, if you are able to free your arm in time, then it makes passing into side control a cake walk.

The main thing you should focus on before trying to execute this move, you should assess the skills of your opponent.  Are they an experienced grappler that will pounce on any opportunity they can get?  Are they green behind the ears?  Am I quick enough to pull this risky move off?

These are the things you must keep in mind before even attempting this in a match.

Dan Faggella

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