JUNE 13, 2021, LAS VEGAS, USA, last night we had the pleasure of following the latest edition of the EUG (Evolve Ur Game) event, a promotion that has vowed to promote gi jiu-jitsu in North America, a breath of fresh hair in the current no-gi heavy professional grappling circuit.
The 2nd show by the jiu-jitsu promotion featured a 170 lb (77 kilograms) tournament which gathered some of the top light and middleweight athletes in the country, as well as a Brazilian-based outlier in Micael Galvão. Galvão was also the only brown belt participant in the tournament, a place he earned due to his current status as one of the hottest newcomers in the sport, given his outstanding track record over the past 2 years.
While Micael collected most of the headlines, much of the tournament’s favoritism fell on AOJ’s dominant representatives, undefeated Tainan Dalpra and Johnatha Alves – who was running on a 10 match victorious win streak with the gi (22 fight unbeaten streak at 77 kilograms). Equally dangerous were veterans Michael Liera Junior, Jonnatas Gracie, and Mathias Luna.
MICA’S TRIAL BY FIRE
Although widely regarded as the future of the middleweight division, 17YO Micael Galvão was yet to be tested at this level against the top of the jiu-jitsu food chain. Many saw this event as a trial by fire for the Manaus native, others believed the test would be too much for the youngster’s developing frame, neither of these opinions appeared to phase Mica.
Galvão put on a real show for the fans and was, arguably, the most entertaining athlete of the night. Always searching for the finish, Galvão’s most impressive performance was against Tainan Dalpra. The AOJ middleweight pulled guard against Micael, hoping to avoid the teenager’s dangerous closed guard game,. Using plan B, Galvão was relentless from a passing position, getting extremely close to establishing full side control points, all this while being constantly looking for the submission.
In the final, against Johnatha Alves, Galvão did not appear to be content in winning a match via points. Possibly trying to make a statement, Micael could have looked to secure a positional lead on a few instances, failing to do so in search of the submission, a commendable attitude that saw him lose to the more strategic Alves by 2 points.
FLAWLESS JOHNATHA ALVES
After an impressive performance against no-gi veteran Oliver Taza two weeks ago, Alves returned to his Bread and Butter, the gi, looking as impressive as always. In soccer terms, (and apologies for the non-soccer people out there for the reference,) Alves appears to be much like the Franco Baresi of jiu-jitsu, the player that led Milan AC’s defensive line for nearly 2 decades and one of the cleanest sweepers of all-time. Never over-exerted, always in the right place, very precise, and with a natural ability to read the game, an approach that saw Johnatha take another epic trophy in a very demanding tournament.
Alves’ use of the 50-50 rule (no points awarded to 50-50 sweeps) was genius. Finding a gap within the rules, Alves looked for the fifty position every time he scored a point, forcing his opponent to (try) and get out of the position to place any points on the scoreboard, a strategy that was most useful, particularly against Micael Galvão in the final.
– Johnatha Alves DEF. Michael Liera via 2×2 (last to score advanced)
– Jonnatas Gracie DEF. Mathias Luna via 2×0
– Tainan Dalpra DEF. Cesar Predes via Reverse triangle
– Micael Galvão DEF. Damien Nitkin via RNC
Joao Mendes DEF. Diogo Reis via 2×0