This August, the most prestigious no-gi submission grappling tournament will take place - the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championships. Known in shorthand has the "ADCCs," it is a professional grappling tournament held every two years that attracts the top grappling talent from all across the world. The rule set is extremely open in terms of submissions and positions allowed, the scoring system designed to increase aggressive takedowns and an attacking style on the ground. The event features a tournament and then one-off super fights between major ADCC champions.
Some of the athletes - specifically former ADCC champions, other major grappling champions, and well known MMA fighters, are invited to come compete at the ADCCs, while others go through regional qualifiers. This series will seek to profile some of the major players at the 2015 ADCCs.
Who is this lady?
The daughter of jiu jitsu legend and Judo black belt Wellington "Megaton" Dias, Mackenzie Dern grew up on the mats. As a child Dern competed in both judo and jiu jitsu and when she became a teenager she began competing with adults. Dern collected lower belt world championships for five years, began competing as a professional as a purple belt, and earned her black belt from her father in 2013.
Dern has always been tagged as a top prospect and 2015 has thus far been the year of Dern. At the Mundials, she defeated Michelle Nicolini in one of the best jiu jitsu matches of all time to win her first black belt world championship. At the Abu Dhabi World Pro Championships Dern won her weight class and then in the Absolutes she became the first woman to beat Gabi Garcia since 2008. And then a few weeks ago she became the FIVE Grappling Super League Champion.
Dern is riding a wave of momentum coming into this ADCCs and could very well be set to take over the women's side of the sport.
What is her game like?
Dern, despite her Judo background, is very much a guard player first. It is nearly impossible to play a takedown-focused game in the lower women's divisions, where the guard pulling is nearly instant. Dern has embraced this metagame and is one of the very best guard players in the world. She flows seamlessly through different open guards to find sweeps, footlocks, triangles, omoplatas and armbars. She prefers double guard position but she can most certainly play from the top as well. Dern can play on a high level from basically every position and has an amazingly complete game.
How is she likely to do?
It is the year of Dern thus far and it is very likely that it continues at ADCC. There are some fantastic matches in the making in her division but everyone is likely hoping for just one more Dern vs Nicolini classic final this year. Dern has been getting the better of Nicolini thus far this year, and if she can repeat the feat at ADCCs she could become the face women's jiu jitsu. If she can win the Absolute division and best Garcia again she will become an instant legend.
While this is the last article in the series, there are many great grapplers competing in the brackets at ADCCs that the series didn't have time to cover, and that doesn't even mention the Super Fights! Be sure to watch the stream from Budovideos, and read the previews by Roy Billington.