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Garry Tonon continues to impress against bigger men; reviving the essence of BJJ

Garry Tonon’s EBI performances akin to Royce Gracie in early UFC

Garry Tonon works for position in the semi-finals of EBI 9
Blanca Marisa Garcia

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is known as a martial art that allows the smaller man or woman to survive and defend themselves against a larger opponent. At EBI 9 last Sunday, Garry Tonon proved just how relevant that fact is today; even when applied to the frequently changing world of sport BJJ. With his victory against men who vastly outweighed him; Tonon not only continued to solidify his name among the best in the world, but brought the sport back to its roots at the same time.

This was Tonon’s third EBI tournament win and he did so stepping in for his injured teammate, Gordon Ryan, on a few days’ notice. In doing so, he gave up at least 40 pounds or more to the rest of the field. Still, Tonon used his technique and quickness to not only counter the offense from his opponents, but stayed aggressive through many of his matches. Instead of falling back and remaining elusive, Tonon continued to attack all of his opponents; frequently scoring takedowns and creating his text book scrambles to attacks.

The scenes of Tonon’s performance at the Eddie Bravo Invitational harkened back to the days when Royce Gracie stepped into the UFC Octagon back in 1993 and 1994. He was much smaller than his opposition, but used his mastery of BJJ to win 11 straight fights. While the sport has drastically changed since those days, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu proved to be the weapon of choice for the smaller competitor.

Twenty years later, Tonon makes a name for himself fighting against much bigger men and frequently coming out the winner. He defeated Bellator fighter Ralek Gracie at Metamoris earlier this year, submitted UFC fighter Gilbert Burns at Polaris 4 and battled Rousimar Palhares to a draw at Polaris 3. In each of these fights for what he lacked in size, Tonon made up in skill and aggression.

Tonon’s performance at EBI 9 reminds many of exactly why BJJ was created. He was the smallest man in the game, but his technique and abilities allowed him to be a threat in every position against men much bigger and stronger. It will be interesting to see what’s next for Tonon as he builds a legacy in which he’s always ready to face the bigger man on a moment’s notice and make an exciting affair of it every time.

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