Rustam Chsiev: Master of the Mid-Range Passing Game

Rustam Chsiev is a grappler that I noticed a year ago doing remarkably well in no-gi competition at a local Grapplers Quest. I think it’s fair to say that since 2010, he’s been one of the growing stars of the grappling world.

He’s hairy, he’s Russian, and he’s got an incredible (if unorthodox) top game. As you’ll see from the matches below, he’s a master of the middle range passing game, creating the scramble and coming out with points on the other side of that scramble. He has already beaten some of the best people in the world.

I always get excited when a non-Brazilian holds his own in a sport that’s currently dominated by Brazilians. Nothing against Brazilians, of course, but in order for the sport to grow and prosper, we need champions to come from all corners of the world.

There are so many good matches of him online! Here are few…

His match again Roberto Cyborg Abreau is not that exciting except for the fact that Cyborg gets injured from a slam (which is apparently legal in this tournament). Cyborg ended up losing (I suspect mostly due to the injury from which he gave up a pass), but still that’s a big win. It was impressive to watch Cyborg’s open guard defend, for the most part, in a relaxed fashion against most of what Rustam threw at him. Very inspiring.

Most matches against Rustam basically ask the question: “how good is your open guard?”. Here is a match where Dan Boyle gives Rustam a lot of trouble with a very tough guard:

And here is one against Dan again, but where Rustam plays a tighter passing game and ends up winning 5-0. There’s a mean guillotine that starts at 2:20 and also an ankle lock that Dan escapes. Exciting stuff.

And of course, the match against Andre Galvao in the $10,000 final of the Ultimate Absolute. I think this is definitely the match that let the world know that Rustam Chsiev is a threat that’s not going away. The fact that these two are in the same weight class, mean we might get a change to see a rematch in two weeks at the 2011 ADCC.

Here’s his match against a much larger Alexandre Ceconi in the same tournament. Beautiful take down in the beginning and even more beautiful one in the end. But especially interesting to me is how he doesn’t mind reaching back to break the guard from the knees at 5:08. Also, Rustam finishes the match with a head-and-arm choke but from the headlock position that’s not supposed to work! 😉 I love seeing stuff like that.

0 thoughts on “Rustam Chsiev: Master of the Mid-Range Passing Game

  1. drew

    Cool blog post Lex-I was studying his matches a few weeks ago. There’s a decent thread on the underground forum about him as well. His passing is really interesting and I like how he deliberately gives up the triangle to pass from-it makes for really exciting matches. Unfortunately I think he had to withdraw from adcc due to injury but I think he would have surprised a lot of people.

    1. Lex Post author

      Damn, I was looking forward to watching him fight this month. His game is completely anti-stalling, which is why the match against Galvao was exciting to watch (even though no points were scored).

      1. leo

        I know what you mean I love his anti-stalling style ever since i saw that match against Galvao Iv been a big Rustam fan thanks for all the other videos too.Do you know what his record is?

        1. Lex Post author

          I’m not sure what his record is. In fact, I haven’t seen him much in competition recently. He got injured last year, but I’m not sure what he is up to now. I hope to see him back in competition soon.


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