NOVEMBER 20, 2021, LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, an important day for British grappling as yet another professional submission-only promotion has risen from the hibernation imposed by COVID-19. Tonight it was time for GrappleFest’s return, an organization with strong roots in the home-grown grappling style of catch-wrestling, the combat style it strives to promote while also bringing forth jiu-jitsu talent to headline its shows. Tonight was no different with the main event set between Canada’s foremost jiu-jitsu black belts at 80-kilograms, Dante Leon (Pedigo Submission Fighting) and Oliver Taza (New Wave), as well as co-main events featuring the Ruotolo Brothers against Keith Krikorian (10th Planet) and Nick Ronan (Serra JJ).
The first of the famous Atos Jiu-Jitsu Team duo to enter the mat tonight was Tye Ruotolo. The ADCC veteran faced Nick Ronan at 77-kilos in a match that was a non-stop onslaught of movement and aggressive forward motion by the 18YO brown belt. Tye dominated the stand-up with a few blast double legs and well-timed footsweeps that consistently forced a reluctant Nick Ronan to play from his back. While on top, Ruotolo passed the guard and took the back but was unable to break through Ronan’s strong submission defense, taking the win via unanimous decision.
Equally impressive was Kade’s performance over Keith Krikorian. The 10th Planet representative came into the match straight from a long trip due to his flight being canceled. The two athletes had agreed to compete at 73-kilograms (one weight class above Keith’s) and, unsurprisingly, Ruotolo appeared the bigger and fresher of the two, taking the match to Krikorian while working almost exclusively from a passing stance. Beautiful footwork and a solid display for a win via decision.
DANTE LEON CONQUERS GF 80KG BELT (176 LB)
Interestingly, although both Dante Leon and Oliver Taza compete in the same weight class and have done at the highest level for years, neither had met in the competitive arena thus far. Many expected the Canadian battle to be a very close affair, but it turned out more favorably for Dante than previously expected. Leon shut down Taza’s game for most of the match while working from the top, using solid distance management and pressure when there needed to be pressure. Not a lot of close submission attempts, but a well-planned strategy against a very game opponent.
NADINE TAVARES WINS MATCH OF THE NIGHT
If there was a Match Of The Night Award to hand out, that would certainly go to the clash between Nadine Tavares (Fight Zone London) and Rosa Walsh (Team FM Cork). These two brown belts threw caution to the wind and had an all-out barn-burner of a match from the very start to the very finish. Too many close submission attempts to count, sweeps, and guard passes, this match had it all. In the end, the judges favored Nadine who had the tightest submission attempts, particularly a very close toe hold at the start of the clash. If you have a Flo account, definitely go watch this match.
– Kevin Corkhill def. Tommy Yip via split decision (U70KG)
– Jorge Valladares def. Josh Cherrington via heel hook
– Paul Lukowski def. Chris Welsh via RNC (U100KG)
– Lee Chadwick def. Ash Fletcher via armlock (U100KG)
– Ellis Younger def. Jan Stach via decision (U80KG)
– Shane Fishman def. Ben Hills via RNC (U90KG)
– Nadine Tavares def. Rosa Walsh via decision (U65KG)
– Matty Holmes def. Kieran Davern via decision (U90KG)
– Pierre-Olivier LeClerc def. Dinu Bucalet via decision (U80KG)
– Tye Ruotolo def. Nick Ronan via decision (U77KG)
– Kade Ruotolo def. Keith Krikorian via decision (U73KG)