One of the toughest divisions in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) tournament, the 99 kilogram (218lbs) division has also the highest number of open weight champions, with 6 out of 10 absolute division winners having originated from this weight category: Zé Mario Sperry (1998), Roberto Traven (1999), Ricardo Arona (2001), Dean Lister (2003), Roger Gracie (2005), Robert Drysdale (2007).
Below is a detailed analysis of the ADCC 99kg division, going through the competitors list for the 2015 tournament, the numbers of past tournaments and more.
There is a lot to be determined in the 99kg division of the ADCC, with many athletes yet to come through. This is the competitor list so far.
1. João Assis (2013 winner)
The current ADCC 99kg champion is hoping to secure his title. Much like Romulo Barral, Assis has been putting much focus on his wrestling, training extensively at the Churchboyz Wrestling, with coach Jacob Harman. This means that we may be looking at a change in the game of the big man from Checkmat’s camp.
2. Felipe Pena (Rio trials winner 88kg)
Dean Lister (invited)
With Dean Lister moving up in weight this year, the opportunity presented itself for Pena to move up in weight. The Rio de Janeiro ADCC trials winner was regarded as one of the top contenders at 88kg, but decided to move up in weight to avoid meeting one of his mentors (Romulo Barral) in the inaugural round of the tournament.
3. Roberto Alencar (Rio trials winner)
Gracie Barra’s very own “Tussa” Alencar is set to make a run for gold at this year’s ADCC. Roberto did not have a good performance at the world’s tournament this year, but certainly left a fantastic impression of himself without the gi at the Rio de Janeiro trials, defeating Rodrigo Cavaca and Marcus Vinicius on his way to the 1st prize.
4. Cássio Francis (Sao Paulo Trials winner)
One of the biggest names in the Brazilian grappling circuit, Francis is not yet very well known among the US crowd. That may change once the talented “Cassão” enters the mats of the 2015 ADCC in August.
5. Jason Bukich (North American Trials winner)
Being a black belt under Baret Yoshida, you can trust Bukich to have a solid knowledge of the no gi game. Not much is known of Jason except that he has won the USA (Florida) trials earlier this year.
6. Tom DeBlass (North American Trials winner)
A tough competitor, through-and-through, DeBlass is a long time veteran of America’s grappling circuit, having also competed extensively in MMA with stints in the UFC and Bellator. Adding to his long list of accomplishments, Tom is also an extraordinary coach with students such as Garry Tonon under his wing. One to lookout for at the ADCC this year.
7. Tobias Green (Asian & Oceania Trials winner)
Green is the Australian 99kg representative. Being a purple belt, not too much is known about the Aussie in the international grappling community, but we are told he has in the guillotine his strongest weapon.
8. Tomasz Narkun (European Trials winner)
Now on his 2nd try at the ADCC gold, Narkun may not be one of the most technical grapplers on the 99kg roster, but what he lacks in technique he makes up for in physicality, killer instinct and stamina. Tomasz has a fantastic MMA record with 10 wins and two losses, all wins having arriving by way of submission, and may pose a threat the some bigger names in the ADCC card.
9. Hector Lombard (invited)
An epic addition to the ADCC, the former judo olympian and MMA star will take part in this year’s tournament. A physical specimen with a phenomenal base and one of the best training camps in the world, Lombard may very well be the dark horse at 99kg.
10. Rodolfo Vieira (invited)
Widely regarded as the number two athlete with a gi, Rodolfo will test his skill once again without the kimono. In 2011 Vieira struggled to adapt to the change in the rhythm of the submission wrestling game, to which a rib injury certainly didn’t help. This time Rodolfo is coming off a lower back injury, but is said to be at 100% ahead of the ADCC. If he is healthy, Rodolfo will be one of the strongest candidates to the gold medal.
11: Alexandre Ribeiro (invited)
One of the biggest names in the history of the sport, “Xande” is the #1 ranked jiu jitsu competitor in the history of the sport, being also a 2 time ADCC champion. Ribeiro returned from retirement this year at the World Championship, winning the heavyweight division and he is set to make history once again by winning his 3rd ADCC.
12. James Friedrich (invited)
One of the top American no gi specialists, “Jimmy” Friedrich has a few strong wins over high level opponents and international experience. Friedrich trains in one of the strongest jiu jitsu camps in the world and likes to attack the feet, he is also one of the fan favorites and is expected to stir the division.
13. Yukiyasu Ozawa (2nd Asian Trials winner)
Yukiyasu Ozawa is a Japanese grappling veteran and former MMA fighter.
14. Kamil Uminski (2nd European Trials winner)
Another strong competitor from Poland, Kamil Uminski is called “the professor” by his Polish grappling peers for his analytic jiu jitsu. Kamil is also a member of the Alliance team.
15. Adam Sachnoff (invited)
Adam is a black belt under Eddie Bravo, and a 10th Planet grappler who had a rampant career in the lower belts of no-gi jiu jitsu. A severe knee injury took him out of the 2013 ADCC event, but Sachnoff is healthy again and ready to test himself at the highest level. With a few “old school” jiu jitsu athletes on the 99kg roster, it will be interesting to watch the clash of 10P system vs some of the more traditional stylists such as Rodolfo or “Xande” as well as the new school of BJJ in Felipe Pena.
16. Lukasz Michalec (invited)
Yet another Polish grappler! The third most well represented country in the tournament, Michalec is another proof of how strong grappling is in this Eastern European country. Staying true to the Polish tradition, Lukasz is very strong and athletic, having in the leg lock game his strongest asset.
One of the most impressive divisions in the ADCC, the 99kg division has the 3rd highest submission rate of the tournament (47.36%) almost identical to the 2nd most accurate division, the 66kg who have 48%. 2011 was a historic year for the 218 pounders, with the most submissions seen to date on the tournament, an astounding 11 finishes out of 16 matches (68.75%).
The “King of Footlocks” Dean Lister has the most submissions in the division, a total of 9 (5 of those by heel hook) while Roger Gracie was the only man to submit all his opponents on the way to the top (2005).
The numbers don’t stop here, as Alexandre Ribeiro has had his hand raised more times than any other at 99kg. A total of 14 wins in the division, exactly as many victories as his brother Saulo who dominated the division below.
99kg submission pie chart.
Armbar (x7), Mata leao/RNC (x7), Straight Ankle Lock (x2), Choke (x4), Darce choke (x2), Estima lock (1x), Footlock (x1), Guillotine (x1), Heel Hook (x6), Verbal Tao/Injury (x2), Inverted triangle (x1), Kimura (x1), Kneebar (x1), Mounted triangle (x1), Omoplata (x1), Submission (x1), Triangle (x3), Triangle-armbar (x1)
1998 ADCC Champion – Zé Mario Sperry
⅛ Final: Muhammad Saleh (points)
¼ Final: Larry Parker (armbar)
Semi: Renato Verissimo (choke)
Final: Ricardo Alves (5×0)
2000 ADCC Champion – Ricardo Arona
⅛ Final: R. H. Kanehara (kneebar)
¼ Final: Kareem Barkalev (points)
Semi: Tito Ortiz (2×0)
Final: Jeff Monson (penalty)
2003 ADCC Champion – Olav Einemo
⅛ Final: Brandon Vera (choke)
¼ Final: Larry Papadopoulos (choke)
Semi: Roger Gracie (2×0)
Final: Alexandre “Cacareco” (submission)