Metamoris 3 takes place on Saturday, 3/29/2014, at 7 pm EST (4 pm PST). The live stream can be bought for $20 at their website (http://metamoris.com/live-stream).
The exact rules can be found here (http://metamoris.com/event-rules), but that's for those who want the specifcs. What you, dear reader, need to know is that in general, this is a mix of gi and no gi grappling matches with an eye towards the submission and entertainment, rather than winning by points or obtaining a title or belt. Most of the men (and sometimes women) on these Metamoris cards are very well known competitors, usually with strong ties to the Southern California scene.
For whatever reasons, Metamoris has not said explicitly which of these matches are to be held in the gi uniform or without the gi. We know that the top match, Eddie Bravo versus Royler Gracie, will be no gi due to the rather semi-public nature of the negotiations for the match, but the rest are apparently left for us to determine by guesswork.
Thus, I am guesstimating that the matches are in the following formats:
Eddie vs. Royler (no gi)
Eddie is bigger, stronger and five years younger. At his peak, Royler was a far better grappler, but this being a 20 minute match means that Eddie could outlast the initial rush and then find his own opportunities to win with a bigger gas tank left. With that evident even to armchair quarterbacks like me, I doubt Royler will go full out for the finish early on. Thus, we will likely get a draw, by the rules of Metamoris, with Eddie spending a considerable amount of time under side control.
Clark Gracie vs. Rafael Mendes (gi)
Clark is very good. Choked out Marcelo "Lapela" Mafra at Pan Ams 2013 and finished Diego Borges at a Copa Podio event. But he has a recurrent habit of losing for a while, relying on his excellent defense and then coming back for the win by utilizing his omoplata for a sweep and/or a choke. The strategy apparently works and it has made him a considerable star in this sport.
The problem is that people don't come back against Rafa Mendes. They get down on points, start trying to scramble out and he slides into position for the finish by anticipating them and always controlling the distance of engagement. This will be a match with a finish and we will see Rafa pin the legs, pass and submit the 20 to 30 lbs heavier Clark after some early moving around in the guard.
Keenan Cornelius vs. Vinny Magalhaes (no gi)
Vinny is 40 to 50 lbs heavier than Keenan generally is in tournaments and has the grappling game to submit anybody. On paper, Vinny should win this in dominant fashion, despite Keenan's recent ascendancy to BJJ superstardom. The problem is that Vinny doesn't take grappling training all that seriously and has a fight coming up against Jason Brilz on April 28th. He lost to Jared Dopp at ADCC China because he was out of shape and unmotivated to do much. Here, he might be more in shape, but Keenan is younger, hungrier and more squirmy than the guys Vinny usually faces. It's either going to be a quick finish by Vinny as Keenan botches something or a draw, with Keenan spending a lot of time trying to triangle Vinny without success.
Dean Lister vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (no gi)
Dean is primarily known for competing in no gi and in the ADCC. Sobral has been competing primarily in MMA, but does have some good chops in the grappling department. However, Babalu trained for MMA, which meant counter-wrestling, quick escapes and positioning to enhance his strikes. Dean basically gave up on MMA after his UFC stint and has gone full in on the no gi grappling and the whole "having no neck" thing.
With the gi-based handholds gone, Dean will likely resort to his favored straight ankle lock and heel hook combination. If Babalu can avoid that, he could get Dean to spend too much energy early on and take this to a draw (Dean's very hard to finish, as Xande found out in an earlier Metamoris). I think Dean will slice through Sobral's defenses and get that footlock, while being as entertaining as possible. If this was an MMA fight, I'd easily pick Babalu in destructive fashion, but this is Metamoris and Dean's game was built to entertain shmucks like us before a quick finish results.
Samir Chantre vs. Guilherme Mendes (gi)
Samir is a top five guy in the weight category. He is very, very good and trained with a very, very good camp at Caio Terra's Institute of Martial Arts. He has a gift for finding weaknesses in his opponent's game and then breaking that open to get his wins.
However, Gui is the undisputed number one and has perhaps the most pressure-oriented game their weight category has ever seen. Gui will be stalled for a while after sweeping Chantre and then he will likely slice through mid-way through the match for a submission. Hopefully, Chantre can make this more entertaining than usual.
Zak Maxwell vs. Sean Roberts (gi)
In terms of match-ups, this is the best on the card and gets a lengthier look from me.
Zak's guard game can be best described as "doesn't like to pull guard initially, but has a fairly good guard game if he has to employ it". He passes to his right if he can and generally is very, very stable with a good amount of arm attacks from top and bottom. His biggest wins are bigger than those of Roberts, with a decisive victory over Kron in an Abu Dhabi tournament qualifier being perhaps the fanciest feather in his cap at black belt. He's very, very good overall and only his choice to enter select tournaments in the California region, rather than travel all over has prevented his name from accumulating considerable hype. His Gracie Humaita ties mean that he's been training with some old school legends, but may not have the fresh young generation of stars around him (the GH stars are mostly down in Brazil) to really keep him at the cutting edge.
Sean's game is one of purposely creating scrambles, which he uses to find submission opportunities and he can usually finish those, thanks to his large frame, quick reactions and usually excellent conditioning. Roberts, much like Maxwell, destroyed people at the lower belt levels and has stepped onto the black belt scene almost fully formed as an elite level competitor. He is most well known for his sneaky submissions and loves to bait guard passes for the scrambles. Right now, he's training with the best Checkmat has to offer, while still teaching at Ralph Gracie Chino Hills, so he's in a great place training-wise.
With the handholds available, the match may become a battle of patience vs. forcing open opportunities for both. If no mistakes are made, I would take Zak by careful advancement to side control and an armlock, but I have a feeling the larger frame and the aggressive nature of Roberts will tilt things his way for a scramble finish by triangle.
Any disagreements in match evaluations?