JUNE 20, 2021, HOUSTON, TX, USA, set the scenery for one of the biggest professional jiu-jitsu events on this month’s schedule, the Third Coast Grappling which featured a heck of a middleweight Grand Prix in the no-gi ruleset, featuring some of the top grapplers in the world, as well as a few creative additions to the line-up, such as the inclusion of the highly-rated amateur wrestler, Pat Downey, gi specialist Gustavo Batista, and 17-year-old jiu-jitsu phenom Micael Galvão.
TOUGH TESTS FOR IBJJF AND NCAA CHAMPS BATISTA & DOWNEY
Although very commendable in accepting Third Coast Grappling’s invitation, there were question marks as to how well IBJJF world champ Gustavo Batista and NCAA D1 champ Pat Downey would handle the novel grappling rulesets of Third Coast. Batista for his near absence of competitive no-gi experience and Downey for coming from a completely different sport.
On paper, Batista had a far better resume than his first-round opponent, Pedro Henrique Rocha, but matches aren’t found on paper. Stylistically, Rocha is an experienced wrestler with the majority of his success coming in the no-gi scene, attributes that balanced out any paper-thin virtual advantages Gustavo might have walked into the bout with. Indeed, this was a very even match between these two grapplers, Batista playing the role of guard player and Pedro that of guard passer. None did too much attacking and the match went to a referee decision that went to the Double Five athlete. A poor debut in this ruleset for Batista as he is certainly capable of doing a lot more.
Downey faced one of Gracie Barra’s top representatives at the moment, the recent Ulpiano Malachias black belt, Pedro Marinho. Although Marinho’s played professional grappling since his purple belt days, his preference for wrestling exchanges and guard passing attacks had many believe this to be a harder match-up than anticipated. Marinho did start out bating Pat into a wrestling game, making Downey feel as though the young medium-heavyweight wanted to engage in a serious stand-up battle with one of the top wrestlers in the nation. That was, however, strategy.
Once Marinho had Pat moving forward, he pulled guard, attaching himself to a single-X from which he started to attack Downey’s feet. The sequence of attacks earned the Red Shield representative the first submission of the night in under two minutes.
MICA GALVÃO’S STAR CONTINUES TO RISE
We appear to be at a turning point in our sport. For years, the adult black belt division was the only true window towards mainstream jiu-jitsu, but as those barriers are continuously shattered by the more open-minded frame of work used in the submission-only and no-gi circuits, younger athletes and colored belts are showing their worth against the cream of the crop. From Grace Gundrum and Jessa Khan to the Tackett Brothers, the Ruotolo Brothers, Diogo Reis, Nicky Ryan, and more. Out of all these talented teens, one appears to be breaking free from the “peloton”, that person is Micael Galvão.
After a victorious performance at the WNO event on Friday, where he beat the highly-rated Oliver Taza of DDS, Mica returned to competition on Saturday and put on another stupendous display of heart, technical ability as well as physical prowess.
Although Galvão beat Taza at the wrestling game on Friday, Mica opted to play mostly from the bottom against the powerful wrestling of John Combs, Pedro Rocha, and Pedro Marinho. Working from guard pulls the young Manauara managed to tap all three opponents. This is an athlete that has continuously shown an endless supply of flair and athleticism thus far, at this age. Being still years behind his natural physical peak, we can only pray to the grappling gods for Galvão to reach his full potential.
BENAYOUN CONQUERS 155 lb BELT
Ryan Hall’s top student, Adam Benayoun was also on the mats last night against the popular submission-only grappler Jordan Holy for the promotion’s 155 title. Adam had a flawless performance, dominating all corners of the combat arena, overwhelming Holy with pace and technique. Although he did not get to the finish, Benayoun’s point difference caused the end of the match via tech-fall.
– Roberto Jimenez DEF. Adam Bradley via golden score (4×4 in regulation)
– Pedro Marinho DEF. Pat Downey via kneebar
– Adam Benayoun DEF. Jordan Holy via tech fall (12×1)
– Noah Wyatt DEF. Diogo Reis via inside heel hook