It’s Science: Lucas Lepri

lucas lepri
Our latest edition of It’s Science features Lucas Lepri. The full article will be published in the next edition of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine. To see all the awesome graphics and full-data model be sure to subscribe or pick up the next issue. See all previous issues for past subjects.
Notable Study Stats:

  • 64% of his passes occurred from Half guard
  • 87% win percentage
  • 54% Submission percentage in wins
  • Scored first in 12 of 13 recorded wins in study
  • 2nd highest pass per match rate ever recorded (1.13)
  • His average match length was 7 minutes and 31 seconds
  • 43% of his submissions were chokes from the back
  • 30% of passes were knee through passes
  • Took his opponents back in 46% of wins

Abstract: All matches observed of Lucas Lepri, used in this small sample occurred at IBJJF events, inside his weight division, and in the years 2011-2014. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data charts). Matches were selected at random based on freely available matches. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
The Breakdown: Lucas Lepri is one of the most accomplished grapplers still active today. A multi-time world champion, Lepri has proven himself a staple of consistency over the years. What’s even more impressive is Lepri’s dynamic ability to win tournaments using a wide-variety of strategy’s. In 2014, the world saw Lepri demonstrate his takedown and passing prowess to perfection as Lepri toke down and passed the guard of JT Torres in the world finals. In the past, it has often been Lepri’s stellar guard work and submission propensity that has earned him the world champion moniker. Ultimately, studying Lepri is a treat; as his abilities and skills are so consistent and precise that you immediately understand why he has been so successful to this point.
The Study: When you consider the top guard passers in the game today, a Lepri’s name is often brought up. Our study found that this is most definitely based in reality. Lepri averaged 1.13 passes per match, the second highest we’ve ever recorded (#1 was Gui Mendes). Approximately 64% of his passes occurred from top half guard with the vast majority of his passing finishes being of the knee through variety. This allowed Lepri to often setup one of his dynamic submissions which was the baseball bat choke (also a Gui Mendes favorite). This submission accounted for roughly 15% of his total submissions.
Speaking of submissions, Lepri had a submission rate in matches that he won of 54%. On top of that, his total winning percentage was 87%. Lepri preferred to finish his opponents from the back; as 43% of his submission victories were chokes from the back. Lepri often used his dynamic passing abilities to setup the back take. Half of his bake takes occurred from this type of scenario. Lepri often baits his opponents into defending the guard pass so dramatically that they dictate their backs to him. Lepri makes a living capitalizing on opponent mistakes.
One of the most impressive elements of lepri’s style is his ability to win almost every matchup (i.e. playing bottom or top – in various scenarios). Lepri’s guard game is surgical. He is not as specialized as former subjects like Rafa Mendes or Cobrinha, but he is equally mathematical in his setups and execution. His top sweeping position was sit-up guard (43%), and his top sweep type was a tomonagi style sweep. Lepri is the first subject we’ve studied with a tomonagi as his highest percentage sweep.
Ultimately, Lepri may be the most well rounded competitor we have studied to date. Not just technically, but in his complete application of jiu jitsu in a tournament setting. Lepri has demonstrated the ability to win matches in a variety of ways; top, bottom, by points, by submission, etc. He is a rare model of consistency and excellence that doesn’t show any tangible signs of slowing down any time soon.