Combat Sports Project Est.2012
Combat Sports Project Est.2012

Sport/Combat SAMBO Nationals Bulgaria 2022

(Event analysis with video HL)

On March 5th 2022, the Bulgarian Sambo Nationals were held in the city of Panagyurishte.

The Combat Sambo Nationals were held on the following, March 6th 2022, in the same event area, the “Arena Asarel” sports complex.

Most of the brackets for each category, were running 18+ competitors deep, with heavy participation from the traditionally strong Judo/Sambo clubs (“CSKA”, “National Sport Academy”, “Ilinden” and others), but also from a few Wrestling/ Sambo and Grappling/MMA clubs.

Quite a few of the top athletes, representing Bulgaria on international level in Judo, Wrestling, MMA, entered the championship, and as a result, almost all of them medalled.



Most successful strategy for the players to win their matches, was proven to be a combination of big score throws, and a pin.

The second one was, scoring several throws for lower points, force fatigue on their opponents, and then finish with a big throw, or a pin.

The submission attempts came in two specific scenarios:

  • Off a successful takedown/pin setup.
  • When one of the players is far behind on points, and is pressured by the clock.


The preferred takedowns were equally distributed between the 3 styles:

  • Judo throws.
  • Wrestling shots, Greco lifts.
  • Traditional Sambo takedowns, using unorthodox grips and takedown finishes.


Majority of the successful Judo takedowns were Uchimata, Sumigaeshi, followed by Ouchigari.

The least successful ones were Drop Seoinage, and Drop Sodetsurikomi.


Typical for Bulgarian Wrestling, all leg shots, and lifts, were executed with the highest elevation possible, in pursue of big scores.

Double legs with elevation, Fireman’s Carry with elevation, Back arching throws with elevation… and a big drop at the end, of course.


Cross grip combination with leg entries, more specifically “Palachinka” (Crape- the Bulgarian variation of Kataguruma), or throws such as Teguruma variations, were some of the most used attacks, with roughly %50 success rate.

Scissor takedown/Kanibasami was used only 3 times in the whole event, by the same athlete, in the same match.

He didn’t manage to score with any of the attempts, and only got a leg lock attempt on the 3rd entry, with no success.

There was also one unsuccessful attempt for an Imanari Roll, easily avoided by the opponent, because attacker was unable to bring the other player in Par Terre (ground position), where he would be allowed to finish the submission.


The most utilized moves on the ground were as follows:

  • Takedown from knees/ Reversal (%30)
  • Pin (%60)
  • Submission (%10)

As the rules allow securing half score for takedowns, executed against an opponent in par terre position, or a full score in case of a lift and slam (complete separation of opponents body from the mat, with elevation, and returning in a different landing position), those were used for the most common follow up, of failed takedown attempts, when one of the athletes (or both) ended up on the ground.

Pins were the logical follow up of all big takedowns, landing the attacker in dominant top position.

And finally, the Submissions:

The most common submission used was the armbar, off a pin or a throw.

Second comes the ankle lock, although with lesser success.

Funny enough, there were 4 choke attempts (Arm Triangle from a pin, Peruvian necktie and 2 lapel chokes), by the same player, in 3 different matches, resulting in penalties.

Here is the highlight video from the Sport Sambo Championship:

Combat SAMBO


Combat Sambo been a completely different style of event, but still scored on the basis of Sport Sambo, demonstrated a few simple strategies, utilised with success by the Bulgarian Combat Sambo world and continental champions:

  • Closing up the distance with strikes, to secure a belt or lapel grip, for a big throw, mostly a lift and hip or arching throws.
  • Softening up the opponent with strikes, to score fast takedown, and ground and pound.

Majority of the matches were decided by takedown scores.

A handful of knockdowns, and just 2 KOs for the entire event, mainly in the middle categories.

Submissions were rarely used.

Stamina was a major player in all matches.


Carrying in mind the risk of getting exposed to punches, the preferred takedowns were leg shots and Greco throws, leading to a secure top landing position.

Grip fighting in Combat Sambo involves strikes with 9 limbs, and that was the reason for the high volume of lower body wrestling shots, or a Greco clinch.


Most of the fights, that went to the ground, usually resolved in a ground and pound on opponent in Turtle position, but also quite a lot in Full/Half Guard and Side Control (for the Jiujitsu readers).

Combat Sambo Pins score pins only 2 points for the full duration of 20 seconds, and was not seen as a desirable effort, to waste energy on. As soon as the pin was proven to be a hard one to hold, top athletes used strikes.

Very few Submission attempts for the whole Combat Sambo Nationals, usually the traditional armbar, some kneebar variations (both top and bottom), and the ankle lock.

Enjoy this highlight video of the Bulgarian Combat Sambo Nationals 2022:

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