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Fight to Win Pro 30 features former UFC champ and MMA vets, East Coast grappling

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Tom DeBlass, Gordon Ryan and others set to compete on Saturday

Gordon Ryan celebrates after winning EBI 11
Blanca Garcia

Fight to Win Pro continues to present some of the biggest events in competitive grappling. This weekend, the promotion pushes it’s boarders to the East Coast as Fight to Win Pro 30 lands in New Jersey. The state is home to some of the best grapplers in the industry today and this card does not disappoint with a number of intriguing matches on the docket.

The main event brings together Tom DeBlass and Ricco Rodriguez; two men who may be more well-known for their success in MMA, but have reached heights in the grappling space as well. Rodriguez, a former UFC champion, won an ADCC title back in 1998 while finishing in second in 2000 and third in 1999. DeBlass has also competed at ADCC and is a three-time ADCC North American Trials champion. He’s also seen success in Pan American competitions, Grappler’s Quest and No Gi Worlds.

This is a pairing that brings together two names that MMA and grappling fans will know. Since leaving MMA in 2013 DeBlass has become an ambassador for grappling, along with playing a major part in the development of others such as Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan. Rodriguez may not have that same level of exposure in the competitive grappling at this time, but he’s still a skilled and dangerous opponent in any matchup.

One special part of Fight to Win Pro 30 is that DeBlass is dedicating his match to one of his students who is in a battle with Leukemia.

"Logan is very dear to me. He's a great young man, and he's truly someone that I respect. I'm going to do my best to fight so hard for him," DeBlass said as reported by Averi Clements of FloGrappling.

The co-main event features Ryan in his promotional debut as he faces off against Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa. Ryan has grown into one of the “must watch” athletes in grappling as he’s put together a string of wins in the Eddie Bravo Invitational to go along with his 2015 brown belt championship at No-Gi Worlds. Barbosa is coming off of his own run of success, including his win at the FIVE Super League tournaments earlier this year. This is a compelling matchup because you have Ryan’s diversity of attacks against Barbosa’s technique and size, but the Fight to Win Pro rule set may also come into play. The action between Barbosa and Ryan can easily steal the show.

Gianni Grippo and Kurt Pellegrino are also scheduled to appear on the fight card this Saturday. This event is available for viewing on and features 29 scheduled bouts.