Marcelo Garcia – Master Of Choking

March 29, 2018


arcelo Garcia is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and submission grappler from Brazil. He is a member of Fabio Gurgel Team Alliance. He is thought to be one of the best grapplers ever and probably one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters of all time.

marcelo garciaDuring the years, many BJJ fighters were winning competitions and earning medals, but Marcelo Garcia made jiu-jitsu a lifestyle. He won so many tournaments and championships even the most successful competitors in another martial art disciplines can envy him. Known by his nickname Marcelinho, he is simply born to be the champion.

Marcelo Garcia's Career

Marcelo was born in Formiga, a small town in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Being impressed by the Karate Kid movie, he started training karate at the age of 8. After 4 years he left karate and started training Judo. At the first time, he taught a striker would defeat grappler in a fight.

Since he got close with his Judo coach Fabiano de Souza, he started going three times at Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His first training session was held by Rickson Gracie, and his coach led him to the session.

At the age of 16, he met Marcelo Rezende, who invited to train full time at his academy. Rezende also provided him a place to sleep in the gym in an exchange for day-to-day chores.

He started competing. The results were amazing, he even fought in the absolute category and fought for even 45 minutes to win his opponent. He was simply born to be the best.

Marcelo Garcia Statistics

Marcelo Garcia's Statistics. Source:

Marcelo Garcia started with world-class results with 20 years of age. He is currently married to his wife, Tatiana.

In his impressive career, he had 86 victories (57 by submission) and 17 losses (6 by submission). He had 113 fights, which is an impressive record.

He competed in the Middleweight (-82 kg). He has been a champion of the world 5 times, and he is elected in the top 10 Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors of all time.

Here are his best achievements:

  • Pan American champion (2007);
  • ADCC champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2011);
  • World Champion (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011);
  • Brazilian National champion (2004, 2006 – middleweight, 2006 – absolute category).

Marcelo also won 5 silver medals – 2 in ADCC, 1 in World Championship, 1 in World Cup and 1 in Brazilian National Championship and 4 bronze medals – 1 in ADCC, 2 in World Championship and 1 in World Cup.

Fighting style and submissions

Marcelo Garcia is world-wide known for his transitions and position changes. His favorite positions are X-guard and butterfly guard, and he is known for maintaining the control of the fight as much as possible and breaking opponent’s will. In almost every fight, Marcelo was very patient and he was waiting for an error of his opponent.

Marcelo mostly uses butterfly guard when he is on his back, which allows him to make the opponent think he is in control. On the other side, butterfly guard leaves a lot of space for counterattacks, arm submissions, sweeps and various types of chokes. As Marcelo says, butterfly guard is an excellent way to control very aggressive and strong opponents.

He is a master of choking. He had victories via almost all types of chokes – rear naked choke, guillotine choke, choke, north-south choke, crucifix choke and choke from the back.

Rear naked choke

With 17 victories via rear naked choke (30%) of his total victories, he is definitively a master of choking. He has the ability to grab opponent’s back and move under his chin in a split of a second. There is one interesting fact – out of his first nine submission victories, eight were rear naked choke victories.

During the year 2003 and 2004, he was a pure sensation with his outstanding fighting style. He controlled all of the fights and used the slightest moment of distraction to finish the submission. He claims rear naked choke is his favorite submission. In this video, Marcelo explains how to perform a rear naked choke. Some world class names were defeated by rear naked choke – Shinya Aoki, Alexandre Ribeiro, Flavio Serafim, Kurt Pellegrinho…


Despite this type of a submission requires a lot of skill and technique, Marcelo defeated many fighters that way. No matter how he catches your arm, he always goes for the armbar, out of all kinds of positions – offense, defense, transition. It is very hard to defend against his armbar since he doesn’t perform it like judoka or a normal fighter. His armbars are the most effective when he lays on the ground and when you think he is helpless. One mistake and Marcelo will wrap up around your arm like an anaconda.

In his fight versus Diego Sanchez, one of the best UFC welterweight fighters, he controlled the whole match and trapped Diego’s arm. He also defeated Flavio Serafim and Gustavo Campos via this wonderful submission. Despite he is not a fan of it, he claims it is the most effective way to defeat your opponent since the arm is a lot easier target than neck or leg.

Marcelo Garcia Armbar

Marcelo Garcia's Armbar in ADDC Barcelona


Marcelo Garcia has eight victories via choke. There are many variations Marcelo invented himself, like for example, Marcelo’s choke. He won some famous names like Edson Diniz, Marcio Corleta, and Flavio Serafim via choke.

Guillotine choke

This is the technique which is most often used in grappling sports, but the technique Marcelo applies here is world-class. Many fighters just grab opponent’s neck and press till the opponent taps out. Marcelo combines his weight and force momentum and doesn’t press that hard – he uses opponent’s power against him.

In the fight versus George Sotiropoulos, who was one of the best UFC fighters at that time, Marcelo simply let Australian think he dominates the fight and finished the guillotine before Sotiropoulos even realized what was going on! It is true Sotiropoulos was a lot more aggressive, but Marcelo won using his strength against him. He defeated some other famous names via guillotine choke – Kron Gracie, Rodney Ellis, K-Taro Nakamura…

North-south choke

This is a very difficult technique to master. North-south position requires you are in front of your opponent and your opponent is lying supine, while you are on top of him, invertedly lying prone. Normally, an opponent’s head should remain on your chest. It is extremely difficult to force your opponent to stay in this position since it is very hard to control it.

And north-south choke is a lot more difficult technique to apply since you need to think on two things – an opponent moving and the perfection of the technique. Marcelo had six victories via north-south choke, which makes him on the top by this element. A small number of BJJ fighters can say they were so successful with this submission.

Some world class names, like Pablo Popovitch, Mario Miranda, and Bruno Alves tapped out after Marcelo applied a perfect technique. In this video, Marcelo explains how to perform a north-south choke.

The only victory via heel hook was made versus a man who was a lot heavier, Rico Rodriguez, in an absolute weight. Despite the technique was not his specialty, Marcelo surprised Rico with his quickness, grabbed his leg and Rico had no other choice but to tap out. The fight will always be remembered as “David vs Goliath” fight.


Marcelo is everything but not a typical Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter. He is not a fighter who performs too many transitions, he is a type of a fighter who uses the smallest error of the opponents against them. You can think he will submit, but he slips out of your submission and performs a counterattack, preferably catching your neck. He is a perfect Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, if we exclude leg locks.

Today, Marcelo Garcia is a worldwide known BJJ instructor who trained many champions, of which the most known are Dillon Danis and Mansher Kera (the first person to go from white to black belt entirely under Garcia), and Doo Won “Korean Pitbull” Seo from MMA fighters.

This video shows everything – butterfly guard, counterattacks, transitions, armbars and his specialty – all types of chokes. If you take a look at the details, you will see how he uses the slightest error to obtain the control of the opponent’s neck or arm. Take a look at his highlights, too.

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