Metamoris II takes place tomorrow June 9 in Los Angeles, the action starts up 4 pm PST. Bloody Elbow will have complete live coverage. Here is a link to the stream you can purchase for the event, the cost of $19.99 is well worth the price if you are a a fan of grappling.
The side of the Gracie family that created the UFC is again trying their hands at martial arts promotion with Metamoris. Started last year, the concept of Metamoris is a sport aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where all points and advantages are removed, bringing the competition more in line with the original self-defense oriented grappling system that is taught by Helio's side of the Gracie family.
Ralek Gracie, son of Rorion Gracie the founder of the UFC, is the primary promoter and Metamoris aired their first show in October of last year and the formula is simple. The events are run in as a "fight card" of super-fights rather than the tournaments that the norm in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition. The other key difference is that the matches are submission-only matches with no point system in place and the matches are 20 minutes long.
It was announced that this rendition of Metamoris will feature judges that will determine a winner of a match that goes the distance. Their statements on who won and why will be released, and it has been announced that Pedro Sauer, a highly respected black belt, will be one of the judges.
All submissions are legal in no-gi matches, and only heel hooks are barred in gi matches. There are the standard no striking, no biting, no slamming, etc. rules, too.
On to the breakdowns, from the top down:
Kron Gracie vs Shyina Aoki (No Gi )
This is a match of controlled chaos. Aoki is a name familiar to many MMA fans and is a bit of a grappling renaissance man. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and in Judo. He also is a class A Shoot-fighter, which is a form of MMA that is very grappling focused, drawing from the Japanese adapted catch wrestling developed by their professional wrestling scene, as well as a black belt in Eddie Bravo's 10th planet Jiu Jitsu, which focuses on no gi grappling. Aoki is very aggressive, especially with foot and leglocks, and has both a dynamic guard and lethal back control.
Kron Gracie is the son of Jiu Jitsu legend and fundamental grappling paragon Rickson Gracie. MMA fans might recognize the name Kron as the fighter who pushed Braulio Estima in the cage after Georges St Pierre's fight with Nick Diaz. Kron is a very aggressive grappler as well, likes to break free of grips and then move freely around guards and into scrambles.
Kron was featured on the last Metamoris card were he faced Otvaio Sousa, the then and still current BJJ Middleweight world champion. Kron passed Sousa's guard for just a moment and slapped on a lighting quick armlock to win. The fact that this match is no gi means Kron's explosive game will have more room to operate.
My prediction for this match comes down to the fact that Kron is used to mixing it up with a higher level of grappler on a more consistent basis. But Kron lives by the sword with his chaotic, free moving style, and he could very well die by it against a similarly aggressive grappler like Aoki.
Prediction: Kron Gracie by armbar
Braulio Estima vs Rodolfo Vieira (Gi)
For hardcore grappling fans, this is the match they are most looking forward to as both Braulio and Rodolfo are towering figures in the sport. Rodolfo is part of the next generation at just 23-years-old and already a four-time world champion. Braulio is a three-time world champion and a two-time ADCC gold medalist.
Both are fantastically well rounded, but Rodolfo's drop seo nagi is already well known enough to cause most opponents to pull guard against him. And Estima has the guard play to feel confident even against a strong guard passer like Rodolfo. Braulio's open guard is fantastic, and he uses it to both sweep and submit.
This is a very tough match to call, Braulio has shown he can handle larger fighters, but Rodolfo's top game is so strong and difficult to stop. This match could go either way, but considering how fantastic Estima looked at the Mundials I'll say he comes out on top.
Braulio Estima by lapel choke
Andre Galvao vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. (Gi)
This is another highly anticipated match; two world champions are colliding. Rafael Lovato Jr. is the most accomplished American in competitive Jiu Jitsu with world championships in and out of the gi, two Pan American titles, a European championship, and two Brazilian championships. Lovato trains out of his own school in Oklahoma, but works with the Ribeiro brothers. Lovato won his match against Kayron Gracie in the first Metamoris.
Galvao is one of the founding members of Atos Jiu Jitsu and is a two time world champion and a two time ADCC gold medalist, in addition to being a four-time Pan American champion. He also had a brief two year, seven fight MMA career. Galvao had a frustrating draw with Ryron Gracie
This is a fantastic match in that both are very, very well rounded grapplers with excellent top and bottom games. Galvao's guard passing and overall top game are likely a little better, with his flowing attacks and subtle submissions, while Lovato is the better guard player. But both prefer to operate from the top position, so we may get a standing battle for a portion of this match.
Both are extremely hard to finish, and it is highly probable this match goes, if not the whole 20 minutes, then the majority of that time. Galvao's Judo and stand up are a little better than Lovato's. This is another close match that could play out any number of ways, but sweeping Galvao is a tall task, and if he is able to get a takedown it will be a battle, but Galvao will get the nod.
Prediction: Andre Galvao by Decision
Michelle Nicolini vs Mackenzie Dern (Gi)
This is a match up of experience vs youth. Nicolini hails from Checkmat and is a six-time world champion at multiple weights, going as high as four weights above her natural weight. Dern is the daughter of Wellington "Megaton" Dias, a several-time Mundials medalist.
Dern only recently earned her black belt and used her open guard game to dominate the lower belts. Nicolini is also a dynamic guard player, and can transition between submissions very quickly. The big difference in this match is likely the experience of Nicolini, who has been on the mats with the best womens' Jiu Jitsu has had to offer and her footlock game ends up tripping up Dern.
Michelle Nicolini by toe hold
Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu vs. Brendan Schaub (No Gi)
This is the match that has caused the most head scratching for this card. Abreu is a high level competition black belt, while Schaub is a BJJ brown belt whose focus is primarily on fighting in MMA, not competitive grappling. Abreu is a three time no gi champion and has won was several Brazilian and Pan Am championships in the gi. He is known most for his use of the Tornado guard, an inverted sweeping guard similar to the berimbolo.
We haven't seen much of Schaub's jiu jitsu in his MMA fights, but he is a brown belt under the Gracies, so we can expect him to have solid fundamentals. He is also in fantastic physical condition and will likely have a strength advantage.
This one seems pretty clear that Abreu is going to win, but will Schaub open up or just shell up to avoid getting tapped? I'm guessing a bit of both, and Schuab survives to see the end of the match, but isn't able to do much offensively.
Prediction: Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu by decision
Victor Estima vs JT Torres (No Gi)
This is a match where neither fighter was originally signed to face the other. Victor is the brother of Braulio Estima and is a No Gi World champion. Torres was a brown belt no gi world champion and trains out of Atos Jiu Jitsu currently.
This match was turned over a few times, but the final result promises to be entertaining. Victor grappled extremely well last week at the Mundials and has looked like he is on the verge of breaking through to that next level of accomplishment. Estima has an excellent guard game, good top attack, and footlocks that could all be too much for Torres over the course of 20 minutes.
Prediction: Victor Estima by footlock