SATURDAY – AUGUST 31, 2019, Manchester, England was the perfect setting for another edition of the Polaris Invitational, the United Kingdom’s prime professional jiu-jitsu organization. For their 11th event, Polaris set their first female main event bout, a spectacular match-up between Welsh talent Ffion Davies and the Brazilian world champion Talita Alencar, a rematch from their previous bout two years ago at EBI.
In the main card, special reference to Liam Cann of the Scramble Brand Academy in Leeds, England. Cann came in as a late replacement for Marc Diakese against MMA veteran Cris Fishgold. With little to lose, Liam arrived and put on a real grappling show, forcing the action with a very unorthodox grappling flair that had the fans at the edge of their seats.
Also on the card, we had high expectations for the co-main event match-up between Edwin Najmi vs Mansher Khera but unfortunately, the match did not provide the excitement we were hoping for. Najmi started extremely well, taking the back of Khera and sinking an RNC that looked dangerous. Khera survived and re-set in guard, and from then on the match was a stalemate, with Edwin avoiding/disengaging from Mansher’s guard. We waited nearly 10 minutes to see a bit of action once again, when Najmi “returned” to the match, with two very nice knee-tap takedowns. In the end, a decision win for “The Kid” (Najmi), but not a memorable performance. In his post-fight interview, Edwin mentioned that he had to play the clock due to the Polaris 15 minute match rule, which made it hard to keep a strong pace throughout the full duration of the match.
On the main event, both Talita Alencar and Ffion davies battled for the 55 kilogram Polaris title, and what a show they put on. Absolute barn burner! Scramble after scramble, pressure pass attempt after pressure pass attempt, Ffion looked to wear Alencar down, a strategy that paid dividends after the 5-minute mark as Talita started fading. Not one to give up, ever, Talita survived the many dangerous positions she was on, to the end but lost in a decision. Beautiful performance by these two athletes. Hopefully, we will see them battle once again in the future.
Liam Cann def. Chris Fishgold by decision
Welterweight [77.1 kg NOGI]
Nicky Rod def. Ben Dyson by decision
Catchweight [103,00 kg NOGI]
Arya Esfandmaz vs Satoshi Ishii canceled bout
Catchweight [110,00 kg NOGI]
Steven Ray def. Paddy Pimblett by inside heel-hook
Welterweight (77.1 kg) NOGI
Polaris has made a bit of a tradition of having spectacular prelims bouts, and this 11th edition did indeed bring a few bright matches. The most jaw-dropping performance we witnessed tonight was that of brown belt Tarik Hopstock of Norway, who was facing the mega-tough Vitor Estima black belt Sean McDonagh. Hopstock made it look easy, locking up his trademark shoulder lock the Tarikoplata from the guard, finishing from the top. A beautiful movement, certainly worthy of a highlight reel.
Another beautiful performance was that of Lloyd Cooper, highly dynamic and forward-moving as he has done in previous Polaris showings. We hope to see him and Hopstock go at it at a future Polaris event, given how much these men love their offense.
On a negative note, we had high hopes for Yas Wilson vs Kristin Mikkelson, given how much of an offensive competitor Mikkelson tends to be. Unfortunately, the young American was drawn into Wilson’s 50-50 web, and the match ended up being a very tedious and uneventful affair.
Jed Hue def. Nastasa Silviu by injury
Open weight [NOGI]
Lloyd Cooper def. Matty Holmes by inside heel-hook
Catchweight [85,00 kg NOGI]
Marcus Phelan def. Tommi Pulkkanen by decision
Catchweight [74,00 kg GI]
Adam Adshead def. Enrique Villasenor by decision
Catchweight [64,00 kg GI]
Tarik Hopstock def. Sean McDonagh by Tarikoplata
Catchweight [80,00 kg NOGI]
Yas Wilson def. Kristin Mikkelson by decision
Catchweight [60,00 kg GI]
Fred Greenall def. Kieran Davern by submission
Middleweight [83.9 kg NOGI]