Rousimar Palhares – Excellence in Heel Hooks

You know him, you love him, you cringe during his matches and fights and you also scratch your head at the things he does.  Simply put, when Rousimar Palhares is in action, it’s must see TV for one reason or another.

Some may tune in to watch this physical freak work his magic.  Others may wish to see him walk away with his opponent’s leg firmly in his grasp.  Or maybe you watch to see him have a mental lapse like he did against Nate Marquardt and Dan Miller.

In the case of when he took on Dave Branch, you watched to see him claim another submission victory.


Slick Heel Hook Off the Cage

(Click here to see the .GIF of this off-the-cage heel hook vs. Dave Branch in detail)

A student of Renzo Gracie, Dave Branch is no slouch on the ground.  However, when you take on the Little Tree Stump, you have to be better than just not being a slouch.  Let’s break this down:

  • Palhares had gone for a double leg on Branch who did his best to fend it off.
  • With his back to the cage, Branch dropped to one knee, expecting Palhares to go for a single leg take down.  This is where the Little Tree Stump strikes!
  • On his knees, Palhares drove forward again, forcing Branch to stand back up.
  • After doing so, Rousimar applied his butterfly hooks and began isolating a leg.
  • Losing his balance, Branch was at the mercy of Palhares.
  • Finally, Rousimar tightened high grip and locked on the heel hook for the win.

“Pure Power”

The above headline is the best way to describe the game of Rousimar Palhares.  The way he goes for leg locks is just as nasty as they get and he takes absolutely zero prisoners.  This was evident when he chose to put Branch on the cage.  With the angle to his advantage, one would think that Branch was in a dominant position but the pure brute force from Palhares was just too much to handle.

For what it’s worth, this was one of the most tame leg locks.  Branch did his best to try and roll out of it, but when the Little tree Stump gets a hold of your heel, there is just little to nothing that you can do to prevent him for ending your night early.

It’s amazing, really.  Usually guys with a bigger build tend to be less limber and have poor range of motion when it comes to grappling.  With Rousimar Palhares, however, he’s able to contort his body and hits angles with ease with little to no trouble.  A big muscle bound man that can incinerate your limbs at the blink of an eye is a dangerous, dangerous combination for anybody to face.

-Dan Faggella

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:

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