Nicholas Meregali is known for his aggressive style. He keeps attacking his opponent relentlessly until he eventually hunts them down.
Fellipe Andrew is a master of misdirection — he sets up triangle choke by manipulating his opponent into a vulnerable position and makes it look so easy.
Their recent match at Worlds 2022 is phenomenal. In this post, I want to focus on how Meregali deals with Andrew’s lasso guard in this match because the lasso guard is one of the most challenging positions to get out of. I will cover how Meregali clears the lasso and gets to the stack position.
Take a look at this video first. The sequence happens quickly.
1. Andrew has a shallow lasso hook against Meregali. He often takes advantage of his opponent’s well-trained reaction to the lasso guard and sets up triangle from. This is Andrew’s bread and butter position.
Now, what’s Meregali going to do? Notice Meregali doesn’t get too close to Andrew, which I believe helps him with his sequence.
2. In one motion, Meregali changes his direction and flares his elbow so he can use his forearm to push Andrew’s leg further. He combines these two moves with his footwork and essentially creates mechanics that work like the traditional single under stack pass.
What Meregali does here is not easy at all, by the way. He makes it look easy, but if you try it, you will know.
3. Meregali doesn’t stop just by clearing the shallow lasso. He keeps pushing Andrew’s leg further and, at the same time, reaches for Andrew’s pants. One detail — Meregali places his forearm on Andrew’s upper calf area. The closer his arm is to Andrew’s heel, the easier it gets to stack Andrew.
4. Using the pants grip, Meregali lift Andrew’s hips. This is a terrible position for Andrew to be in because he cannot use his feet or legs to make any meaningful frames against Meregali. Having no frames means having no guard.
5. Meregali manages to put Andrew into the stack position. Meregali uses his shin to pin Andrew’s near leg. This is a powerful position for Meregali because he can directly go for a back take (which he does) or switch to the leg drag pass from here.
As I mentioned above, Meregali’s lasso pass is not easy to copy. But you could steal some ideas from it and apply them to how you pass the lasso guard. I really like the elbow flare, and I think it’s a great trick to know.
The lasso guard pass Lucas Lepri teaches in this video uses a similar elbow flare move. Lepri’s pass is more of a constant pressure style compared to Meregali’s speed and timing style, and I believe it’s easier for most people to learn than Meregali’s pass. But remember, there are always things you can learn from these top-level competitors, especially with regard to the principles and ideas behind their moves. I hope this mini-breakdown of Meregali’s lasso guard pass will help improve your game.