With the IBJJF recently announcing the cancellation of both the gi and no gi editions of the World Championships this year, this meant that the no gi Pan-Ams was the final major event of the year. ATOS made a huge impression as the openweight division was closed out by Kaynan Duarte and Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa, after both men won their respective weight-classes with relative ease.
Kennedy Maciel also extended his phenomenal form this year by beating three top-tier grapplers on the way to a gold medal after falling just short in this year’s gi edition. Elsewhere, the women’s divisions were all pretty thin on the ground as travel restrictions prevented many grapplers from outside the US from attending, but Rafaela Guedes continued the ATOS dominance by becoming absolute champion.
Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa Announces Plans for MMA Debut in 2021
After turning in one more fantastic performance to finish the year strong, Barbosa took some time to relax and answer fan questions before the end of the year. The first revelation came when he declared that he still had room for more competition before Christmas and would like to defend one of his hard-earned Fight 2 Win titles in the next month.
Then came the big one, as a fan asked Barbosa if he’d thought of venturing into MMA at any point, just like his coach Andre Galvao once did at Strikeforce. Barbosa then revealed that ‘2021 is the year’ and attached a short clip to the statement that showed him working on his head movement and footwork with a striking coach. Fans of high-level grappling in MMA will now be eagerly awaiting his debut next year to see how his BJJ skils translate.
The Danaher Death Squad Makes the Move to Puerto Rico
Gordon Ryan announced a few weeks ago that he was done with New Jersey and New York, and that he would be searching for greener pastures. This led to many BJJ news outlets wondering where the greatest no gi grappler on the planet right now would end up going. After a few weeks of build-up, Ryan announced that he would be moving to Puerto Rico and that Nicky Ryan, Ethan Crelinsten, and Craig Jones would be joining him.
It was only a matter of days then before the man himself, John Danaher, also revealed that he would be relocating to Puerto Rico with his students. This was quickly followed by confirmation that over a dozen members of DDS will be joining ADCC head organizer Mo Jassim there, including Nicky Rodriguez and several others. That just leaves one final question: Will this basement be blue too?
Jacob Rodriguez, Nicky’s Younger Brother, Enters First BJJ Tournament
Normally, a white belt competing in their first competition is no big deal at all, it happens thousands of times a month after all. But when that white belt is Nicky Rodriguez’s younger brother, and he enters the Advanced division of a Grappling Industries bracket, that’s something worth noting.
After just six weeks of BJJ training, Jacob Rodriguez went 2-2 against experienced BJJ competitors at Grappling Industries Philadelphia. Of course, the years of wrestling experience and hundreds of competitive matches certainly helped him pick up the sport quickly. Just like his brother Nicky, he’s more than capable of big things if he’s willing to put the time into BJJ and start competing more often.
- Gordon Ryan and Lachlan Giles had a public back-and-forth over the issue of PED use in the sport, one that resulted in Ryan accusing Giles of using steroids himself.
- Two big names in the BJJ community came down with Coronavirus this week; Dillon Danis first, followed by Jocko Willink testing positive asymptomatically.
- Ben Askren says his hip operation was a success and he will be coming out of retirement for wrestling matches in the future, even refusing to rule out a full return to MMA.
- Garry Tonon is already in Singapore for his upcoming fight with Koyomi Matsushima for ONE FC, but will have to fight without John Danaher in his corner due to travel restrictions.