Ok, still here? AJ Sousa won! As a shorter BJJ practitioner I’m always interested in grapplers who do well against larger opponents. It’s often said that knowing JiuJitsu can make it easy to defeat a bigger, stronger opponent. This is true… unless they know JiuJitsu too, which is when weight and size play a huge factor, hence why JiuJitsu competitions have weight classes and men and women compete separately.
The BJJ Library Challenge had no regard for weight categories, yet the smallest guy won. When that happens I sit up and take notice. You can see how much smaller AJ Sousa is to the other competitors when they line up, yet he submits all of his opponents on the way to the final, where he gets smashed in mount by a much larger Xande, but puts up some valiant resistance first.
While Marcelo Garcia’s approach to fighting a bigger guy is to sit up and use his butterfly guard, AJ’s is the opposite – he lays back. AJ Sousa’s method of beating the bigger man is to pull into spider guard, specifically the lasso variant, and continually threatens the omoplata attack. (OK, I’ll admit, two of his submissions in the BJJ Library Challenge come from flying armbars, which while possibly the most impressive submission you can get in JiuJitsu [he uses them to finish two matches in mere seconds] are also athletic and risky. Neither of these two things appeal to me.)