[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGPvcT0NjNA&w=560&h=315]

Romulo Barral Breakdown

Welcome to our second season of “It’s Science”. We are going to kick off  with a quick look at Romulo Barral. The recently “retired” Barral is one of the most accomplished competitors of all time. Let’s dive deep into what makes him so successful.

Abstract of Romulo Barral Jiu Jitsu Study:

All matches observed of Romulo Barral, used in this small sample, occurred at IBJJF events, in his weight division, and between 2011-2013. 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 via YouTube – selected using a random generator from 20 total available IBJJF matches between 2011-2013. 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.

So what did we learn?

Romulo Barral has a very defined game. My initial impressions of him were in many cases correct, but there were a few surprises. You will immediately notice in the 13 total matches observed that Romulo Barral limits his arsenal to just a few defined techniques. I have always perceived him as a spider guard player – and perhaps that is true – but one thing that is overwhelmingly obvious is how this game has evolved into a sit-up guard style system from the bottom.
In fact, 70% of Romulo’s sweeps came from the sit-up guard position. From there his passing style of choice is a very heavy half guard style of passing with 66% of his passes coming from half-guard. It was also very obvious that Barral’s end-game involved the mount.
All but one submission occurred from the mount position. So is this style of game successful? In short, yes! In the random matches we observed, he won 12 out of the 13. That’s pretty good.

Notable Stats:

  • Sit-up guard accounts for 70% of sweeps
  • Half guard passes account for 2/3 of all passes
  • 4/5 submissions were cross collar chokes from the top
  • 4/5 submission also occurred from mount
  • Barral scored first in 10/13 matches, and 10/12 that he won
  • His average match length was 7.23 minutes
  • He pulled open guard in over 50% of his matches

The Data

Top Competitor **Romulo Barral**
Successes Sit-up Guard, Half Guard Passes, Mount Chokes
Avoided… De La Riva, ButterFly Guard
Top Submission Utilized Cross Collar Choke
Number of Matches Observed 13
Submits Opponent 5
Wins by Points 7
Minutes of footage watched 94
Scores First 10
Total Wins 12
Total Loses 1
Sweeps (Position)
Spider Sweeps 2
X-Guard 1
Sit-up Guard 7
Sweeps (Type)
Scissor 1
Trips/Off-balancing 3
Sit-up and overtake opponent 3
Collar Drag/Arm Drag 3
Total Sweeps 10
Passes (Position)
On Knees 2
Half-Guard 10
Standing 3
Passes (Type)
leg drag 3
knee through 1
x-pass 1
Knee cut from HG 4
Reverse Sitting HG Pass 4
knee up, from half-guard to mount 2
Total Passes 15
Taking the Back
Guard 2
Standing 1
Total Back-Takes 3
Submissions (Position)
Mount 4
Half-Guard Top 1
Submissions (Type)
Armbar 1
Cross collar top 4
Total Subs 5
Start of Match
Open Guard Pull 7
Tight Guard Pull 1
Opponent Pulled Guard 4
Took Opponents Back 1