OCTOBER 24, 2021, PHOENIX, AZ, USA. In one of the most eventful jiu-jitsu weekends in recent memory, it was Third Coast Grappling who shined brightest in one of the best cards of the year. With prize money of 10,000 US dollars, the 3rd Coast Grappling promotion hoped to draw the attention of some of the sport’s top pro-athletes, and that it did.
Streamed on the FITE.TV website, the 3CG Middleweight Tournament brought forth a mix of gritty MMA veterans such as Jake Shields, NCAA D1 wrestlers – namely Pat Downey and Geno Morelli, and submission-only veterans such as John Danaher‘s Oliver Taza as well as 10th Planet’s Erik Anderson and Andy Varela. Alongside these stars of the combat sports world were IBJJF World Champions Renato Canuto, Jeferson Guaresi, and Estevan Martinez – the brave rooster weight who came in to challenge the bigger boys.
The unique set of rules set forth by Third Coast Grappling presented a challenge for everyone on the mats, at times this included the referees who appeared confused in a fair few episodes throughout the tournament. This was when looking from the outside, the biggest issue with the event as the matches themselves were very entertaining from top to bottom. Nevertheless, these refereeing shortcomings might have cost Pat Downing a fairer shot at the title, considering he did appear to beat Jake Shields fair and square in the golden-score round of the quarter-finals – points that were not awarded to the NCAA veteran.
E PLURIBUS UNUM
The famous Latin motto likely captures Renato Canuto‘s performance last night better than 1000 words. With so many big names on the 3CG stage last night, predicting who the victor would be was no easy task, and although Canuto was certainly among the favorites, he had a lot going against him, the biggest handicap being his size.
Traditionally a lightweight athlete (165 lbs), Canuto faced competitors with a 20-35 lbs weight advantage. Also against Renato was the fact that he’s only had 2 no-gi matches in nearly two years, having focussed on the gi from early 2020. These predicaments were of no consequence for Checkmat athlete who showed up confident and ready to take on the world.
With beautiful jiu-jitsu and a couple of highlight-reel-worthy submissions – particularly his flying armbar over former UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields – Canuto made it to the final where he met the current world no-gi medium-heavyweight champion, Jeferson Guaresi.
Canuto and Guaresi had a beautiful war with plenty of scrambles but no points on the scoreboard. In the end, particularly in the overtime round, Canuto showed more vigor and more willingness to engage, an attitude that earned him the judge’s nod.
– Jeferson Guaresi def. Kemoy Henderson via tech-fall (11×0)
– Renato Canuto def. Thiago Aso via estima lock
– Andy Varela def. Gabriel de la Santos via tech-fall (13×0)
– Aaron Wilson def. Estevan Martinez via golden score (0x0 in regulation time)
– Hunter Newton def. Erik Anderson via tech-fall (15×0)
– Pat Downey def. Geno Morelli via golden score (7×0 regulation time)
– Oliver Taza def. Adrian Nez via golden score (2×0 regulation time)
– Jake Shields def. Eric Alequin via tech-fall (11×0)
– Jeferson Guaresi def. Andy Varela via decision (0x0 regulation time)
– Renato Canuto def. Aaron Wilson via golden score (4×0 regulation time)
– Oliver Taza def. Hunter Newton via straight ankle lock
– Jake Shields def. Pat Downey via decision (0x0 regulation time)
– Jeferson Guaresi def. Oliver Taza via golden score (5×0 regulation time)
– Andrew Slater def. Christian Guzman via golden score (2×0 regulation)
– Willie Audifire def. Scott Hoddick via inside heel hook
– Oscar de los Santos def. Albe Tremblay via darce choke
– Jose Munoz def. Tiki Aquino via tech-fall (12×0)
– Dan Dykeman def. Sean Kicka via reverse triangle
– Antonio Ruiz def. Ryan Cramer via straight ankle lock
– Josh Rodriguez def. Anthony Birchak via golden score
– Lucas Norat def. Nathan Hagberg via golden score (4×4 regulation time)
– Richard Alvarez def. Gerson Atoigue via tech-fall (12×0) ** gi match**
– Paul Nava def. Jay Shellhammer via golden score ** gi match**