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British Isles, The Sleeper Team of the ADCC?

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Traditionally, European grapplers have not been particularly successful at the ADCC World Championships, particularly if you exclude the success of the Eastern European wrestlers had in the early tournaments. Only once has Europe succeeded in crowning an ADCC champion, namely Jon Olav Einemo of Norway, 16 years ago.

Over the past decade, we saw two European competitors earn bronze medals (Maria Malyjasiak [POL 2013] and Ida Hansson [DEN 2011]), but the well has dried out since then for the Old Continent. This time around, however, the Europeans are bringing some heavy firepower, an army strongly backed by the British Isles – United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, arguably the strongest grappling circuit on that side of the world. Below we introduce these 4 Horseman Of The British Isles and what to hope from them at the ADCC.

66 KG: TOM HALPIN (IRE)
Representing: Fight Sports
European Trials Winner

Hailed as a “grappling wizard” by his teammates, Halpin is an Irish born black belt in jiu-jitsu, which he earned from the hands of Roberto Abreu of the Fight Sports Academy. Competing out of a small Irish province, where he was largely self-taught, Halpin was able to establish himself as one of the toughest European competitors of his generation.

The talented featherweight is big on the leglock game and has been doing well on the international scene, with a few strong performances at the Polaris Invitational and ADCC Trials.

Main Achievements:
– 1st Place ADCC European Trials (2019)
– 1st Place UAEJJF Spain National Pro (2018)
– 1st Place UAEJJF Netherlands National Pro (2018)

77KG: ROSS NICHOLLS(ENG)
Representing: Roger Gracie Academy
1st European Trials Winner

Ross Nicholls is a jiu-jitsu black belt under César Lima of the Roger Gracie lineage, although his fighting style is very different from that of his the Gracie legend. Widely regarded as one of the top British and European competitors with the gi since the time he was a purple belt, Nicholls developed his leg-lock game later in his career, as a black belt. This game-changing approach has transformed Nicholls into a nogi aficionado, and one of the most dangerous lightweights in Europe, as proven by Ross at the European ADCC Trials, where he submitted everyone. A dark horse in the 77-kilogram division is Nicholls.

Main Achievements:
– 1st Place ADCC European Trials (2018)
– 1st Place IBJJF British NoGi Nationals (2017)
– 1st Place IBJJF London Winter Open (2017)

88KG: BEN DYSON (ENG)
Team: Roll Jiu-Jitsu
2nd European Trials Winner

From the South of England comes Dyson, a very unique grappler. A true globetrotter here as there aren’t many places left on the planet in which Dyson has not competed. Well rounded and durable, Ben might surprise a few people at the big show.

Dyson competed against Nick Rodriguez at the Polaris show earlier this year, and although severely physically outmatched by the American, Ben was able to survive where many would have been submitted. True Britain grit brought forward by the (now) Canada based athlete.

Main Achievements:
– 1st Place ADCC European Trials (2018)

60KG: FFION DAVIES (WAL)
Team: East Coast JJ
Invited

Out of the whole British Isles Team, it is Ffion who has the best chance of winning gold. Currently living in the Republic of Ireland, though originally Welsh, Ffion has ran over the featherweight division in her first year at black belt.

Truly a talent in this sport, we expect Davies to be celebrated in a few years as one of the best grapplers to ever do it, and the ADCC World Championship might very well be the tournament that raises her status to elite level.

Fast, powerful, aggressive and with a ‘never quit’ attitude, we advise our readers to tune in when Davies is on the mat, as there is usually a good show to behold.

Main Achievements:
– 1st Place IBJJF World Championship NoGi (2018)
– 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2019)
– 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2019)

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