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By: Tyler Bishop
See all the stats, and the complete breakdown in the upcoming issue of Jiu Jitsu Style magazine. Notable Study Stats:
93% win rate
78% of his wins were by submission
Secured sweeps from 6 different positions
27% of matches were won by back choke
48% of sweeps were from spider or De La Riva guard
Scored first in every match he won (100%)
Passed from standing 52% of the time
The Breakdown of Leo Vieira
Leo Vieira is a legend. He is one of the most accomplished jiu jitsu athletes that has ever existed. However, I would argue that the most impressive thing about Leo Vieira is not his collection of gold medals. I contend that it is the techniques that he used and revolutionized to win those events that truly cements his amazing legacy as a jiu jitsu pioneer and all-time great champion.
One of the most interesting things about this study is just how much today’s athletes owe to the innovations that Leo Vieira helped bring to the forefront of competition jiu jitsu. What you’ll see is that Leo paved the way for many modern techniques we see from today’s jiu jitsu athletes.
The Study of Leo’s Jiu Jitsu
Studying Le Vieira was a real treat. In many cases, when we’ve studied past jiu jitsu champions, we’ve noticed stark contrasts between the games played a decade ago and the games that are played by today’s athletes. With Leo Vieira, this was not the case. Observing Leozinho was like observing one of today’s most innovative athletes. In a lot of ways, Leo Vieira had many of the traits that we saw when we looked closely at Rafa Mendes.
In the matches we viewed, Vieira he had an impressive 93% win rate. His submission rate in those wins ended up being approximately 78%! One of the highest we’ve ever recorded. This is a testament to just how far ahead Leo was of his opponents. This was not uncommon in many of the matches we watched. We have not seen an athlete to this point consistently outmatch his opponent in the matches we observed as much as Vieira did.
What makes Leo truly special is that you can find something beautiful and precise in just about every element of his game. He found ways to pass the guard from everywhere; although he did prefer to pass from standing 52% of the time. He even averaged 1.13 passes per match.
His sweep game was equally as diverse. He was able to sweep his opponent from 6 different positions; with 48% of those sweeps coming from De la Riva or Spider guard.
Leo Vieira is a submission machine
Finally, Leo Vieira truly deserves the title of submission savant. He found unique ways to get the submission in an incredibly significant number of his matches. What’s more is that he made it seem effortless. Many times, our study subjects have a very strict regimen where they seek out specific submissions. Vieira seemed to have no specific preference; rather he put his opponents in very compromised situations and took the first available submission. A choke from the back ended up being the most common occurrence (it took place in 27% of all of his matches).
Ultimately, it’s what you can’t see in the numbers that makes Leo’s legacy so strong. His innovative technique helped him strongly outmatch many of his early opponents. This is probably why so many of us remember Leo’s beautiful technique. He was able to showcase so much if it due to his ability to overwhelm opponents.
Leo Vieira will remain a legend in the jiu jitsu community for a very long time; however, he should also be given due credit for paving the way for many of the modern styles that exist today as well. The most revealing thing in this study was just how far ahead of the game Vieira appeared to be. This should truly help carve his name into the list of most impactful athletes in jiu jitsu history.