Luiz Panza leg locks and entries

Luiz Panza is a heavyweight from Barbosa jiu jitsu I have been studying for a while. I think I first noticed him sparring against Rafael Mendes on mendesbros.com. Then I read somewhere that Panza's specialty was leg attacks and got interested. As I am trying to get better at leg locks, watching Panza became a top priority.

His most noticable achievement is winning the nogi pans in 2013 at the heavyweight category (when I started writing this). Overall his style which includes a lot of closed guard, inversions, 5050 guard and foot locks seems to translate very easily to nogi competition. As I was writing this I noticed that he also won the gi pan ams this weekend, beating Bernardo Faria in the final with an arm lock after an oma plata escape. For me this was still one of the big upsets of the tournament.

Entering foot locks and 5050 by inverting

There isn't a whole lot of material on Panza but looking at what we have, two things stand out. Firstly, the floating guard attacks such as triangles and armbars and secondly his foot locks. I will cover the floating guard later.

The foot lock set ups mostly seem to consist of Panza inverting from open guard, de la riva or half guard to a knee bar attempt position and potentially all the way through to 5050 guard if the opponent maintains his base. Panza mentions closed guard as his favourite so I imagine he inverts from there as well despite the lack of material.

From 5050 he will mostly attempt an ankle lock on the leg trapped inside the 5050. The attack was popularised by Rodrigo Cavaca who used it successfully in many competitions. One key difference between Cavaca and Panza seems to be that Panza looks to create more distance and leverage by placing one of both his feet on his opponent's hips. This means he has to open the 5050 guard to achieve this and sacrifice some control for the additional leverage.

Check this compilation of Panza's inversion entries to 5050 and foot locks I made:

Especially in the heavier weight classes it is not always possible to roll to foot locks and 5050 like this because opponents tend to pass low using pressure. A good solution for this problem is to make the opponent posture up as a response to a arm bar, triangle or oma plata attempt and force him to expose his legs this way. I think it is no coincidence that Panza has excellent triangles and arm barm from his "floating guard" which I will cover later. Although a foot lock after inversion wasn't the move that ended the match, this set up was what we saw against Bernardo Faria in the pan ams finals.

Sequence against Bernardo Faria in the Pan Ams


  1. Where did the figure-four leg lock originate?

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