The Butterfly Guard in Mixed Martial Arts

Float Like a Butterfly

Everybody knows being on the bottom in mixed martial arts is not a very good thing. You can get punched and elbowed and potentially knocked out. Getting comfortable with the butterfly guard in mixed martial arts can give you a good platform to work with when stuck on your back. It gives the opportunity for a ton of sweeps from the bottom along with powerful submissions.

The butterfly guard is really like an alternative to the closed guard position. Where the closed guard allows you to anchor your opponent to you and work from there. In contrast, the butterfly guard is a much more versatile position that allows a more dynamic defensive strategy when on your back. Instead of anchoring your opponent the idea is more to keep the opponent off balance and use that to advance your own position.

There is also another position called the X guard position which is very similar in concept but is utilizes different techniques. Mastering both of these guards can be a deadly combination for mastering the bottom position.

Butterfly Basics

the butterfly guard position

In butterfly guard your two legs are positioned on the inside of your opponent’s thighs. Your feet anchor your legs to your opponent’s body and are used to control their position. Your arms are ideally placed in double underhooks on your opponents arms which gives your tremendous control. However a single underhook is more likely and can still be very effective. Using your feet and arms to control the opponent’s position is crucial for completing techniques from butterfly guard.

Butterfly Guard Sweeps

The butterfly guard can make sweeps very fluid if done correctly. You essentially anchor your opponent to yourself and use yourself as a pivot point making it easy to throw your opponent in a direction of your choosing.

The basic butterfly guard sweep is simple and straight forward as you would expect it to be. This move could be used against larger opponents because of the leverage you have over them from this position. Your arms control his upper body and your legs are used to throw the opponent. In addition to The leverage you have over your opponent, the action of moving around and keeping the opponent off his center of balance helps to throw him to the side.

Another version of this sweep is where instead of throwing the opponent to the side you go directly back over the top with him, which is why its called the over the top sweep. This variation would be especially useful when the opponent pushes back into you after you rock him back, like in MMA if he went for a strike. You can use his momentum against him to put him on his back and take the fight to him.

Butterfly Guard Submissions

Being in butterfly guard give you great opportunities for submissions as well. Its almost like operating out of a closed guard with you legs being free and much easier to use to manipulate your opponent and in submissions like an omoplata or armbar. Also the rocking motion used in the basic sweep can also create enough space to pull your opponent into a deadly guillotine choke. Or using the arm drag from the butterfly you can transition to a d‘arce choke or a rear naked choke





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: