Dean “The Boogeyman” Lister is a successful MMA and BJJ practitioner. Lister wrestled and practiced Sambo in high school . This background led Lister to a successful career as both a King of the Cage and ADCC champion. Lister has trained with a wide range of highly skilled grapplers. Unlike many BJJ practitioners who previously wrestled Lister often times pulls guard rather than attempting a takedown. Check out wrestlejitsus highlight of him based on his most frequently used techniques:
This however doesn’t mean he can not do them. In both past and present competition he uses single and double leg takedowns as well as body locks. Although these takedowns seem simple in nature, in BJJ head and body placement as well as set up are extremely important and will the topic of a future technique specific video at wrestlejitsu. Lister takes advantage of this importance by often coupling guard passes immediately after takedowns. If he does not immediately pass to side control he usually initiates a leg locking position or ift his opponent turtles up takes the back.
Lister also employs greco roman style body locks as shown here by Greco coach Gino Frank. Unlike greco however, he initiates a forceful take down towards his opponents arm furthest from his body. He calls it the powertwist and he shows how to do it here.
As Lister uses leg attacks hardly any footage of specific guard passing exists for him. In his match in ADCC 2011 he uses a folding pass to pass the guard of Augusto Ferrari.
Lister’s use of body locks is also prevalent in his sweeping techniques. He often maintains the lock through the guard pass maintaining heavy pressure. He often plays open guard and transitions to the body lock in butterfly or half guard and then angles his body outward. This allows his long legs to fit into a modified butterfly guard as well as off balances his opponent into a simple yet powerful push sweep. He shows how to use this technique here. He also uses arm drags to set up his sweep using both of his hands on the back of the tricep. If lister finds himself in a position he does not like on bottom he uses a modified upper body lockdown technique by locking his hands under his leg combined with an overhook.
Lister is world renowned for his leg locks. Many BJJ practitioners argue that leg locking position is equivalent for both practitioners. However, as BJJ enhances proprioception and spatial awareness individuals who practice leg locks more often will simply be better at employing the techniques. This is exemplified by popular leg lockers such as Imanari, Palhares, and Lister. A number of nuances allow for slight advantages when in variations of 50/50. For example, when in 50/50 Lister controls one of his opponents free hands to prevent the inside heel hook. Moreover, on an outside heel hook stability can be enhanced by tucking the non reaping leg under your opponents farside leg. Galvao shows how to counter this technique here. He used these techniques to defeat palhares in ADCC 2011. Galvao is a shining example of how the initiator does not always win. Why you ask? Because often times attempting a leg lock gives up a more dominant position. This is why practicing leg locks early in one’s BJJ career is nearly negligible. If your opponent can dominant you positionally you’ll never have the chance to use a leg lock. This can be seen in a few of Lister’s examples. One shown in the HL video is Keenan taking his back when he attempts leg locks. Nonetheless, some items to keep in mind are that often times the initiator of leg locks finishes them. This is why many leg lockers don’t even take the time to protect their legs. Not always though as seen with Galvao and Palhares. In fact, in a recent tournament of my own my opponent attempted a toe hold so I responded with one as well. I had better focus and position and ended up tearing a number of his ligaments. Focus and position during a scramble luckily are frequently found in the skillset of previous wrestlers.
One item to consider when leg locking are of course the destruction of someones joints. In a snap before tap situation long lasting damage is likely. If you’re a regular competitor you likely see the same individuals tournament after tournament and even become friends. Everyone there loves jiu jitsu. Some people will win at any cost to themselves or their opponents. It’s important to consider the repercussions of your actions. On the other hand, you never quite know what it takes to finish a position if you’ve never done so.
Dean Lister is calm and focused and shows how someone with a previous wrestling background can be successful from the bottom position. Coupled with scramble experience,heightened leg locking ability, stoic expressions, and dreadfully constant strength, we can all see why he’s called The Boogeyman.