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8 Key Differences Between The IBJJF and ADCC Rules

Key differences between the rules of ADCC and IBJJF

In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and submission grappling, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) represent two of the most prestigious competition circuits. Each organization has its unique set of rules, which significantly influence strategies, training, and the overall approach to competition. Understanding these differences is crucial for competitors, coaches, and fans alike.

History and Philosophy

The IBJJF was established to standardize rules and rankings within the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, emphasizing traditional Gi competition. In contrast, the ADCC was founded with the vision of bringing together competitors from various grappling disciplines in a no-gi format, focusing on submission wrestling. More recently, the IBJFF has a well developed no-gi competition network, and the ADCC has introduced open tournaments primarily focusing on Jiu Jitsu competition.

Gi vs. No-Gi

The most apparent difference between IBJJF and ADCC competitions is the attire. IBJJF hosts both Gi and No-Gi events, with specific rules for each. ADCC competitions are exclusively No-Gi, highlighting the importance of wrestling and submission grappling without the traditional BJJ Gi.

Scoring System Differences between IBJJF and ADCC

The scoring systems of IBJJF and ADCC differ significantly, impacting competitors' strategies. IBJJF awards points for achieving certain positions and maintaining control, whereas ADCC scoring emphasizes progression toward submission, with less focus on positional control.

Legal and Illegal Techniques

IBJJF has stringent rules regarding legal and illegal techniques, especially concerning leg locks and knee reaping in Gi competitions. ADCC rules are more permissive, allowing a wider range of leg locks and positions, reflecting its submission-oriented philosophy.

Match Duration

Match lengths vary between the two organizations. IBJJF matches have fixed durations based on belt level, while ADCC matches feature longer times and include overtime in case of a draw, pushing athletes to secure submissions to avoid decision-based outcomes.

Guard Pulling

IBJJF competitions see a significant amount of guard pulling due to the scoring system's design. In contrast, ADCC penalizes passive guard pulling without engagement, encouraging more takedown attempts and dynamic grappling exchanges.

Takedowns and Wrestling Emphasis

ADCC places a heavier emphasis on takedowns and wrestling, influenced by its no-gi format and scoring system that rewards control and submission attempts. This difference necessitates a broader skill set for ADCC competitors, who must be proficient in wrestling techniques.

Submission Priority

Both organizations prioritize submissions, but ADCC's scoring and rules further incentivize finishing matches via submission, aligning with its goal of determining the most effective submission grappler.

Penalties and Disqualifications

IBJJF employs a system of penalties for stalling and illegal moves, which can lead to disqualification. ADCC also penalizes passivity but uses a negative points system to encourage action throughout the match.


While both IBJJF and ADCC aim to crown the best grapplers, their distinct rulesets foster different competition styles and strategies. Competitors must adapt their training and approach based on these rules to excel in either arena. Understanding these differences not only helps athletes prepare more effectively but also enhances the spectator experience by providing insight into the strategies and techniques displayed in these premier grappling competitions.

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