We are just weeks removed from the illustrious Abu Dhabi Combat Club's Submission Grappling World Championships, and a number of the tournaments fallen favourites are looking to make amends at Polaris Pro 2 on Saturday night in Cardiff, Wales. Polaris' card is probably the greatest submission grappling card to be put on in Europe and it features an interesting mix of elite grapplers and mixed martial arts legends.
Over the last 18 months, submission grappling has grown exponentially in popularity. Metamoris and the Eddie Bravo Invitational have brought a lot of attention to the sport. Up-and-coming brands like Submission Series Pro, FIVE Grappling, and Polaris Pro have further benefited the cause by putting on solid cards. In this article I shall tell you what to look out for on the Polaris Pro 2 card.
Leglocks have made a resurgence in the sport of grappling. Eddie Cummings has exploded on to the scene as one of the most dangerous grapplers in the world. When Cummings is on the mat, no limb is safe, but Cummings has developed a particular penchant for heel hooks. Cummings has proven he can tap almost any man on the planet at any given time with a heel hook. Recently he won the Eddie Bravo Invitational, defeating all his opponents via the brutal leglock and when it was announced that he was competing at Polaris Pro, many saw another heel hook victory as inevitable, but things got interesting when it broke that he would be facing Reilly Bodycomb.
Reilly Bodycomb is one of the best Sambo-style grapplers in North America. Bodycomb has build a name as one of the most technical leglock guys in the world, with leglock credentials surpassing those of Cummings. While Cummings has been destroying opponents in leglock battles, he has yet to face someone who is capable of defending Cummings attacks and equally adept at attacking himself. This fight will end in a heel hook, mark my words and if I had to put money on it, I would lean toward Eddie Cummings being victorious.
Michelle Nicolini's road to redemption
Just weeks ago, Michelle Nicolini fell at the final hurdle in her pursuit of gold at ADCC 2015. To make matters worse for Nicolini, the person who defeated her at ADCC was her long-time rival, Mackenzie Dern, who also defeated her in the World Championships. With two bitter defeats over the last year, Nicolini will be out for blood at Polaris Pro 2 and with Gezary Matuda, she will be faced with a stiff test in her first steps on the road to redemption.
Gezary Matuda is a 5-time world champion, with an array of additionally impressive accolades to her name. While Nicolini is one of the most recognisable names in female grappling, Matuda has never quite reached an elite level of popularity. In Nicolini, Matuda has an opportunity to gain a lot of fans and a lot of personality. In Matuda, Nicolini has her obstacle on her comeback path.
Garry Tonon faces Japanese MMA legend
When it comes to leglocks in MMA the first name that springs to mind for most is Rousimar Palhares, but before Palhares was holding heel hooks for far to long, Masakazu Imanari was exciting the masses in Japan with unorthodox submissions. Imanari is truly a legend in the world of mixed martial arts , but when he steps on to the mats in St. David's Hall, Cardiff he will be facing one of the most dangerous grapplers in the world, Garry Tonon.
Garry Tonon, a black belt under Tom DeBlass, has grown from an unknown to a global phenomenon over the last 2 years. Tonon's submission heavy style has made him a fan favourite but he suffered some disappointment at ADCC, where he failed to take home gold in his division and tasted defeat to UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes in the Absolute division. Realistically speaking, in a pure submission grappling match Tonon should be too much for Imanari, but like Tonon's teammate Cummings, he will have to be very careful if he plays the leglock game with his opponent.
Polaris Pro 2 goes down on Saturday, September 12 in Cardiff, Wales. This event marks the first live-streaming venture of FloGrappling and will be available for purchase on pay-per-view.