Mateusz Szczeciński’s Belly Down Ankle Lock at ADCC 2022

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I get the impression that the straight foot lock always had a bad rap. It was thought to be a cheap, power move, and especially with the rise of the modern leg lock game that orients towards heel hooks, even those inclined towards leg locks may consider the straight foot lock obsolete and ineffective. After all, blocking a straight foot lock attempt is not difficult, especially with gi. All you need is to get up on your feet and create pressure against the foot locker from the top.

But you should keep in mind that there are some players who use the straight foot lock effectively, like Rodrigo Cavaca, Luiz Panza, and Mikey Musumeci. Mikey even won an IBJJF world champion title by the straight foot lock in 2019. So, just like most other BJJ techniques, the effectiveness of the straight foot lock comes down to how you apply it to your opponent.​

Mateusz Szczeciński proved at ADCC 2022 that the straight foot lock works against a high-level competitor in the world of grappling when it’s set up and applied in an effective manner. His opponent William Tackett is known as a young phenom and overall well-rounded as a grappler. And William has solid leg lock defense skills. He grappled against Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares and survived Toquinho’s infamous leg attacks not long ago.​

Let’s take a look at how Mateusz made his ankle lock work. Here’s the GIF of the finish.

​Until this point in the match, Mateusz has constantly been hunting for leg locks. So William is generally aware of leg lock threats. At this particular moment, Mateusz has a single leg X (SLX) guard configuration, holding William’s left leg. What’s notable is that Mateusz is dangling his left foot instead of hiding it as you would with the standard SLX.

​William threatens with a heel hook attempt, but Mateusz changes his angle and nullifies the heel hook, though I don’t think William was actually going for it.

​After this quick exchange, William gets hold of Mateusz’s right calf and starts pushing it down. He immediately does the same to Mateusz’s left calf, essentially using his weight to stack Mateusz.

​So far, William is giving a textbook response to deal with this straight foot lock attempt.

​But Mateusz rolls on his left shoulder and starts going to the belly-down position instead of accepting the stack. I bet this was an unexpected move for William and most of the viewers.

​Mateusz changes to what he calls the “shotgun” grip. He places his head and knees on the mat, and his back is curled initially. From this position, he lifts his head off the mat and starts lifting his head as if looking up towards the ceiling.

​This motion creates devastating pressure against William’s foot and causes William to tap as a result.​

I really like how Mateusz made his finish so smooth. I’m sure others did a similar entry & finish before, but I had never seen someone inverting from the stack position and getting to the belly-down foot lock position.​

What’s even more impressive is that this move works well against someone who does a “correct” response to the straight foot lock, and they end up in a worse position.​

This sequence also shows that there’s always room for improvement in this game. You are likely to get caught when you don’t know what’s going on. So, even if you don’t use the straight foot lock for whatever reason, now you should be aware of this highly effective Mateusz Szczeciński style entry & finish. Otherwise, your training partners and opponents will start taking advantage of your ignorance.​

Another great thing about this leg attack is that you can use it in every major rule set. If you want to experiment with this powerful foot lock setup, I recommend watching Mateusz’s actual sequence and this video of him teaching his move at B-Team.

I recommend Mikey Musumeci’s video here for some details about the straight foot lock mechanics. These resources alone can help you improve your straight foot lock finishes.