The use of leg submissions is still widespread among grapplers due to tremendous efficiency. This is no surprise considering how we continuously see this lower body attack yield great results even at the highest levels in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grabbling. As a result, this has led to many players employing leglocks as a pivotal part of their game as they try to execute kneebars, heel hooks, footlocks, and other related techniques.
In this article, you will be taken through the top ten BJJ Leglockers who use leglocks to devastating efficiency in recent competitions, and their submissions shaking up the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community.
BJJ Leg locks
This leglocker is not an ordinary heavyweight as he uses a tactic referred to as the “small men game.” When partaking in higher weight classes, he usually attempts to entangle his opponent in 50/50 or any other leg engagement. By doing this, he can achieve the “Botinha,” a kneebar or calf slicer. This leglock technique helps him win over 50% of his submissions.
Jon “Thor” Blank
When ranking leglock practitioners, you must include Jon Blank, the 10th Planet representative. This athlete garnered plenty of attention due to the unorthodox style he used that yielded incredible results in 2019. Using these leglocks, he brought several applauded fighters to submission, including Roberto Jimenez, Rustam Chsiev, and Adam Wardzinski las year. At the ADCC worlds, he also proved himself by going against the best-88kg fighters.
The youngest pro fighter at DDS is known for his aggressive use of leg lock submission techniques. This has led him to achieve outstanding results at submission-only events using kneebars and heel hooks. Consequently, at the ASCC Worlds held last year, he even received applause from his opponents. This young pro fighter employs leglocks for sweeping his opponents or dives from leglocks from above as he passes the guard. Aged at 18 years, he might be one of the best grapplers in the world if he continues with this momentum.
Aaron “Tex” Johnson
This American grappler uses leglocks to win around 80% of his submissions. He is also an excellent example of a heavyweight fighter with the “small men game.” Thanks to this, he has been able to defeat his opponents in major ADCC tournaments and IBJJF, submission only contests. All this is thanks to the use of straight footlocks and heel hooks. Some of the famous fighters who have found themselves into forced submission with this leglock tactic are Jackson Sousa, Ben Hogkinson, and Felipe Pena.
This is the only European participant in this ranking. Whereas Ross Nicholls is a black belt holder under Roger Gracie, he does not use an old school fighting technique. He does possess an exceptional skill to notice the chance to grab onto his opponent’s leg from anywhere and also uses several attracts simultaneously. At the ADCC European Trails in 2018, he used heel hooks several times on his way to the ADCC Worlds. This has seen him prove himself to be a formidable opponent at most submission-only events in Europe.
Eddie “Wolverine” Cummings
While Eddie Cummings is no longer fighting as much, he is still remembered for is accurate and technically sound leg attacks. He is among the best featherweight submission athletes and holds a black belt under John Danaher, who now represents Unity Jiu-Jitsu. His martial arts skills helped him win the ADCC vet, Polaris Superfight, as well as be an EBI champ twice. With approximately 70% of his submissions being leglocks, Cummings is undoubtedly among the dreaded leglock practitioners.
Eddie Cummings attempting a leglock attack on Augusto Mendes.
This fighter has proved to be superb leglocker in both MMA and grappling. The brave Garry Tonon employs different leglocks, even at the highest levels. This has seen this tenacious fighter also exchange leg attacks with Rousimar Palhares. Risking everything to execute the leglock has seen Tonon succeed, winning the ADCC bronze medal and many triumphs at submission-only contests.
With three ADCC gold medals, Gordon Ryan is possibly the best heavyweight leglocker in history. Using an exquisite cross ashi garami entry, this competitor managed to emerge victorious against top-level opponents thanks to his heel hooks and kneebars. The use of leglocks helped him achieve around 30% of submissions. Furthermore, he used leglocks to get the finish but also start a scramble or set up sweeps and then reach the back.
This fighter has lately been on the limelight for his dominant use of leglocks on different opponents, which has brought him lots of success. In 2019, this grappler from Australia reached the ADCC final and emerged the victor in several submission-only fights using his persistent leg attacks. He has been able to bring into submission famous figures, with over 50% of his submissions being lower body ones using toe holds, Caio Terra footlocks, kneebars, and heel hooks.
Barely a week has passed since he broke the leg of Vinny Maghalaes, who was of the view that leglocks do not work.
This Australian-born grappler is the undoubted number one on this list. Although he only won the bronze medal during the ADCC competition in 2019, he is possibly the greatest winner in that tournament. This is because he brought three heavyweight fighters, Kaynan Duarte, Patrick Gaudio, and Mahammed Aly, into submission, all this in a single day. This was met with much applause from the fascinated and much-entertained crowd due to his Rocky-style shows.
Despite being outweighed by his opponents by over 20 kilograms. This proved that smaller competitors could also defeat massive fighters if they use the appropriate technique. After his incredible success, he now enjoys superstar status and has gone on to do seminars across the globe and sell many DVD instructional videos. Additionally, his experience in 50/50 defense and attacks provides a great deal of insight. He even managed to back away leg entanglements when fighting Gordon Ryan at the ADCC.