Set for this upcoming weekend (July 17, 2021) is the “Road To ADCC” a grappling event geared to promote the ADCC ruleset, one of the most unique sets of guidelines in the jiu-jitsu world. Among the many variations from the more standardized jiu-jitsu rules the most foreign to keep in mind are: The inability to pull guard (guard puller gets a negative point), different points for how an athlete finishes his takedowns (side control or guard), and reversals scoring points (not just sweeps). This is also one of the toughest rulesets to score, given the leeway for continued scrambles.
The wide-ranging concept of the ADCC has brought non-jiu-jitsu specialists to the tournament’s mats in the past, from judokas to wrestlers and sambo specialists. It is known as one of the most inclusive of all submission-grappling rulesets and one that is designed to produce the absolute best grappler, not just the best at playing the rules.
In the absence of the ADCC World Championships – which were originally set for September 2021 – due to the current COVID19 pandemic, the event was postponed to 2022. In its place, as an appetizer for the big show, the tournament’s promoter, Mo Jasim, put together this exciting super-fight card with the assistance of FloGrappling (where the event will be streamed). Although very similar to the rules applied in any ADCC final, there will be one difference between these matches and those of the tournament as no overtime rounds will be applied. In case of a draw, the match will be decided by the judges.
Now on to the matches:
Although neither of these gentlemen has competed in the ADCC finals tournament, this is without a doubt one of the most fun matches to be made in the new generation of medium-heavyweights. Jimenez and Wiltse are forward-moving grapplers who are not fond of defensive strategies. Time will tell if this is an approach either will be forced to reassess further ahead in their careers, but for now, fans couldn’t get a better match-up than this. A berserker clash ahead.
Expect Wiltse to try and find Jimenez’s feet, an aspect of the game Roberto has struggled with in the past. The Studio 76 grappler, on the other hand, will be looking to attack the back from a scramble, or his dangerous triangles from full guard.
Some athletes are built to compete as regularly as possible, this is the case with Canada’s Dante Leon. After going 25-6-0 in 2019, Dante was forced to keep his tournament experience to a minimum, with only 7 matches in 2020 (4-3-0), and, as we approach the second half of 2021, his yearly record currently stands at 0-1-0. This is a considerable descent for someone who was, arguably, one of the top 5 middleweights in the world only 18 months ago.
Facing Dante will be one of DDS’s rising figures, Nicky Ryan. An athlete who is very much the exact contrast of Leon, known for not competing very regularly and seldomly in a tournament set-up.
Praised by his training partners as one of the most talented members of the crew, Nicky is yet to make a definitive statement in the pro-circuit, though his stock is certainly on the rise through his recent wins over PJ Barch and Gabriel Almeida. A dominant victory over Leon – his most accomplished challenger to date – would certainly put Ryan on the right path towards the top of the division, however, if Dante comes in prepared, this could prove to be a very tough task to perform.
One of the most recent additions to the no-gi circuit is Mikey Musumeci, America’s most successful gi grappler of all time. The Road to ADCC will be Musumeci’s debut under the ADCC rules and his 4th straight no-gi clash.
Facing Mikey will be one of the most successful products of the 10th Planet stable. A grappler who has done it all, and done it well, Geo Martinez. The 10th Planet Oceanside leader has only entered the mat on 3 occasions since his last ADCC performance, but all his opponents were top-tier athletes. He is clearly in good shape and should pose Musumeci’s toughest no-gi test to date.
Both competitors can play well from the bottom and the top, and both have killer instinct in abundance. A very even match-up across the board. One of the puzzles here will be regarding the guard pull. None of these men is known for their takedowns, so we expect someone to pull guard. That person will very likely start the match with a negative point due to the aforementioned ruleset, which may play a big factor in the end result.
One of the coolest match-ups on the card. Ana Carolina has been a powerful and dominant force in the middleweight division with the gi but showed plenty of potential in the no-gi ruleset, particularly at the last ADCC World Championships.
Although the more accomplished of the two athletes on paper, Ana will not be seen as the favorite by many. That is down to how far Clay has come this past year. Elisabeth has proven to be very dangerous from all angles, but particularly from the guard as she combines power, skill, and dexterity like no other female athlete right now.
Expect Vieira to play from the top, trying to apply her pressure passing, and Clay to work from the bottom, using her flexible guard and very dangerous lower limb attacks to put Ana in check. A solid style clash for fans of the sport.
The up-and-comer versus the current ADCC bronze medalist. Originally set up as a match between Barbosa and Craig Jones, the Hulk will now face Brazilian Fight Factory’s Tackett due to a training injury by Craig.
Tackett and Barbosa met late last year at the SUBVERSIV tournament final, a meeting that resulted in a definitive win for Lucas at the time. The Atos front-man has since gone 16-2-0 against some of the top athletes in our sport, William, on the other hand, has gone 3-3-0 against similar level opposition.
Although styles make fights, it is reasonable to assume Lucas is the favorite here. He is more experienced, bigger, and has a win over William already. That said, Rodrigo Cabral’s pupil is prone to upsets with wins over Tex Johnson, Fellipe Andrew, and Manuel Ribamar. He is no easy task.
The main event will be that of ADCC’s 88-kilogram champion, Matheus Diniz, versus the current +99-kilogram ADCC gold medalist Kaynan Duarte. The size difference tells a lot of the tale here.
Duarte is coming in as the favorite, and much of that favoritism does fall down on the size disparity, but not just that. Duarte is incredibly versatile, just as comfortable working from the top as he is working from the bottom, and should be regarded as one of the top 5 Pound-4-Pound no-gi athletes in the sport. Nevertheless, no one is unbeatable in this game.
Diniz is certainly the scrappier of the two and his road to victory should be to turn this match into a scrap. Push the pace, and not allow Duarte to slow the match to his pace. Not an easy feat in a 20-minute match, but certainly at Diniz’s grasp.