MARCH 1, 2020, was the date set for another night of top-notch grappling entertainment provided by the BJJ Fanatics promotion. The event was set as a Grand Prix style tournament between some of the top 170 lbs athletes in the sport, with the “cherry on top” of the show being the highly anticipated clash between wrestling standout Pat Downey and ADCC’s king, Gordon Ryan. A two-act clash where each athlete competed under two rulesets, the 1st bout under submission-only rules and a second with the freestyle wrestling system.
An interesting proposition from an entertainment standpoint, the clash between Pat and Gordon ended up proving what we already knew from a sporting point of view. A high caliber wrestler cannot compete against a highly skilled jiu-jitsuka under any grappling ruleset where submissions are involved, and a top-shelf grappler cannot hang in a wrestling ruleset against a high-level wrestler.
What this clash may have proven, however, is that the idea of the indestructible wrestler mindset could be no more than a fable. In the submission-only match, Downey’s fear of Ryan’s finishing prowess was visible as soon as the two hit the floor, a sentiment that looked to have turned into panic once Gordon Ryan took control of Pat Downey’s back. In the end, the wrestler verbally tapped to what looked like a half-Nelson from a body triangle control. Just a back control commonly used by Ryan, without any clear danger to any of the wrestler’s joints.
Downey did have a turn at showing his own dominance in wrestling, winning his freestyle bout with Gordon decisively, in under one minute by Technical-Fall (11 x 0).
In a sea of high-level black belts, the finalists were the brown belts. A highly competitive line-up, with athletes who love to press the action, is a recipe for a good show, and that is exactly what we got here. All athletes looked engaged in their mission to submit their way through to the final, although none carried that ideal higher than Oliver Taza. The Canadian looked outstanding on the BJJ Fanatics mats, earning a very well deserved BJJ Fanatics title by submitting his way through to the final, beating two very exciting black belts on the way there.
– Oliver Taza def. PJ Barch via inside heel hook
– John Combs def. Matheus Gonzaga via arm in guillotine
– Jonnatas Gracie def. Johnny Tama via overtime (ride-time)
– Ethen Crelinsten def. Nick Fury via overtime
– Oliver Taza def. Ethan Crelinsten via overtime (submission)