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All You Need To Know About ADCC 66KG Division

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2022 will be the year grappling fans celebrate the 14th edition of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, also known as the ADCC, a biannual event that is regarded as the most prestigious no-gi jiu jisu/submission wrestling tournament on the planet. This article will go through the lightest division of the ADCC, the 66 kilograms (145.5 lbs) weight category, the competitors, the champions, and the numbers.

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Click Here For ADCC 2022 66KG Competitor List

Click Here For ADCC 66KG Division Stats

MALE -66 KG CHALLENGERS LIST

(click on athlete’s names for full bio and pro-grappling record)

ASHLEY WILLIAMS (UK) – Euro 1 Trials Winner

The USA and Brazilian fans may not be aware of this young man just yet, but chances are they will be talking about him after the big show. In our eyes, one of the most underrated grapplers on the planet right now, Ash Williams has an excellent style for the ADCC and is a very competent grappler with recent wins over Keith Krikorian, Paulo Miyao, Thiago Macedo, and Ethan Crelinsten to name a few. Definitely keep your eyes on this Welsh talent.

SAM MCNALLY (IRE) – Euro 2 Trials Winner

Ireland’s McNally is aggressive and loves to play for the finish, holding a 60% submission ratio as a black belt, at the time of writing this report. He is also one of the lesser-known names on this card and substantially less experienced than the heavy hitters of this 145 lbs division.

COLE ABATE (USA) – East Coast Trials Winner

The dark horse of the race is the AOJ team’s 17YO purple belt, Cole Abate, a phenom in our sport who took the East Coast trials by storm last November, dominating the 66-kg division with incredible guard work and quick back takes. He should not be taken lightly and could very well take home the tournament’s gold medal, which would make him the youngest athlete to ever accomplish this task.

KEITH KRIKORIAN (USA) – West Coast Trials Winner

This division will, most likely be a pleasure to watch, and much of that enjoyment will come from watching Krikorian perform at the big show. A veteran of the ADCC, Krikorian is a submission artist at heart and you can always count on him to keep the ball rolling. Solid wrestling, great lower-limb submissions, and movement are some of Keith’s traits.

DIOGO REIS (BRA) – Brazil 1 Trials Winner

In a division filled with featherweights and lightweights, in comes light-featherweight contender Diogo Reis, AKA Baby Shark. What Reis lacks in size he makes up for in mobility, speed, and fight IQ. Make no mistake, Reis will be at a sizeable disadvantage framewise on game day, but don’t sleep on this young man, his strategy is always on point and he is particularly dangerous when working from a top position.

FABRICIO ANDREY (BRA) – Brazil 2 Trials Winner

The lack of a heel-hooking game has been somewhat of a critique of the American audience when addressing the new wave of Brazilian talent that is currently emerging from coach Melqui Galvão’s Manaus academy, but how much does that actually matter if you can use superior takedowns and keep your legs at bay when passing? This seems to be one of the big strengths of “Hokage”, who is also one of the most dynamic athletes in the division and one we hope to see plenty of at the tournament.

JEREMY SKINNER (AUS) – Oceania & Asia Trials Winner

When it comes to style of play, Skinner is the complete antithesis of the aforementioned Fabricio Andrey. A savage heel hook hunter, Jeremy has made his career attacking people’s feet and doing so successfully. Traditionally this is a hard game to play in the ADCC ruleset, so time will tell how far the Aussie star can make it in Las Vegas. If he does make it all the way through, expect to see a lot of people limping out of their matches with Jeremy.

KENNEDY MACIEL (BRA) – Invited

Traditionally, the ADCC’s last champion is invited to the following edition of the big show. Sadly, Augusto Tanquinho has retired from the competition and will not be available. In his place, the promotion has called upon Kennedy Maciel, Tanquinho’s challenger during 2019’s final.

Maciel has had a rough year in the gi thus far, losing in the first round of the IBJJF Pans and World Championships, while also losing the final of the Brazilian Nationals and semi-final of the American Nationals. The ADCC could have some elements of redemption for the young Brazilian athlete who is always dangerous and always comes prepared. Arguably the best strategist in the division.

GABRIEL SOUSA (BRA) – Invited

Much like Kennedy Maciel, 2022 has been a tough competitive year for Gabriel Sousa who is currently 2-3-0 at the pro-level this season. That said, even in his losses, Sousa never looked out of place, he came prepared and sold his losses at a high cost. Always be a tough competitor, Sousa is Dynamic, strong, fast and an excellent guard passer. He will be a headache for the less athletic competitors in the division.

ETHAN CRELINSTEN (CAN) – Invited

Despite being a superb leg-locker and back taker, Crelinsten is still attempting to make a big stand in the sport at a world class event. His talent is certainly capable of more therefore we are excited to watch the B-Team player return to the biggest stage in grappling since his first and only attempt back in 2017. Ethan has battled with injuries for some time and has only recently (July 2022) returned to competition after a year long hiatus due to knee surgery.

GEO MARTINEZ (USA) – Invited

A regular presence in the ADCC’s 145 lbs division since 2015 is 10th Planet Freak’s team leader, Geo Martinez. Despite being nearly impossible to submit and always entertaining to watch, this will be his 4th attempt at ADCC gold, with his current record in the tournament being at 3-4-0. It is not unimaginable to see Martinez make it all the way through, but the odds are certainly stacked against the 35 year old.

DIEGO “PATO” OLIVEIRA (BRA) – Invited

One of the most astute students of the game, Diego Pato has plenty of attributes that make him a solid bet in this division, despite him being on the smaller side for this weight class and lacking in the wrestling department. The key for Oliveira here is timing, getting ahead on the scoreboard and not allowing the savvier wrestlers to take him to overtime. If he plays the strategy right, as he has in the past, the sky is the limit for this young man.

RUAN ALVARENGA (BRA) – Invited

A complete enigma in the division is Ruan Alvarenga, an athlete that has shown a tremendous amount of talent in the past, particularly during his brown belt career, but who has remained fairly inactive for the past 17 months. Alvarenga is very strong for his size, fast, has tremendous flair and a submission game to boot. That said it is very hard to make predictions on his performance given how long he’s been absent from the sport’s competitive arena.

AJ AGAZARM (USA) – Invited

Grappling veteran and former silver medalist AJ Agazarm is ready for another shot at ADCC gold, returning to the 66-kg division after an attempt for the 77-kg spot at the West Coast Trials. We truly feel Agazarm is very well suited for this weight class where he will be stronger than most, incredibly hard to submit and just as hard to score on. This, allied with his experience make Agazarm a strong challenger.

JOSH CISNEROS (USA) – Invited

On paper, Cisneros has it all. The athleticism, the skill, and – one could say – the experience, with over 40 matches under his black belt. Cisneros made headlines during his first year as a black belt (2020) in the gi circuit by winning the American Nationals and the Pan American Championships but has since struggled to repeat achievements of similar worth despite getting extremely close on a fair few occasions. The ADCC could be the perfect setting to break this near 2 year jinx for the talented American athlete.

GARRY TONON (USA) – Invited

One of the most dynamic athletes to ever grace the ADCC mats, Tonon has been a part of many important matches in the promotion’s history, including his clashes with Kron Gracie, Renato Canuto, Dante Leon, to mention a few. Although he is the current bronze medalist at 77KG, Tonon’s 2022 campaign will take place in the lighter weight class which makes him one of the stronger and larger athletes on deck come game day.

Tonon is incredibly hard to score on, has a solid positional game and is a submission hunter at heart with heaps of experience under this ruleset. All these attributes combined certainly place him among the top 3 favorites to the gold medal.


ADCC’S 66-KILOGRAM DIVISION BY THE NUMBERS

In this segment of the ADCC 66-Kilogram division, we bring you a few important stats from the past ADCC World Championships in an attempt to celebrate the legends of our sport while also presenting a few of the current game meta. Meaning, what the new generation of grappling is doing at the highest level under this ADCC ruleset, as it is widely regarded as the most complete and inclusive of all submission-wrestling promotions.

MOST MATCHES IN ADCC 66KG HISTORY

Recently inducted to the ADCC Hall Of Fame for his incredible achievements in this division, 2x silver medal Baret Yoshida is the athlete with the most matches at 66 kg (21), he is also the only 145.5 lbs athlete to have competed twice in the open-weight class of the promotion AND to compete in 10 different ADCC World Championships.

MOST SUBS IN ADCC 66KG HISTORY

Two of the finest submission artists to have ever graced the ADCC mats, 2x silver medal Baret Yoshida & 1998 champion Alexandre “Soca” have conquered the match-ending submission nine times (9) in the 66-kg division.

BEST GOLD MEDAL RUN

1998’s run by Alexandre Soca remains the only one where the champion achieved 100% of wins via submission. There is, however, a small caveat here as this first ADCC tournament was set between 8 contestants, unlike the following years that were set at 16. In this new era of the tournament, 2009’s Rafael Mendes gold medal race was the best with 3 submissions out of 4.

TOTAL SUBMISSIONS AT 66KG

The 66-kilogram division had a total of 67 submissions over the course of its 13 world championship tournaments, taking an average submission rate of 32%. The second highest submission count across all 5 male ADCC divisions.

ADCC MACROS AT 66-KILOGRAMS

POSITIONAL STATS EXPLAINED, please note that the stats presented below were taken from a deep study performed by BJJ Heroes over the 2015, 2017, and 2019 events of the ADCC World Championships. The data on the positional grappling exchanges here published account solely for solidified positions. Near attempts were not taken into consideration in this study, nor were the open-weight divisions as the purpose of these stats was to attempt to pinpoint the different dynamics of modern-day submission-grappling in each division and ascertain any divergences between weight classes.

TAKEDOWNS

The 66-kg weight class is the division with the least takedown count when compared to all others, with just 10 throws over the past 3 editions which are 9 instances below the tournament average (19). The division also saw the highest number of guard pulls.

The original photo on this graphic was taken by Lisa Albon at the 2019 ADCC World Championships.

SWEEPS

The guard truly is the featherweights’ preferred game, a sentiment that transpires through the data as it displays the division with the most successful attempts at sweeping with 35 instances over the past 3 editions of the ADCC. This amounts to 40% of the overall sweeps in the whole tournament and is 19 sweeps above the ADCC’s average.

PAULO MIYAO is the athlete with the most sweeps in the ADCC World Championships (10) over the past 3 editions of the tournament with twice as many sweeps as the #2 sweeper, Craig Jones, at 88 kg.

Paulo Miyao is also ranked #2 across the whole tournament’s weight classes in relation to back takes with 6 instances of back control, making Miyao the best sweeper of the tournament and the second-best back taker. Most definitely one of the busiest athletes in the tournament’s history.

The original photo on this graphic was taken by Lisa Albon at the 2019 ADCC World Championships.

GUARD PASSES

The 66-kg division has the second-lowest guard pass percentage in the tournament (10), just closely surpassing the 77-kg division by one single guard pass. These statistics are further evidence of how important the bottom game is for the 145 lbs weight class.

The original photo on this graphic was taken by GrappleTv at the 2019 ADCC World Championships.

BACK TAKES

The highest percentage of back takes in the ADCC tournament could show once again how important the bottom game is for the 145-pounders, but it doesn’t! An interesting side of this statistic is that the majority of these back takes were conquered from either a passing attempt (turtling to defend) or from a takedown scramble (81%). So, although the speed and flexibility of the featherweights may prove to be highly efficient at keeping the guard pass at bay, that same speed is used to reach the back from near passing attempts.

The original photo on this graphic was taken by Lisa Albon at the 2019 ADCC World Championships.

RUBENS CHARLES COBRINHA was the most accurate back taker of the tournament when taking into account the past 3 editions of the ADCC World Championships (2015, 2017, and 2019) with 7 instances of successful back control. Cobrinha was closely followed by Paulo Miyao with 6 back controls.

Original cover photo was taken by Lisa Albon at the 2019 ADCC World Championships.

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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