[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDiuKxjurwo&w=560&h=315]

Rafael Mendes Jiu Jitsu Study & Profile

Welcome to another episode of “It’s Science”. We continue with a look at Rafael Mendes (2012-2013). Rafael Mendes is largely considered the best p4p BJJ competitor on the planet right now. We dig in to see what makes him tick.

Rafael Mendes BJJ Profile

All matches observed of Rafael Mendes used in this small sample occurred at IBJJF events, inside his weight division, and between 2012-2013. 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). Matches were selected at random based on available matches  – selected using a random generator from 20 total available IBJJF matches between 2012-2013. 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.

What makes Rafael Mendes so good?

Rafael Mendes proved to be the most dominant and proficient competitor we have ever observed during his 2012-2013 performances. His game is very defined, and he is able to get into it with little resistance. This is largely due to the fact that he can play his De La Riva guard game whether he pulls guard or his opponent double-guard pulls along with him. 75% of his sweeps came from a De La Riva variation, but most would be defined as the berimbolo technique.
He used this position very effectively to take the back. From the back he was incredibly efficient – which is where he secured nearly 50% of his overall submissions. When it came to submissions, he seemed to prefer armlocks. Over half of all his submissions observed were armlocks.
However; he showed even less variety when it came to his passing game. Rafael Mendes obviously prefers to pass the guard one way, and he doesn’t care if you know it or not.
He leg drag passes from every position. Again he uses this position to setup back-takes and armlocks. there is an incredible fluidity to his game that is both dangerous and beautiful – which is why his match average less than 5 minutes in time.

Final Look

Overall, he is a very dangerous opponent, and deserves close observation. He is quickly defining a strategic blueprint for what an undefeated season looks like.

Notable Stats:

    • Won 80% of his matches by submission
    • Average match length was only 4.53 minutes long
    • Only scored upon 3 times in entire study
    • Scored first in 12 out of 15 matches recorded (In the 3 that he didn’t, it was because he submitted his opponent prior to a first score)
    • 85% of passes were leg drag variations
    • Approximately 57% of his submissions were armlocks
    • 75% of his sweeps came from De La Riva guard
Top Competitor Rafael Mendes
Successes DLR Sweeps, Armlocks
Avoided… Half-Guard Bottom, Mount
Top Technique 1 Leg Drag pass
Top Technique 2 Berimbolo
Number of Matches Observed 15
Submits Opponent 12
Wins by Points 3
Minutes of footage watched 68
Scores First 12
Total Wins 15
Total Loses 0
Sweeps (Position)
De la Riva Sweeps 8
Spider Sweeps 1
50/50 3
Sweeps (Type)
Ankle Pick sweep 1
Tomanagi 1
Sit-up and overtake opponent 4
Berimbolo 5
Omoplata sweep 1
Total Sweeps 12
Passes (Position)
Half-Guard 3
Standing 4
Passes (Type)
leg drag 6
Knee cut from HG 1
Total Passes 7
Taking the Back
side control 2
from passing the guard 1
guard 3
Total Back-Takes 6
Submissions (Position)
Back 5
Side Control 3
Closed Guard 1
Half-Guard Top 1
 Spider 2
Submissions (Type)
choke from back 2
armbar 7
neck choke (Guilitine, Brabo, etc.) 1
triangle 2
Total Subs 12
Start of Match
Double-Guard Pull 6
Guard Pull 6
Pulled on by opponent 3