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Full ADCC 2019 Competitor List And Analysis

Full ADCC 2019 Competitor List And Analysis

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Half Guard Anthology Instructional by Lachlan Giles

The ADCC World Championship is at our doorstep, the biggest nogi tournament of the year, and we are here to shed a little light on each of the tournament’s contenders.

ADCC World Championship 2019

Date: 28-29 September
Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California
Tickets: adcombat.com
Live Stream: FloGrappling

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BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ADCC

For those who are not familiar with the ADCC – which stands for Abu Dhabi Combat Club, the event started during the late 1990s in the United Arab Emirates, as a smaller grappling show, catered to the wealthy local audience who had gained interest in jiu-jitsu.

The Abu Dhabi royal family had strong ties with Renzo Gracie and a few members of different BJJ teams, who were flown in regularly to train together at this same Club. These athletes influenced the club to raise the ADCC tournament from the ground.

After 9/11 (2001) the promotion started venturing outside the UAE due to the logistic hardship of running an international tournament in the Middle East, the event moved on through various different venues around the world, this way broadening the brand’s reach and its market recognition. Today, the ADCC is likely the most important tournament in the nogi world due to the very tough ruleset, and the powerful organic growth of its brand.

WHY IS THE 2019 ADCC DIFFERENT?

One thing will separate this year’s ADCC from its previous recent editions: There are more athletes on the invites list than before. This is due to the lack of a 2nd South American trials event, which traditionally happened in Rio de Janeiro as well as the Kazakhstan trials (Asia-Oceania).

Unlike North America and Europe, who all had two (2) trials events, the biggest BJJ country in the world only had one. The lone trials tournament happened in São Paulo in what will go down in history as one of the most poorly run competitions in the history of the ADCC.

For the reader to have an idea of how bad things were in São Paulo, grapplers were still competing at 1 am (16 hours after they were told the event would start). With no disclosure of brackets, every athlete was in the dark as to who or when they were competing, how many matches they would have, or even in what round of the tournament they were at when entering the mats to compete. The reasons for the cancellation of the second trials event remain unknown, but this opened the doors to more invitations for the main event, with a chance to include more established players to the show.

MOST REPRESENTED TEAMS OF 2019

Often overlooked is the team aspect in jiu-jitsu. The strength of the team and how a powerful network can open important doors to athletes at the highest level, particularly under an invitational setting. For the 2019 World Championship, the Alliance team will have the biggest representation, as the current IBJJF World Champion team (gi) is bringing 11 competitors to the big show – although only four by invitation. Below is the athletes’ list for the main event next month.

Most Represented Teams:
10 Athletes: Alliance – 4 Invited
9 Athletes: Atos – 6 Invited
7 Athletes: Gracie Barra – 6 Invited
7 Athletes: Checkmat – 4 Invited
6 Athletes: Renzo Gracie Academy – 1 Invited
5 Athletes: Absolute MMA – 3 invited
4 Athletes: 10th Planet – All Invited


DIVISION: MEN -66KG
Quite a few last-minute changes in a balanced division with a good mix of new blood and established champions. Key Players: Paulo Miyao, Gianni Grippo, Augusto Mendes

KENNEDY MACIEL (BRA) replacing: RUBENS CHARLES
Team: Alliance
Invitation
The spot was originally destined for Maciel’s father, the current reigning champion “Cobrinha”, who decided to step down and discuss his son’s inclusion in the tournament. Although a black belt for only one year, Kennedy has accomplished plenty and is a worthy candidate in the tournament.

ETHAN CRELINSTEN (CAN)
Team: Renzo Gracie
1st North American Trials Winner
One of our favorite athletes to watch out of the “Squad” is the Canadian Ethan Crelisten. A very well rounded athlete, Crelinsten is dangerous from all areas and we would not be surprised if we saw him on the podium. If we see any kink in his grappling armor, that would be his lack of experience. We will see if that plays a role.

RUAN ALVARENGA (BRA)
Team: Alliance
South American Trials Winner
One of the most promising brown belts on the ADCC roster is Alvarenga, who showed tremendous poise during the South American trials, submitting Gabriel Marangoni in the final. Alvarenga is a member of the Iran Brasileiro team, the same gym where Marcelo Garcia started his career and Ruan is doing his camp with the legendary ADCC champion. Scrambly, explosive and strong, Ruan will be a problem to a lot of people.

THOMAS HALPIN (IRE)
Team: Fight Sports
2nd European Trials Winner
The talented Irishman is fond of the leglocks and has been doing well on the international scene, with a few strong performances at the Polaris Invitational. The ADCC, however, is a big step up in competition and we look forward to seeing how Thomas will respond under pressure.

KENTA IWAMOTO (JPN)
Team: TriForce
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
Still a purple belt, and arriving from, traditionally, the easier of the trial tournaments, Kenta will be under no pressure to perform. We have not seen him compete in the past but look forward to watching what the Japanese grappler will have in his skillset.

GEO MARTINEZ (USA)
Team: 10th Planet
Invited
Although somewhat inconsistent over the past couple of years (8 W, 5 L, 3 D), on a good day Martinez is a threat to anyone on this roster. If we were to point a flaw in Martinez’s game for the ADCC ruleset, that would be the lack of takedown ability. This being a key element that may hurt most well-ranked guard players on the 66-kilogram division.

RICHARD ALARCON (USA) replacing: AJ AGAZARM
Team: Giva Santana
Invited
Alarcon was added to the card 8 weeks from the event’s date due to AJ Agazarm dropping out due to schedule conflicts with his MMA career. Alarcon is a black belt under Givanildo Santana and trains regularly at the 1oth Planet academy. Alarcon is a nogi specialist with wins at the Kasai Pro and EBI Combat tournaments. Great scrambles and very submission oriented.

AUGUSTO MENDES (BRA)
Team: Soul Fighters
Invited
Powerful, nearly impossible to takedown, fantastic submission defense, are all attributes Tanquinho possesses. Currently, at 36 years of age, this may be one of the last times we witness Mendes compete in the ADCC and look forward to seeing how well he will arrive at the after event after a long lay-off. If prepared, we would rank Mendes as a top 3 candidate to the gold medal.

JAMIL HILL-TAYLOR (USA)
Team: Team Lloyd Irvin
Invited
One of the most talented athletes of the younger generation is Jamil, however, we have never seen Hill-Taylor compete without the gi since reaching his black belt and wonder how well versed he will be in the heel-hooking game. Another tough hill to climb will be Jamil’s lack of wrestling prowess, a tool heavily used under these rulesets. If he can overcome, or conquer these important aspects of the ADCC ruleset, he will be very hard to beat.

MATHEUS GABRIEL (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
Invited
In a similar position to Jamil Taylor-Hill, Gabriel is an absolute killer of a grappler. Although an incredible talent, Matheus lacks ADCC (or even nogi) experience, and how he will adapt to the wrestling and heel-hooking dynamics that this ruleset produces is a complete enigma at this point. To solve it, however, Matheus is training with 2x ADCC champion Leozinho Vieira.

PAULO MIYAO (BRA)
Team: PSLPB – Cicero Costha
Invited
One of our favorite grapplers to watch today is Paulo Miyao. Well rounded, Miyao can pass, play guard, take the back and snap your feet. Outstanding skills, though his Achilles heel has been his lack of wrestling from standing. If he can overcome this handicap, we will likely see him on the podium.

GIANNI GRIPPO (USA)
Team: Alliance
Invited
Grippo is another name that will have a say in this tournament, but as we have said (repeatedly) above, his biggest flaw under this ruleset has been the lack of wrestling. Grippo will be one of the biggest and most complete athletes on the show, and if he can overcome or improve the wrestling aspect, he is a big candidate to the gold medal.

PABLO MANTOVANI (BRA)
Team: Atos
Invited
Pablo earned a 4th place at the 2017 ADCC and proved he could hang with the very best in the business. Well rounded, and very technical, he has the tools to aim higher this year.

TYE RUOTOLO (USA) replacing: MICHAEL MUSUMECI
Team: Atos
Invited
The spot originally destined to Mikey Musumeci was forfeited by the current roosterweight IBJJF World Champion, and then given to the teenage phenom Tye Ruotolo. Although still a blue belt, and in his mid-teens, Tye is extremely talented and should not be taken lightly. This will, however, be an extremely tough hill to climb for the young prospect, who will be in a substantial physical disadvantage.

KEITH KRIKORIAN (USA)
Team: 10th Planet
Invited
A very solid competitor who gained tons of traction at both his US trials’ performances, Keith is aggressive and submission oriented. We would not be surprised if Kirkorian pulls a major upset against a big name out there.

BRUNO FRAZATTO (BRA)
Team: Atos
Invited
A former silver medal at the ADCC, Frazatto is a calculated grappler with a wealth of experience, who hardly ever exposes himself – a style that has earned him ADCC (2015) and IBJJF (2008) World Championship medals.


DIVISION: MEN -77KG

In our opinion the toughest division of the tournament, we have a wide range of champions at play here and no easy matches. The wars will start from the very first round. Key Players: JT Torres, Lucas Lepri, Renato Canuto… And pretty much everybody else. Stacked weight class.

JT TORRES (USA)
Team: Atos
2017 champion
Arguably the strongest candidate to the gold medal at 77 kilograms is Torres. With no holes in his game, Torres ticks all the boxes for a repeat of his 2017 title, we would be surprised not to see him make (at least) the semi-finals.

ROSS NICHOLLS (GBR)
Team: Roger Gracie Academy
1st European Trials Winner
Arguably the best submission-only grappler in Europe right now is Nicholls, whose been on a tear in the Brittish circuit. Although a talented leg-locker, Ross has not had too much success when facing the upper echelon of the 77-kilogram division, as such he will have some ground to cover to be considered a big player in such a stacked division.

JONATHAN SATAVA (USA)
Team: Alliance
1st North American Trials Winner
The talented Marcelo Garcia black belt has plenty of tools to make it to the later rounds of the tournament, although his lack of activity over the past year will leave a few questions with regards to his commitment to this event. Satava has recently been introduced to fatherhood and opened a gym. We are anxious to see which version of Jon shows up.

NICKY RYAN (USA)
Team: Renzo Gracie Academy
2nd North American Trials Winner at 66kg
Ryan earned his stripes by winning the American trials with ease at 66 kg. He has grown substantially over the past few months, as such he will be replacing teammate Garry Tonon’s spot at 77. Ryan has excellent leg locks, kimura trap attacks, and triangles, but will be dealing with the toughest test of his career. It will be interesting to see how the brackets will play to his advantage (or disadvantage).

JOHN COMBS (USA)
Team: Easton BJJ
2nd North American Trials Winner
One of the most exciting grapplers to watch in our sport today is Combs, a BJJ black belt with wrestling pedigree, who always gives 100% from start to finish.

SÉRVIO TÚLIO (BRA)
Team: Gracie Barra
South American Trials Winner
One of the most technical athletes on this ADCC roster is Túlio, who is Felipe Pena’s most accomplished student thus far. Although inexperienced in the black belt division, comparatively to a few other athletes here, Sérvio plays well from all angles and is big for the weight class. To get to the tournament, the young Gracie Barra student had to go through Marcelo Mafra, Gabriel Rollo, and Jeferson Guaresi. No easy feat.

MATEUSZ GAMROT (POL)
Team: ATT
2nd European Trials Winner
We do not know a lot from the Polish grappler, but he is undefeated in MMA and has a wealth of nogi experience in Europe. Garmot has trained with the heel-hooking wizards at DDS and a number of other gyms in preparation for the big show, we will soon find out how far he will go.

LACHLAN GILES (AUS)
Team: Absolute MMA
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
Another Australian jiu-jitsu gem is Lachlan, a fantastic coach, athlete and ‘thinker’ of the game. Giles spreads his duties between being a competitor and the leader of Absolute MMA, a team of which he is the main instructor, and even though competition is not his main focus, he is still one of the toughest grapplers out there, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Lachlan made it to the later rounds.

VAGNER ROCHA (BRA/USA)
Team: Fight Sports
Invited
The 3-time ADCC Trials winner, Rocha became part of the discussion as a major player in this sport after his performances on the nogi circuit over the past 4 years. Durable, hard to takedown, good pressure passing, and excellent kimura traps, Rocha is one of the grittiest veterans on the roster.

OLIVER TAZA (CAN/LEB)
Team: Renzo Gracie Academy
Invited
The Canadian – Lebanese athlete was regarded as one of the top nogi athletes in the world 1 year ago, but a severe knee injury took him out of the game for an extended period of time. Well rounded and particularly savvy with leg-locks, Taza might be a dark horse in this race, depending on how well recovered he is from that injury.

EDWIN NAJMI (USA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
Traditionally known as a gi player, Najmi is transitioning to nogi more recently. Considering the depth of the talent in his camp, we could assume Najmi will be just fine come September. Edwin does his best work from the top and carries himself in a very unorthodox style of play, with very dangerous chokes from takedown defense transitions.

RENATO CANUTO (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
Invited
We see Canuto as one of the top candidates for the gold medal. He has excellent timing, very fast takedowns, good at scrambles, and with a strong mind. All excellent tools to conquer the ADCC.

LUCAS LEPRI (BRA)
Team: Alliance
Invited
The ADCC is the only big tournament the 7x IBJJF World Champion, Lucas Lepri, hasn’t conquered yet in his lengthy career. Lepri has reached the final on two occasions, and we see him and JT Torres as the two main contenders to the ADCC once again.

CELSO VINICIUS (BRA)
Team: Ryan Gracie Academy
Invited
The veteran competitor and former world champion is very powerful, has good takedowns and was once regarded as the best half-guard in the game. Celso was at his best form over 10 years ago, and although he is still a good competitor, his endurance is not where it was in the past.

DJ JACKSON (USA)
Team: Team Lloyd Irvin
Invited
Regardless of the ruleset, if you are matched against Jackson, you are in for a very tough match. This man does not know anything other than pressure and has a great style for this ruleset.

DANTE LEON (CAN)
Team: GF Team
Invited
One of the latest additions to the roster is the powerful Canadian, Dante Leon. Dante has an excellent guard, good passing game and is very savvy with submissions. Super tough competitor and an excellent addition to the tournament, we believe Dante has all the tools to shock the world.


DIVISION: MEN -88KG

Arguably the weakest, or should we say, most uneven division of the tournament. Key Players: Josh Hinger, Craig Jones, Matheus Diniz.

ADAM WARDZINSKI (POL)
Team: Checkmat
1st European Trials Winner
The butterfly guard king made it to the ADCC! Adam is not known for his nogi game, and we have not seen much of him against the higher level of competition in this sport under this ruleset, as such, it is tough to assess how far he will be able to go.

ALEC BAULDING (USA)
Team: Alliance
1st North American Trials Winner
Based in Sweden, Baulding brings a technical game and a very different body-type to the table, considering he is the shortest athlete on the division. Speed, strength, good takedown offense, guard retention, and submission defense are all attributes Alec possesses, however, this will be Baulding’s toughest test to date. How far he can take his weapons is an enigma worth tuning into on the 28th of September.

JOSH HINGER (USA)
Team: Atos
2nd North American Trials Winner
Hinger is a grappler that has consistently defied father time. Now standing at 37 years of age, the American is still one of the toughest competitors alive without the gi and will be a candidate to the gold medal if he is healthy and recovered from the injuries that plagued his career at the end of 2018.

GABRIEL ALMEIDA (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
South American Trials Winner
Still settling in the black belt division is Gabriel Almeida, who conquered a tough bracket in Brazil to book his flight to the big show. Almeida has a ton of heart and a few high-profile wins, including over Lucas Hulk, Valdir Araujo, and Alexandre de Jesus. He does his best work from the top position but is also a dangerous single X player.

BEN DYSON (GBR)
Team: Roll Jiu-Jitsu
2nd European Trials Winner
Somewhat of a BJJ globetrotter is the English black belt, Dyson. Ben has competed all around the world over these past few years but has not yet broken through to the upper echelon of the sport. Although not a front runner, we are interested to see if the Canada based grappler will state his claim to the top at this year’s ADCC.

KELLER LOCKE-SODHI (AUS)
Team: N/A
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
Another Australian athlete on this ADCC roster, however, Keller is not of the well known Absolute MMA lineage. Instead, Locke-Sodhi has an extensive background in judo, being a former member of the country’s national squad in this sport. Aside from his judo experience and PanPac titles in BJJ we do not have much more information on this athlete.

CRAIG JONES (AUS)
Team: Absolute MMA / RGA
Invited
After his 2017 breakthrough performance, Jones returns to the tournament that made him famous. One of the most recognizable faces in grappling, Jones has evolved tremendously technically and physically since his showing in Finland, two years ago.

It is hard to imagine Jones can still make the weight-cut to 88 kg, but that is the weight class assigned to him, so he will. He has much-improved wrestling, a dangerous passing game and still savvy with “old reliable” – AKA, those dreaded leg entanglements. Craig could absolutely come out of this tournament with a gold medal around his neck.

RUSTAM CHSIEV (RUS)
Team: N/A
Invited
One of the grittiest grapplers on the planet, Rustam has been around for a minute. Nearly impossible to take down, and with excellent takedowns of his own, fantastic submission defense and superb time/mat management, Chsiev is the perfect anti-jiu-jitsu grappler. Time will tell if he is still as fast and durable as he was in the past, as these have been two key attributes for his path to success.

MIKE PEREZ (USA)
Team: Atos
Invited
An athlete that has all the attributes to make it at the big stage, but hasn’t quite found his rhythm at the top of the food chain in this sport. This will be Perez’s 3rd attempt at the ADCC World Championship.

KIT DALE (AUS)
Team: Absolute MMA
Invited
Much like we referenced about Perez (above), at face value Dale has the attributes to be part of the discussion in this division, but we have not seen that version of Kit thus far. Will the 2019 ADCC be his breakthrough tournament?

MURILO SANTANA (BRA)
Team: Unity JJ
Invited
Santana’s first ADCC World Championship experience dates back to 10 years ago, having only once surpassed the quarter-finals. At 36 years of age, the masterful pressure passer is still an active competitor.

GABRIEL ARGES (BRA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
Always praised by his teammates as one of the most technical middleweights in the world, 3x IBJJF World Champion ‘Gabe’ Arges does not have a ton of experience without the gi and will give out quite a few pounds of muscle to a few of the bigger athletes in the division (Arges regularly competes at 82 kilograms). These are two tough handicaps to overcome for the young Brazilian talent, but considering who he is and the level of training he has at Gracie Barra Northridge, Arges may just pull off an upset.

GILBERT BURNS (BRA)
Team: ATT
Invited
One of the few MMA/UFC fighters who never lost touch with his BJJ roots is Gilbert Burns. “Durinho” is a very durable grappler (thus the name), with tons of athleticism and should be one of the quickest competitors at 88 kilograms. A natural lightweight, Gilbert will give out a substantial size advantage to a few more natural medium-heavy and heavyweights on the brackets, which may cost him at this level.

MATHEUS DINIZ (BRA)
Team: Alliance
Invited
One of the toughest men to beat on this roster. We have been praying to the jiu-jitsu gods for Diniz to be included in the tournament for the past couple of years, and it is finally happening. His style is exciting and perfectly designed for the ADCC: Explosive takedowns, great scrambling ability, heart, and timing make Diniz an exceptional candidate to the podium.

MASON FOWLER (USA) Replacing: KEENAN CORNELIUS
Team: CTA
2nd North American Trials Winner
Originally set for the 99 kilogram division, after winning the trials in said category, Fowler opted to swap seats with Keenan. A very powerful grappler is the Caio Terra pupil, Manson Flower. His purple belt run last year was incredible, but this will be a big step up in competition. Time will tell if he can rise up to the test, or if he will need a couple more years of experience to challenge at this level.

JON BLANK (USA)
Team: 10th Planet
Invited
Not a familiar face in jiu-jitsu’s international circuit, what we know of Blank came from his appearance at the Kasai tournament this year. Blank looked strong and very submission oriented.


DIVISION: MEN -99KG
An interesting division with a tough task at hand: To steal Gordon Ryan’s crown. Key Players: Gordon Ryan, Lucas Barbosa, Vinny Magalhães, Patrick Gaudio, Tim Spriggs.

PERTTU TEPPONEN (FIN)
Team: HILTI/TJJK
1st European Trials Winner
An athlete with an interesting backstory, Perttu is not a full-time grappler and suffers from a multiple atrial fibrillations condition. Nonetheless, he is one of the top nogi competitors at this weight class in Scandinavia and has a few interesting wins.

TIM SPRIGGS (USA)
Team: Team Lloyd Irvin
1st North American Trials Winner
Durable and with a grappling style very in tune with the ADCC ruleset, Spriggs may have a chance to shine here. His match with Craig Jones this year exposed one of Tim’s weaknesses, the leg lock defense. If he can overcome this issue, he has a good chance of making it all the way.

KEENAN CORNELIUS (USA) replacing: MASON FOWLER
Team: Legion BJJ
Invited
The lapel master has had plenty of victories in nogi, without his Excalibur grip. Much of this success is owed to his underrated wrestling skills, which will always come in handy under this ruleset.

With the opening of his gym and his online business – heavily focussed on the gi, we are unsure of how much effort Cornelius will be able to put on this championship run, a good indicator of this was Cornelius’ request to compete at 99 kilograms, with 6 weeks away from the event. Originally set for the 88 division, Cornelius opted to swap divisions with Mason Flower, the 99 kg US trials champ.

PAULO JOSÉ (BRA)
Team: Alliance / UAEJJ Team
South American Trials Winner
Commonly known as ‘Paulinho Baraúna’, José is the former Alliance veteran, now based in Dubai. Paulinho is an old school grappler, very strong, experienced, and with solid fundamentals. He is hard to score on, and does his best work from a passing stance, but his endurance will be tested in the ADCC.

MRAZ AVDOYAN (GER)
Team: N/A
2nd European Trials Winner
We do not know a whole lot of Mraz, who is originally from Eastern Europe and has adopted Germany as his home. We saw his Trials matches, decent takedowns, good fight IQ, very fast for a man of his size, but appears to be a more MMA oriented grappler, lacking some of the finer details our sport carries at the top level. Time will tell if these will be exposed against the elite of grappling.

GORDON RYAN (USA)
Team: Renzo Gracie Academy
The man of the hour, Gordon Ryan proved his worth to the world in 2017, by winning the ADCC 88kg title (and 2nd place in the absolute), ending any possible doubt anyone could have of his value as an athlete.

This year Ryan returns to the big show, one the weight class above his previous run, after an extended absence due to a tough knee injury suffered at the Kasai Invitational in February. If he is top shape, Ryan will be, without a doubt, the man to beat.

BEN HODGKINSON (AUS)
Team: Absolute MMA
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
Ben is a unique case in this year’s ADCC. A member of Absolute MMA, Hodgkinson flew from Australia to Kazakhstan for the Asian trials, but found out the tournament had been canceled due to the lack of registered athletes. The solution found was to do an open weight class event, where the winner would come out with the ‘Golden Ticket’. Ben submitted 6 out of 6 matches and will be attending the event.

VINNY MAGALHÃES (BRA/USA)
Team: N/A
Invited
A veteran of the tournament, Magalhães tends to do very well under this ruleset. He is well rounded and dangerous on all aspects of the game while being able to play defense and offense equally well. His experience and versatility make him one of the toughest competitors to beat.

PATRICK GAUDIO (BRA)
Team: GF Team
Invited
Gaudio narrowly missed the 2017 event, placing 2nd at the Brazilian trials, but has proven time and time again to be worthy of an invitation. This is a great opportunity to rehash the epic battle Gaudio had with Gordon Ryan at the IBJJF 2018 World NoGi Championship. Well rounded and forward moving, Gaudio’s style will gain some fans at the event, guaranteed.

LUCAS BARBOSA (BRA)
Team: Atos
Invited
Lucas Barbosa is an outstanding challenger to the title, albeit, we would rather see him do it at his natural weight, in the 88-kilogram weight class. At 99 kg, he will be one of the smallest grapplers on the mat, alongside Dillon Danis, but we trust his speed may cause a world of problems to his bigger opponents, particularly if he can conquer the top position.

LUIZ PANZA (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
Invited
Although incredibly talented, Panza’s focus has been with his family and new gym. His last important medal (3rd place at the IBJJF World Championship) dates back to May 2017. Nonetheless, Panza does have a different style, heavily reliant on 50/50 guard, and we will be interested in seeing how he adapts this game to the ADCC ruleset, one he has not competed in, in the past.

JACKSON SOUSA (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
Invited
Always durable, Jackson was the 2017 bronze medal placer, defeating big names of the sport on his way to the podium, albeit, without scoring one single point throughout the event. Sousa has in his distance management his strongest asset, a style that frustrates many of his opponents.

ROMULO BARRAL (BRA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
The original “Every Day Porrada” master is back at 37 years of age. Now semi-retired Romulo will still be a tough test to the younger generation, however, if you take his latest performances as an indicator of what is to come, it is hard to imagine the veteran making it all the way to the top this time around.

PAUL ARDILA (USA)
Team: ATT
Invited
On paper, Paul is an absolute threat to everyone on this card. Fantastic wrestling pedigree, good distance management, and high fight IQ, Ardilla is a menace, though we have not yet seen these attributes working together at the highest level. If he can get his mind aligned with his engine, he will be a tough test to the division.

DILLON DANIS (USA)
Team: Unity JJ
Invited
One of the most popular grapplers in the world today is Danis, whose black belt grappling record is not a true reflection of his value. Dillon is absolutely a high level, well-rounded player and although we would rather see him challenge the weight class below (or even the 77 kilograms division), he is still a threat.

FELLIPE ANDREW (BRA)
Team: Zenith JJ
Invited
A last-minute invitation for one of the most exciting gi athletes in the world. Andrew is known for a game that is heavily reliant on the kimono, and we will be very interested in seeing how he adapts to the very different dynamics of the ADCC.


DIVISION: MEN +99KG
Traditionally in grappling, the ultra-heavyweight division is not one of the strongest weight classes to watch. This year, however, we have some very interesting matches on the cards. Key Players: Marcus Almeida, Kaynan Duarte, Yuri Simões, Orlando Sanchez.

MARCUS ALMEIDA (BRA)
Team: Checkmat
2017 champion
The champ returns to claim his throne. Without a doubt the strongest candidate to the title at this weight class.

ELDAR RAFIGAEV (MDA)
Team:
1st European Trials Winner
The Moldavian Rafigaev, commonly known as “Yakuza”, is one of the most popular athletes in Europe due to his highly submission oriented jiu-jitsu style. A foolock specialist, with a style similar to ‘Tex’ Johnson, Eldar trains out of Fernando Araujo’s, Jungle BJJ in the Chzec Republic.

AARON JOHNSON (USA)
Team: N/A
1st North American Trials Winner
The famous Tex Johnson is one of the scariest footlockers in jiu-jitsu today. With a highly submission oriented game, Aaron will give up points to hunt for the sub, a style that has sometimes worked against him.

NICK RODRIGUEZ (USA)
Team: Renzo Gracie Academy
2nd North American Trials Winner
The fastest rising competitor in the sport right now is New Jersey’s Nicky Rod of the Renzo Gracie Academy. With good wrestling and a blue belt to his credit, Rodriguez went through his weight class at the US trials, like a hot knife through butter. Very fast for a man of his size he should not be underestimated by the senior members of this weight class.

ANTONIO BRAGA NETO (BRA)
Team: Studio 092
South American Trials Winner
Regarded as one of the top ultra-heavyweights a decade ago, Braga Neto will be dusting off a few cobwebs at the big show in September. As an athlete, the ADCC is the only major tournament that escaped Antonio’s career, but the sport has come a long way in his absence. We will soon find out if Braga Neto followed the sport’s development during his time away, fighting in MMA.

MATEUSZ JUSKOWIAK (POL)
Team: Murowana Goslina Team
2nd European Trials Winner
One of the bigger names in Polish jiu-jitsu is the veteran Juskowiak. Good standing and on the ground, Mateusz is a durable grappler.

DENIS ROBERTS (AUS)
Team: CTA
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
A very experienced athlete whose done wrestling and MMA, having more recently turned to jiu-jitsu is Roberts, who is a brown belt under Caio Terra.

YURI SIMÕES (BRA)
Team: CTA
After conquering titles in the 88 (2015) and 99 (2017) kilogram divisions of the ADCC, Yuri is heading towards history by making another title run, this time in the +99 KG weight class. Yuri’s style is relentless, very well prepared wrestling wise, scrappy and aggressive are all attributes Simões possesses. This weight class has a few massive humans, who will dwarf Simões in size, a big disadvantage, but Simões has surprised us before.

ORLANDO SANCHEZ (USA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
Well known for his enormous physique and agility, Orlando is always very hard to battle under this ruleset. Extremely durable for a man of his weight, Orlando has good takedowns, an “unsweapable” base and a ton of heart. A force in this weight class.

ROBERTO ABREU (BRA)
Team: Fight Sports
Invited
The leader of the Fight Sports Academy and former open-weight ADCC champion is still competing regularly at 38 years of age. Cyborg is well position to challenge for the podium.

JARED DOPP (USA)
Team: Alliance
Invited
Although an amateur athlete, Dopp always shines under the ADCC ruleset, having never failed to reach the semi-finals in his 3 participations (2013, 2015, 2017). Very physical and nearly impossible to take down, Dopp has a lot of the necessary attributes to do well once again.

JOÃO GABRIEL ROCHA (BRA)
Team: Soul Fighters
Invited
One of the bigger names on the division is João Gabriel of Soul Fighters. On paper Rocha has every tool needed, and a few spare ones, to do well at the ADCC. He has reached the final for this event on two occasions and we would not be surprised if we see him at the top once again.

KAYNAN DUARTE (BRA)
Team: Atos
Invited
This kid is an absolute phenom, a talent that will remain at the top of the heavyweight division for years to come. The only downfall at this year’s ADCC is the chosen weight class. Kaynan is a 94-kilogram competitor and is better suited for the weight class below, as he will give out a fair amount of weight here. Regardless, we would be surprised if we didn’t see Duarte make the podium steps.

ANTONIO CARLOS JR (BRA)
Team: ATT
Invited
The famous “Shoe Face” was at the top of the BJJ food chain a few years ago, having pointed his resources to MMA, currently being a UFC fighter. Junior is very talented and will be a challenge to anyone on this division.

VICTOR HUGO (BRA)
Team: Ribeiro JJ
Invited
Hugo is one of the most talented athletes on this roster. Aggressive, well rounded and supported by an excellent team, Victor may be a dark horse in this division. The enigma here is if he can adapt to the ADCC ruleset, one that differs strongly from Victor’s traditional competitive circuit.

MAHAMED ALY (BRA)
Team: Team Lloyd Irvin
Invited
Aly is very well adapted to the nogi dynamics, although he has fallen prey to the footlock game in the past. If he can avoid this handicap he will be a force in this division.


DIVISION: WOMEN -60KG
A very balanced division with a wide range of challengers. Key Players: Bia Mesquita, Elvira Karppinen, Bianca Basilio.

BEATRIZ MESQUITA (BRA)
Team: Gracie Humaita
2017 champion
The champion returns and will be the person to beat at 60 kilograms. Mesquita is, arguably, the best female grappler of all time, but will have tough challenges ahead, particularly against the leg-locking specialist Elvira.

JENA BISHOP (USA)
Team: Alliance
North American Trials Winner
Always tough, Jena had a brilliant performance at the ADCC US trials. We see Jena has a strong candidate to the podium, alongside Mesquita and Karppinen and look forward to a Bishop vs Davies match-up.

FRANCIELE NASCIMENTO (BRA)
Team: Alliance
South American Trials Winner
We do not know too much about Franciele’s game. We know she is from Manaus and a student of Melqui Galvão of the Alliance Team. Melqui being a well-established coach with two students of his conquering the IBJJF Grand Slam this year.

LIVIA GILES (POL/AUS)
Team: Absolute MMA
European Trials Winner
Another big name out of the Absolute MMA training camp is Giles (formerly Livia Gluchowska). Livia is great technically and probably the best footlocker in this roster, alongside Elvira. Her biggest handicap here will be her size, as Giles is considerably smaller than the majority of the contenders on the tournament.

RIKAKO YUASA (JPN)
Team: Paraestra/Sasa BJJ
Asia-Oceania Trials Winner
With the gi, at her weight class, Yusasa is nearly unbeatable. This tournament, however, will not be with the gi, nor will it be in her weight class. Rikako is giving out three and in some cases 4 weight classes to compete here, which is a very tough hill to climb for the Japanese challenger.

BIANCA BASÍLIO (BRA)
Team: Almeida JJ
Invited
Another big player in this division is Basilio. She is as tough as they come, very scrappy, good judo and never-say-die attitude. Basilio’s biggest challenge will be Mesquita, an athlete she has gone up against, in the past.

ELVIRA KARPPINEN (FIN)
Team: 10th Planet
Invited
Karppinen had her breakthrough tournament at the ADCC 2017. Since then Elvira has struggled with a severe knee injury, but seems to be fully recovered as per her outstanding performance at a F2W event recently. If she is in shape and healthy, Karppinen could take the big prize.

FFION DAVIES (GBR)
Team: East Coast JJ
Invited
Another huge name added to the card is the Welsh grappler Ffion Davies. In a short amount of time in the black belt division, Davies has already turned quite a few heads her way. She is aggressive, hunts for submissions and adds a ton of pressure to her passing. Keep your eyes on Davies. Regardless of how far she progresses, she will put on a show.


DIVISION: WOMEN +60KG
An interesting division with very good names, but a gigantic size gap between the two top contenders and the rest of the division. Key Players: Gabrielle Garcia, Tayane Porfirio.

GABRIELLE GARCIA (BRA)
Team: N/A
2017 champion
The current champion, Garcia will have her biggest challenge in Tayane Porfirio. An athlete who can match her size and her technique, although Garcia will have experience and vastly superior wrestling on her side.

AMANDA LEVE (USA)
Team: Renzo Gracie Academy
North American Trials Winner
Leve is very likely the future of the middleweight division, young and exciting, Leve will be a tough test to everyone in the division, even giving out quite a few years of experience.

CARINA SANTI (BRA)
Team: G13
South American Trials Winner
In the past Santi has impressed us with her lasso guard game, but without the gi, we do not have a lot of information on the G13 team member. Santi is very strong, has a flexible guard and killer omoplata game.

STEPHANIE EGGER (SUI)
Team: N/A
European Trials Winner
Egger is an MMA fighter and a blue belt in BJJ. Strong and athletic, she will have a tough uphill battle to make it through to the later rounds.

JESSICA FLOWERS (BRA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
One of the best and most accomplished grapplers in the division is Jessica Flowers. Jessica is also the only competitor in this roster who has won against the current champion, Gabrielle Garcia (at ADCC 2015).

TAYANE PORFIRIO (BRA)
Team: Gracie Barra
Invited
Regarded as the biggest challenger to Garcia’s title is Tayane. Porfirio is well known as the best gi competitor in recent times, but we have never seen her compete without the gi. The lack of experience may cost her dearly against a veteran such as Gabrielle.

NATHIELY DE JESUS (BRA)
Team: N/A
Invited
The best guard player in the division, Nathiely has a great game to face the bigger names of the division, although her lack of wrestling may be too much of a handicap to overcome.

ANA CAROLINA VIEIRA (BRA)
Team: GF Team
Invited
The best middleweight competitor of her generation, Ana Carolina is a pleasure to watch with the gi. At the ADCC she will be giving up nearly 100 lbs to Garcia and Tayane, a shocking weight disparity. We will see what type of challenge “Baby” will pose.

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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