Stack to Success: Jeferson Guaresi

By Matthew Gioia

Born in the small city of Rolim de Moura, Jeferson Guaresi naturally gravitated towards athletic excellence. A top goalkeeper during his adolescence, Jeferson success in the jiu jitsu world was far from guaranteed, yet he decided to embark upon the grappler’s quest.

While consistently placing at high level events throughout his color belt career including a second place finish at the 2019 ADCC South American Trials, Guaresi truly fulfilled his vast potential as a black belt capturing victories at the IBJJF Pan-American, European, and World Championships. With signature wins over the likes of Andrew Wiltse, Renato Canuto, and Oliver Taza, Guaresi’s wrestling, stack passing, and relentless pressure are essential components of his movement based philosophy.

The fundamental principle that links all of Jeferson Guaresi’s attacks is that he constantly looks to erase his opponent’s hip mobility, therefore limiting the amount of options in which his opponent can defend his constant pressure. This principle is most easily understood when applied to stacking. No doubt inspired by his professor, the illustrious and enigmatic Murilo Santana, Guaresi has become one of the best stackers this sport has to offer.

While there is a great deal of variety amongst stack passes, each pass relies on the elevation of the guard player’s hips as once a guard player’s hips are elevated, they no longer have the ability to adjust the direction of the hip in order to deal with their opponent’s pressure. The effectiveness of this position was shown famously by Rodolfo Viera against Keenan Cornelius at Copa Podio.

This type of guard pass has been used to defeat the most flexible of guards while simultaneously severely limiting the options of attack of the guard player from both a positional and submission context. Once a guard player’s hips are elevated off the mat, it is imperative that they re-guard by either getting their hips back to the mat, or by capitulating and accepting the turtle position. While this position gives the guard player a quick respite, the position leaves them vulnerable to backtakes and front headlocks, a position Guaresi is more than formidable from.

The stack is not just a tactical weapon, one of its primary benefits is that it effectively shields off the passer’s lower body from attack. As the guard passer’s shoulders are typically underneath his opponent’s hips, there is little to no avenue for leg attacks from the bottom position, once again limiting the guard player’s options from the bottom position. The strategic effectiveness of the stack in the current no-gi climate can be most seen in Jeferson Guaresi’s systematic dismantling of Oliver Taza, the John Danaher black belt and multiple time ADCC Trials medalist. 

Through a variety of stack-based entries, Guaresi was able to neutralize any possible entries to leg entanglements Taza had to offer throughout the duration of the match by constantly elevating Taza’s hips. Ever the Danaher student, once forced into the turtle position, Taza expertly defended against the guillotine threat before attempting the re-guard, yet fell victim to the final piece of Guaresi’s no-gi passing system, his knee cut.

In contrast to the current no-gi metagame, Guaresi eschews the cross-face or any type of head control when utilizing his knee cut and instead looks to completely control the directionality of his opponent’s hips. Guaresi does this by either driving his hip further into his opponent after they hip escape to force the turtle position as he did against Taza, or by controlling his opponent’s tricep, thereby forcing his opponent flat as the shoulder and spine are completely dominated.

Jefferson Guaresi is a fascinating combination of old-school fundamental jiu jitsu and complete body control. Rarely conducting a grappling match at a breakneck pace, Guaresi employs a cohesive pressure based passing style that stifles even the most seasoned leg lockers through astute strategic and tactical awareness. A fascinating study, Guaresi’s style is easily transferable to most body types due to its core principles, which have etched Guaresi into jiu-jitsu lore.