NOVEMBER 08, 2021, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL, saw another edition of the BJJ Stars, a professional jiu-jitsu event designed with a prime production value, and a show that has been consistently bringing forward the biggest names in the sport under a super-fight style format.
With a mix of no-gi and gi matches, either under IBJJF ruleset, this weekend’s BJJ Stars did fly slightly under the community’s radar, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere where the ADCC North American East Coast Trials gathered most of the attention (see results for that event here). Although slightly hidden underneath the juggernaut that was the ADCC, the Stars show did provide some very interesting and competitive match-ups as well as plenty of entertaining moments that are worth remembering.
AUGUSTO TANQUINHO ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
This past weekend the BJJ Stars was also the chosen platform by Augusto Mendes, AKA Tanquinho, to announce his retirement from competitive jiu-jitsu. The announcement came after his BJJS match with longtime rival Bruno Frazatto. During his retirement speech, Tanquinho had some interesting choice of words regarding him vacating his current 66-kilogram ADCC title, which was due to be challenged next year at the ADCC World Championships.
The words have caught a few of the sport’s fans off guard, particularly as many in the industry believed they saw a bit of resentment in his speech. Instead of trying to decipher Tanquinho’s intent, below is the controversial portion of his post-fight interview verbatim:
Interviewer: “This is a very decisive decision (retirement), given that you have a spot in the ADCC and will choose to forfeit it. You are opting to continue your work at Soul Fighters Texas (as a coach) and taking care of Tel (Mendes’ son), but you might regret this decision and come back.”
Tanquinho: “As I said, I was going to come back to win the ADCC, but it won’t change anything for me. Financially it’s not good. I lose money competing. I actually asked for a super fight, I told Mo (ADCC organizer) ‘put me to do a super fight with JT Torres and open a lightweight absolute division’, but he didn’t like the idea, he just wants to support Gordon Ryan and his guys. I don’t care, I don’t need to fight for anyone, I fight for the challenge. They didn’t want to give me the challenge I wanted so it is all good.”
Read into it what you will, but what appears to be for certain is that Tanquinho will not compete in the 66-kilogram division. Taking into account that Tye Ruotolo, Matheus Gabriel, and Nicky Ryan are unlikely to make this weight class ever again, this opens up a variety of possible newcomers for 66-kg at next year’s ADCC tournament.
JOSH HINGER RETURNS FOR FIGHT OF THE NIGHT
In what we saw as the most exciting match of the night, Josh Hinger avenged his 2019 loss to Luis Marques at the IBJJF Masters World Championships, and once again in a very exciting affair. Seems as though the style clash between these two is the perfect recipe for a fun match.
Hinger started off better with a guillotine attack, which he used to gain top position. While trying to pass from quarter-mount, Marques beautifully swept the Atos veteran forcing Josh to play from the bottom. Using a sophisticated Single Leg X guard assisted by a novel lapel control, Hinger was able to sweep Luis, nearly gaining the mount. The Brazilian returned the favor, reversing the position quickly but Hinger came well prepared, attacking Marques with an omoplata, once again with the use of the lapel, nearly submitting the LR Extreme head coach.
AGAZARM FACES HALF GUARD LEGEND, CELSO VINICIUS
Another American on the card was AJ Agazarm. The former IBJJF Word No-Gi Champ faced one of the legends of the lightweight division, 3x Gi World Champion Celsinho Vinicius. Competitively the match was lukewarm and not particularly entertaining, Vinicius played from a passing stance but could not break through AJ’s defenses.
One of the most fun parts of the match came by way of Agazarm’s genius showmanship. The episode took place while Celso was being assisted by the paramedic team for a head clash near the end of the bout. Not happy sitting around waiting for the nurses to finish, Agazarm opted to spend the downtime doing push-ups on the mat, galvanizing the local crowd.
LEOZINHO COMES BACK WITH A DOMINANT WIN OVER FORMER FOE
One of the leaders of the Checkmat clan, a legend of the sport, Leonardo Vieira made a comeback this weekend against Cleber Luciano, one of the few athletes to hold a victory over the former 2x ADCC champion during their heyday.
The match between these two grappling veterans did go through a little feeling out period where Vieira looked to control the gripping controls and Luciano played in a more defensive posture. Once this warming-up phase passed, this quickly became a fiery affair, one fully dominated by Vieira.
Vieira took Luciano down twice, passed the guard, and attacked from every angle with a beautiful display of movement-based jiu-jitsu, a style that is a synonym of Leozinho.
– Matheus Spirandeli def. Rafael Dutra via Armbar
– Anna Rodrigues def. Dina Sena via DQ
– Meyram Maquine def. Tiago Barros via Armbar
– Fabio Romão def. Diogo Almeida via 2×0
– Augusto Mendes def. Bruno Frazatto via decision (0x0)
Cover photo by Carol Haber.