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ADCC East Coast Trials Day 1, Ruotolo, Fowler, Abate, Hillbilly Hammer And El Monstro Make It Through

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

NOVEMBER 06, 2021, ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY saw the 2021 edition of the ADCC North American East Coast Trials, an important no-gi jiu-jitsu event that brought hundreds of submission grapplers from all corners of the Northern Hemisphere to NJ, all ready to compete for a chance to represent their team and country at the 2022 World Championship event. Below is a short description of the first day of the event, tomorrow (November 07) we will see the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals of this qualifier tournament.



Not a lot of surprises in this division as of yet, but a whole lot of matches. It took 3 matches just to get to the final elimination round of the 66-kilogram weight class of the ADCC Trials. A grappling marathon. Very impressive performances from this final group of competitors, with plenty of submissions across the board.

Although expected to make it through to this stage, it has been truly special to follow the teenage sensation, Cole Abate. Three matches, three quick submissions (teepee choke, armbar, and kimura). Also, great fun has been Estevan Martinez, the smallest athlete in the division, who has made an asset of his agility, speed, and grindy disposition.

Keep your eyes on the Junny Ocasio versus Adam Benayoun tomorrow. This should be one of the most entertaining matches of the day between two very aggressive and technical grapplers.


Gianni Grippo (Alliance) x Isaac Cordova (10P)
– Elijah Tagalog (Carlsbad JJ) x Ryan Jennerjohn (Black Diamond)
– Keith Krikorian (10P) x Wilson Sojo (Easton TC)
– Cameron Mellot (OCBJJ) x Ben Eddy (10P)
– Cole Abate (AOJ) x Jon Calestine (Renzo GA)
Estevan Martinez (ZR Team) x Fabian Ramirez (Serra JJ)
Junny Ocasio (Unity) x Adam Benayoun (50/50)
Emilio hernandez (Zenith) x Deandre Corbe (Standard JJ)


Another giant bracket here saw a few of these athletes have 4 matches to reach the final elimination round, held tomorrow. To make it through to the finals, there will be 4 more ahead (yaikes).

Once again, the division has not seen any major upsets as of yet. The only result that could qualify as such was rookie black belt Alan Sanchez’s submission win over the talented John Combs, a veteran of the ADCC Trials. That said, Sanchez has been praised by many (us included) as one of the rising stars in the sport and his talent is very worthy of his status as a top-ranked player.

A name that stood out from the pack during this first day of competition at 77-kilograms was Canada’s Kieran Kichuk. This submission hunter put on a real show working from his back, amassing 4 submissions in 4 matches. Including subs over talented athletes such as Colon Santana and Andrew Solano. Very crisp performance by the Team Lloyd Irvin representative who will face top-seeded athlete Kade Ruotolo tomorrow.

Major props to 41YO veteran Nakapan Phungephorn. The Thai-American grappler has been at the top of the heat for many years now and continues to test himself against the best. Very solid performances by Nakapan who will be facing Gracie Barra’s Magid Hage tomorrow.


Kade Ruotolo (Atos) x Kieran Kichuk (TLI)
– Magid Hage (GB) x Nakapan Phungephorn (BETA)
PJ Barch (10P) x Steven Ramos (Essencial JJ)
Alan Sanchez (10P) x Daniel Smith (Atos)
Jonathan Satava (Alliance) x Max Hanson (Adamas)
William Tackett (BFF) x JZ Cavalcante (Fight Sports)
– Pierre Leclerc (TriStar) x Daniel Maira (Movement Art)
Kody Steele (BFF) x Placido Santos (New Wave JJ)


Another teenage star emerges from the ADCC Trials, this time it is Vagner Rocha’s Achilles Rocha of Florida. The 15-year-old competitor took out 3 more seasoned athletes, including 10th Planet’s well-respected black belt Quentin Rosenzweig.

On the other side of the spectrum were the ADCC Trials and World Championships veteran, James Brasco. Now in his 40s, the Florida native is still competing and doing very well. One submission win, and one dominant victory on points on his way to the final elimination round, where he will be facing New Wave’s, Giancarlo Bodoni.


– Elder Cruz (Checkmat) x Devon Cura (Citadel JJ)
– Sean Yadimarco (Ocean County) x David Garmo (Detroit JJ)
– Adrian Nez (12th Street) x Jacob Rodriguez (B-Team)
John Salter (Salty Dog) x Benji Silva (CTA)
– Jacob Couch (Pedigo) x Achilles Rocha (Vagner Rocha)
– Adam Bradley (Atos) x Joseph Watson (GB)
Giancarlo Bodoni (Alliance) x James Brasco (GB)
– Christian Banghart (Big Brothers) x Ryan Aitken (10P)


After 3 gigantic divisions, we reached the “normal-sized” weight classes. Given that the size of these weight classes was smaller, the competitors fought until the quarter-finals, which will take place tomorrow.

No surprises at 99 kilograms (218 lbs), all the favorites made it through and did so impressively. Particularly Devhonte Johnson who conquered 3 submissions in 3 matches.


Mason Fowler (CTA) x Brian Giorgio (Alliance)
– Mario Gonzalez (GB) x Hudson Taylor (Movement Art)
Paul Ardila (ATT) x Michael Schweiger
Devhonte Johnson (Unity) x Joe Dierkhising (Revolution)


No major international stars in the heaviest weight class of the ADCC Trials, nevertheless, this was where we saw the biggest upset of the tournament thus far. That of Renzo Gracie Academy purple belt, Damon Ramos who beat one of the bigger names of this bracket in Austin Baker of Gracie Barra, albeit via injury.

A fun addition to the trials so far has been American wrestling star Pat Downey. The former NCAA standout had 2 dominant matches against Anthony Malaguti (3×0) and Ala Mebarkia (6×0) on his way to the quarter-finals.


– John Jansen (Axios) x Kevin Satterfield (Elevate MMA)
– Danny Chaid (CTA) x Lucas Albretch (GB)
– Alex Grandy (10P) x Jordan More (GB)
– Pat Downey x Damon Ramos (Renzo GA)



Another impressive performance by a Rocha family team member. After Achillies, it was time for Jasmine Rocha to shine, and shine she did. Two very solid matches for the Florida native.


– Briana Ste.-Marie (BTT) x Kathryn Egan (Gracie Humait√°)
– Jasmine Rocha (Vagner Rocha) x Nicole Mathew (Radji Barrett)
– Heather Raftery (Atos) x Alex Enriquez (Atos)
– Fatima Kline (Blackhole) x Trinity Pun (Renzo GA)


Although only Kendall reached the quarter-finals, both the Reusing Sisters showed their wrestling prowess throughout the tournament, a fun duo to follow.

Keep your eyes on Erin Quillen of Checkmat as the purple belt appeared to be on fire tonight. If she maintains this form tomorrow, she will be a real challenge to anyone in her path.


– Kendal Reusing (GB) x Nicole Johnson (Renzo GA)
– Jordan Novak (Renzo GA) x Zelie Dolan (Gracie NJ)
– Khadijah Peek (Matt Secor) x Erin Quillen (Checkmat)
– Amy Campo (Zenith) x Hannah Harjo (Brothers)

5050 Guard Instructional by Lachlan Giles

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