On August 30th, 2015 we will find out who will replace Kron Gracie as the king of the ADCC at 77 kilograms (169.7lbs). The ADCC or Abu Dhabi Combat Club is a biannual grappling tournament, which is regarded as the most important competition in the no-gi jiu jitsu and submission wrestling world. The tournament rules vary greatly from the more standardized jiu jitsu competitions (IBJJF), with it’s unique scoring system and a more varied allowance in the submission department, embracing most styles in the grappling world.
In this article we will go through the 77kg division of the ADCC, one of grappling’s most exciting categories. We will go through the competitors list, the champions, and of course the numbers.
List of grapplers due to participate in the 2015 edition of the ADCC, a tournament that will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on the 29 and 30th of August. With the current champion Kron Gracie out of this year’s tournament to focus on his MMA career, the 77kg division is up for grabs. Who will take it?
1. Otavio Sousa (pending invitation)
Sousa is the 2013 ADCC runner-up and 2x IBJJF middleweight world champion, accolades that make him one of the strongest candidates to this year’s gold medal.
2. Garry Tonon (invited)
Always scrappy, Tonon is the american fan favorite. Commonly known as one of the toughest men to submit in the division, Garry’s jiu jitsu has a good mix of wrestling and leg attacks, typical of John Danaher’s students. Tonon will also have his original coach competing this year in a different weight class (Tom DeBlass).
3. Davi Ramos (Rio Trials winner)
A powerful athlete, Davi Ramos is a toe hold and knee bar specialist, who learned grappling from one of the very best. He has, for the past few years, been concentrated on his MMA career, but the veteran Top Brother black belt seems to be back to his roots after a great start of the year at the European and ADCC Rio trials.
4. Gabriel Rollo (Sao Paulo Trials winner)
One of the most active lightweights in jiu jitsu throughout 2015, Checkmat‘s “Palito” has a lot to offer to this division and proved it this year with a tremendous performance at the ADCC trials in Sao Paulo. He has also medalled this year at the European, Abu Dhabi World Pro and World Championship.
5. Vagner Rocha (North American Trials winner)
One of the veterans in the US grappling circuit, particularly in the state of Florida, the former UFC fighter and Fightsports team member has won the US trials and is set to make himself noticed at the ADCC.
6. Enrico Cocco (North American Trials winner)
Another veteran from the US, Cocco has been around the no gi jiu jitsu scene since his mid teens, when he became known as one of the hottest prospects of the sport. Though his career fell somewhat short of what was expected from a man of his talent, Enrico Cocco has remained active and is once again testing his skill in the ADCC.
7. JT Torres (invited)
One of the strong candidates for a gold medal this year, JT Torres has been among the top lightweights in jiu jitsu for 6 years. Seen as a major figure in the Atos San Diego camp, Torres will be one of the names to take notice in Sao Paulo.
8. Lucas Lepri (pending invitation)
One of the most dominant lightweights in jiu jitsu since his arrival at the black belt division in 2007, Lepri has in his passing game his strongest asset, and is seen as one of the top candidates for gold this year.
9. Lachlan Giles (Asian Trials winner)
Lachlan is an Australian representative of the ADCC, who won the Asian trials. Giles is an active competitor in his home country, though not much is known about the Aussie in the world wide circuit.
10. Gamrot Mateusz (European Trials winner)
Gamrot is a contender from Poland, who’s also undefeated in mixed martial arts. Another strong athlete produced in Poland, a country that is rapidly establishing itself as one of the strongest grappling nations in Europe.
11. Ben Henderson (invited)
The former UFC lightweight champion returns to the ADCC after a decent run in 2013. “Smooth” has a very strong base and a slick submission game, especially from the top, being arguably the most durable athlete in the division.
12. Dillon Danis (invited)
Marcelo Garcia’s pupil is set from great things, with and without the gi. Although Dillon is one of the youngest competitors in the event, he makes up for his lack of experience with a wealth of talent, and may be a dark horse in this division.
13. Gilbert Burns (invited)
No adjectives needed for this man. One of the top grapplers of his generation, “Durinho” has been dedicated to MMA since his 2011 win of the IBJJF world championship. Although this UFC fighter has been focussing in a different sport, don’t count the man from Niteroi out. His jiu jitsu is as sharp as anyone’s in the 77kg division, and he is one of the strongest candidates to the podium.
14. Abdulkadirov Magomed (2nd European Trials winner)
Tried and tested, Magomed has been involved in grappling all his life, competing in sambo, wrestling, jiu jitsu, submission wrestling and MMA. A tough opponent to anyone on the roster.
15. Noh Young-Ahm (2nd Asian Trials winner)
A very experienced Korean grappler, Noh has been competing since 2002. The Asian trials winner is not expected to go too far in the competition which leaves very little pressure to perform.
16. AJ Agazarm (invited)
One of the most exciting lightweights to watch, the former college wrestler and BJJ black belt, AJ Agazarm has been given a much awaited chance to compete at the ADCC, following his 2013 run. AJ did the American trials earlier this year, but struggling with a shoulder injury he did not succeed. He has now been invited by the ADCC organization.
Many consider the 77kg division the most exciting category in grappling, and they are not far off. With different rules from the standard BJJ tournament, the athletes are weighed in the day before the event, opening this division to the lightweights (who will struggle to drop 10kg to the next category down) and IBJJF middleweights (82kg) who usually can make the cut for weigh-ins. It just so happens that historically, these two have been the most talent dense divisions in jiu jitsu, and the numbers reflect just that.
The 77kg division has the most matches fought since the tournament started (124) and also the best submission rate in the ADCC, a staggering 52.4% S.R. (65 subs).
It will not come as a surprise to many that Marcelo Garcia came out as the king of the division, when analyzing the data. The Alliance prodigy won in every front:
Marcelo also submitted all his opponents on his way to gold in 2007, this impressive run was only matched by two other legendary athletes: Jean Jacques Machado in 1999 (4 rear naked chokes) and Kron Gracie (2013). You can see all the champion’s runs for gold below.
If the heel hook is often talked about as one of the most feared submissions in grappling, the 77 kg division stays true to the motto “position > submission” with the most accurate submission being the rear naked choke (24), the guillotine was the distant second (12) with more than half of those guillotines coming from the aforementioned Marcelo Garcia.
Mata leao/RNC (x24), Guillotine (x12), Armbar (x7), Undetermined submission (x5), Calf slicer (x1), Choke (x1), Ezekiel (x1), Flying armbar (x1), Heel hook (x2), Katagatame (x1), Kneebar (x1), Toe hold (x2), Triangle (x2), Wristlock (x1), North south choke (x1)
1998 ADCC Champion – Renzo Gracie
⅛ Final: Frank Trigg (referee decision)
¼ Final: Rodrigo Modrias (3×0)
Semi: Fabiano Iha (3×0)
Final: Luis Brito (guillotine)
1999 ADCC Champion – Jean Jacques Machado
⅛ Final: Ryan Harvey (RNC)
¼ Final: Micah Pittman (RNC)
Semi: Hayato Sakurai (RNC)
Final: Caol Uno (RNC)