THIS SATURDAY, April 3, 2021, the White Oak Music Hall in Houston – Texas will be the home for another edition of the Third Coast Grappling event, 3CG 6: The Absolute, a tournament that has become symbolic of the region’s jiu-jitsu scene.
As per 3RD Coast tradition, this No-Gi Grappling Grand Prix will feature 8 top-level athletes, including ADCC gold medalist Kaynan Duarte (Atos), ADCC silver medal Nicky Rod (DDS), IBJJF World No-Gi Champion Manuel Ribamar (RPBJJ), SUG open-weight champ Mason Fowler (CTA), as well as Pedro Marinho (GB), Tex Johnson (Fight Sports), and William Tackett (Checkmat).
Another interesting side-note for the event is that – unlike its previous shows – this edition of the Third Coast Grappling tournament will not be streamed by FloGrappling. Instead, 3rd Coast will be using the combat sports platform, FITE TV, one of the rising channels when it comes to grappling, pro-boxing, bare-knuckle boxing, etc. You can stream the event for $7.99 by following this link here.
With a grand prize of 15k for the winner and 5k for runner-up, we can expect a lot of enthusiasm from Third Coast Grappling’s competitors, but who is the favorite?
Considering his vast curriculum and his current 6-match winning streak (5 subs), we should expect Kaynan Duarte to be the man to beat here. He is the most experienced in the no-gi ruleset and has tasted victory against a few of the other competitors on the Grand Prix.
Although super-talented, Duarte is not immune to defeat and has indeed lost a few via heel-hook, a submission that just so happens to be the specialty of both William Tackett and Aaron “Tex” Johnson.
Another grappler to keep in mind is Nick Rodriguez. The talented ultra-heavyweight showed a much-improved guard passing game against 2x ADCC champ, Yuri Simões recently and should be an extremely tough opponent. Rodriguez could meet Victor Hugo in the semi-finals, another massive talent not to be overlooked. Hugo has the size and the technique to make the upset and take this tournament’s trophy home.
The dark horse of the tournament is Mason Fowler. Still a brown belt, Mason is on a very impressive winning streak and has a uniquely hard style to score against. Strong, explosive, and defensively very sound, expect Fowler to pose a lot of issues to his more experienced peers.
VICTOR HUGO (32-9-0) X WILLIAM TACKETT (30-4-0)
There are black belt debuts and then there is Victor Hugo. The uber-talented and massive 6-Blades team member will be welcoming William Tackett to the black belt division.
Victor Hugo will have a (roughly) 50 lbs weight advantage as well as a world no-gi title to his credit, making him the favorite to advance. Although a big favorite on paper, you would be a fool to count William out of this race.
Tackett’s pace is unrivaled in the sport, he has an incredible gas tank and is not afraid to use it. Well known for his scrambles, William is also the no-gi specialist here, with the most experience and the highest rate of heel-hooks on his record, while competing against big footlockers such as Enrico Cocco and Fellipe Andrew. Hugo would be wise not to enter a footy race with the Austin resident.
This is, no doubt, a very close match-up that could go either way.
PEDRO MARINHO (16-8-1) X NICK RODRIGUEZ (–)
A fun clash ahead between two submission grapplers who love to wrestle. On paper, Rodriguez is a poor match-up for Marinho, given John Danaher’s pupil’s size, speed, and wrestling pedigree. All these elements may force Pedro to work from the bottom, an aspect of the game that is not his forte.
There is a major caveat here, however. To get Marinho’s back to the floor, Rodriguez will likely have to get to the Red Shield soldier’s legs, and if there is one thing Pedro loves is a guillotine from a missed double leg takedown. If Nicky Rod “slips”, it could end quickly for the ADCC silver medalist.
KAYNAN DUARTE (94-12-0) X TEX JOHNSON (81-62-1)
Not an easy 1st round for the American, Tex Johnson, who will face the tournament’s favorite in Kaynan Duarte. Aside from being the current ultra-heavyweight ADCC champion, Duarte holds wins against almost everyone on this roster, including Johnson. Nevertheless, Johnson is prone to upsets and has a wide list of these in his career.
An all-or-nothing type athlete, Johnson will take chances to earn the ultimate reward. This style has earned “unexpected” wins over some of our sport’s legends such as Lovato Junior, Felipe Pena, Gordon Ryan, Davi Ramos to name a few. This ability to make the impossible, possible, makes this a fun match to keep an eye on.
MANUEL RIBAMAR (105-48-0) X MASON FOWLER (10-1-0)
After a very positive start of the 2020 season, last year, at the European Open (a tournament won by Ribamar), Manuel’s career does appear to have taken a slight turn, currently standing at 5-5 in his past 10 matches. Mason, on the other hand, is currently on a 9-match winning streak on the pro-no-gi circuit, a victorious run in which he held victories over Craig Jones, Kody Steele, Roberto Jimenez, Vinny Magalhães and Satoshi Ishii.
Ribamar is one of the most astute game-planners in the game and vastly more experienced than Fowler, but taking into account all factors, expect Mason to come in as the favorite here.
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