A busy weekend for jiu-jitsu enthusiasts around the world is June 18-to-20th, 2021, a period that will feature the 1st edition of the IBJJF’s Oklahoma City Open, Fight 2 Win’s 174th professional event, WNO’s 10th as well as Third Coast Grappling’s outstanding Middleweight Grand Prix. All solid cards with plenty of interesting matchups.
If you don’t have the time to watch all events, Third Coast Grappling may very well be the best “bang for buck” as it is only $9.99 with FITE.TV and it features a whole lot of talent. The event will also start with one hour of free prelims matches on the channel between local talent.
The 15K cash prize Third Coast Grappling put on the line for the winner certainly attracted plenty of big names of our sport. Thankfully, the many options at the disposal of the event’s matchmakers did not end up in a “usual suspects” type line-up. Instead, this is one of the most out-of-the-box planned tournaments of the year, while keeping the consistent quality for which the show is known.
Among the peculiar elements of this event is the inclusion of Pat Downey, one of the most recognizable faces in America’s wrestling circuit. An NCAA D1 champion in folkstyle and a Dave Schultz Memorial, US Open, and US World Team Trials champion in freestyle, Downey has been making surgical appearances in the no-gi jiu-jitsu scene, possibly trying to gain experience for a future run at MMA. He is currently 1-1 in pro-BJJ and has been training for some time at Fight Sports and at Vagner Rocha’s gym, so expect constant improvements from the formidable raw talent that he already presents.
Also interesting is the appearance of Gustavo Batista (82-13-0) of the Atos Academy in this event. Batista – or Braguinha as he is known in BJJ – is one of the most dangerous medium-heavyweight jiu-jitsu athletes on the planet with the gi, but we have not seen him compete in no-gi as of yet. Can he be as capable in this new setting? 3CG will answer that soon.
Other interesting additions to the event are Adam Bradley (also of Atos) and Micael Galvão. Bradley will be making his black belt debut after a very fruitful career in the colored belt divisions, while Mica… Well, we guess you might have heard of him. 17-YO Micael is one of the rising stars in the sport, who’s gained plenty of notoriety as of late, since arriving in the USA. That being said, he will be a very busy young man this weekend, considering he is fighting Oliver Taza only the day before Third Coast’s GP, at the Who’s Number One event in Austin, TX.
ROBERTO JIMENEZ X ADAM BRADLEY
A tough first round for the debut of Bradley, but certainly a match within range for the young up and comer. Jimenez will have a big advantage in experience, however, Roberto is not the type of player that adheres to tactics and cunningness when he competes. He is a berserker at heart and berserker is what you should expect if you were Adam. A solid match-up, though the upper hand is on Roberto’s side.
PAT DOWNEY X PEDRO MARINHO
Another great match-up on paper. Marinho traditionally does his best work from a passing stance or while transitioning from the stand-up to the ground, that may very well be a hard tactic to play against Pat, who will be above and beyond what most jiu-jitsu athletes bring to the table standing. There is a likelihood that Marinho will have to play from his back in this one, hopefully for him, he’s been working hard on that side of his game.
The most fun match of the first 4, on paper, is Galvão (4-1-0) vs Combs (67-48-0). Both these guys only have forward gears in their games and have proven to be incapable of being in a boring match. They are also known for being very able from a standing position (edge for combs there) as well as from the bottom (advantage Micael here). A barn burner in the making, with the momentum edging towards Mica.
So many puzzles to solve in this match. Batista’s no-gi game is a complete mystery from the bottom, given how reliant he is on his sleeve-and-pant control when competing with the gi. If he finds his way to a top position, we are pretty sure it will be a whole lot of pressure passing heading Pedro’s way.
Rocha is well known for his guillotine and his takedown ability, so a solid test to assess where Braguinha’s no-gi skills are at the moment.
DIOGO REIS X NOAH WYATT
A solid challenge for Diego Reis here, who will be making his no-gi debut as a black belt. Reis is a student of Melqui Galvão who is seen as one of the future stars of the rooster-weight division. He will have his hands full against Wyatt, a purple belt with tons of experience without the gi, who is also larger than the Manauara.