NOVEMBER 25, 2023, SINGAPORE, was the date and place set for the first ADCC Asian & Oceania Trials an event that has held a recent tradition of raising awareness to the many talents available in a region often forgotten by Western grappling fans. In previous editions, the Asian and Oceania Qualifiers have produced names such as Lachlan Giles, Craig Jones, Jeremy Skinner, Izaak Michell, etc, as such, there was much anticipation as to who the event would produce as its next stars from Down Under or from The Land Of The Rising Sun – the two strongest grappling hubs in the region.
Luckily for grappling fans, the tournament did not disappoint. We have a few new names to take notice of from today’s event, but also saw solid performances from past champions. Check our full report below.
66 KILOS, MALE
Epic performance for the dynamic Ethan Thomas, an athlete whose focus has been in MMA with two cage fights this year (both wins), but who proved he can multitask thanks to his world-class grappling skills. The 66-kilogram division was the largest of the tournament and Mr. Thomas had to go through 6 matches to earn his ticket to the big show where a never-say-die attitude, solid scrambling ability, and excellent back takes showed potential for the big show next year.
For most grappling enthusiasts, the big fan favorite of the tournament was Mr. Jakob “Spatch” Brooks of the Pedigo SF team. An Australian grappler who adopted the United States as his home these past few years and is currently one of coach Heath Pedigo‘s brightest talents. Spatch grappled very well in the first 3 rounds, earning 3 submissions but ended up being stopped by this year’s runner-up, David Stoilescu (Baby Dave) via points.
– Minoru Takeuchi def. Makoto Suzuki via Darce choke
– Ethan Thomas def. Ali El Kheir via 3×0
– David Stoilescu def. Jakob Brooks via guillotine
– Daiki Yonekura def. Bekzat Kapashov via 2×0
– Minoru Takeuchi def. Daiki Yonekura via Darce choke
– Ethan Thomas def. David Stoilescu via decision
– Ethan Thomas def. Minoru Takeuchi via RNC
– David Stoilescu def. Daiki Yonekura via RNC
77 KILOS, MALE
Arguably the most interesting division of the tournament, or, at least, the one with the most world-class challengers. One of the bigger names in the division was the previous 66-kg winner, Jeremy Skinner, who was hard to recognize on the mats today given how much the young man has grown in muscle mass compared to the young man we saw compete at last year’s ADCC. This new “Action-Hero” version of Skinner had two very promising matches early in the tournament, wrestling and working from a top position while still having excellent accuracy with the foot locks – his most used weapon in past and present.
Jeremy ended up losing to silver medalist Rhys Allan in the quarter-finals, another outstanding talent that will be worth keeping an eye on in the future. Great takedowns, athleticism, aggression, and a well-rounded game were on full display by Rhys, whom we hope to see more of on the international scene.
Allan lost to the division’s #1 seed, Kenta Iwamoto of B-Team, an athlete who doesn’t appear to have bad days on the mat. Very tactically sound and technical throughout the ADCC Trials. If he keeps this type of pace, 2024 might just be the year when Iwamoto breaks through in the ADCC’s main event, which will be his 3rd attempt at the World tournament, despite his young age.
– Rhys Allan def. Jeremy Skinner via 3×0
– Kenta Iwamoto def. Omar Mannarov via 5×2
– Tomoshige Sera def. Siraj Soufi via RNC
– Seiilkhan Bolatbek def. Bobby Sandhu via 5×0
– Kenta Iwamoto def. Seiikhan Bolatbek via 5×0
– Rhys Allan def. Tomoshige Sera via decision
– Kenta Iwamoto def. Rhys Allan via 3×0
– Tomoshige Sera def. Seiikhan Bolatbek via 3×0
88 KILO, MALE
A large division here, fully dominated by Michell, the tournament’s reigning champ. Izaak showed his usual well-rounded style but made most of his damage from a passing stance, attacking from all angles. Izaak had 5 matches and 4 submissions, winning with subs from the back control, the mount, and his opponent’s turtle position.
– Kurtis Martin def. Brodie Sprlyan via Kimura
– Izaak Michell def. Sousuke Oshima via RNC
– Roberto Dib def. Ruslan Israilov via decision
– Kaya Rudolph def. Lucas Kanard 2×0
– Roberto Dib def. Kaya Rudolph via decision
– Izaak Michell def. Kurtis Martin choke/guillotine
– Izaak Michell def. Roberto Dib via 3×0
– Kaya Rudolph def. Kurtis Martin via RNC
99 KILO, MALE
A modest line-up in terms of world-class talent at 99 kilograms saw B-Team’s Declan Moody put on a fun display of grappling with plenty of flair and submissions for all tastes. Moody’s talent may surprise a few people at the big show next year, but only further testing at a higher level will tell if his forward-moving style will withstand the test against the elite of the sport.
– Declan Moody def. Jahred Dell via Triangle
– Anton Minenko def. Magomed Tsakayev via 3×0
– Daniel Schuardt def. Mathew Lena via heel hook
– Ben Hodgkinson def. Nicholas Wiles via choke
– Declan Moody def. Ben Hodgkinson via Armbar
– Anton Minenko def. Daniel Schuardt via decision
– Declan Moody def. Anton Minenko via 4×0
– Tito Carle def. Mark Greyson via 3×0
+99 KILO, MALE
A very large human with unusual athleticism for his stature, Josh Saunders repeated his previous attempt at the ADCC Qualifiers with another win via total domination. The power difference was such that, at moments, it appeared as if Saunders was an adult grappling with teenagers.
– Tito Carle def. Mark Greyson via 3×0
– Josh Saunders def. Michael Bell via choke
– Ricky Luzny def. Oliver Smith via armbar
– Alex Hungahunga def. Harry Gretch via heel hook
– Ricky Luzny def. Alex Hungahunga via wristlock
– Josh Saunders def. Tito Carle via armbar
– Josh Saunders def. Ricky Luzny via short choke
– Kanae Yamada def. Zhu Tingting via Americana
55 KILO, FEMALE
One of the most fun competitors in the world right now, Adele Fornarino arrived as the division’s favorite and she delivered on both fronts. Quick finishes and a variety of submissions were on offer by the Aussie competitor.
– Kanae Yamada def. Beth Heeris via choke
– Adele Fornarino def. Soojin Hong via straight ankle lock
– Ju Shih def. Yumi Tamai via choke
– Joyce Ip def. Catherine Qu via armbar
– Adele Fornarino def. Joyce Ip via inside heel hook
– Kanae Yamada def. Ju Shih via 4×0
– Adele Fornarino def. Kanae Yamada via armbar
– Joyce Ip def. Ju Shih via armbar
65 KILO, FEMALE
A small division saw Wang Jue come out as the victor. We had not seen Jue in action in the past, but we were pleasantly surprised with her technical skill, showing an aggressive guard and solid back takes when on top.
– Thi Tan Nguyen def. Yan Li via 3×0
– Kimbat Batai def. Miki Strickland via penalty
– Shakira Pacana advanced via WO
– Wang Jue advanced via WO
– Shakira Pacana def. Kimbat Batai via guillotine
– Wang Jue def. Thi Tan Nguyen via 3×0
– Wang Jue def. Shakira Pacana via 6×0
– Kimbat Batai def. Thi Tan Nguyen via 7×0
+65 KILO, FEMALE
Only one match for Hillary Loh in her win at the +65 division of the ADCC Asia & Oceania Trials.
Jyssica Lian def. Yimei Yang via 5×0
Hillary Loh def. Taylaj Bisshopp via walkover
Nadine Dixon def. Jyssica Lian via katagatame
– Hillary Loh def. Nadine Dixon via 5×0
– Jyssica Lian def. Taylaj Bisshopp via walkover