The final major event of the year is over and we now have a whole new generation of IBJJF world champions in the gi, although many past and present champions will not be returning to compete again next year. Perhaps the biggest news came in the heaviest male divisions as Nicholas Meregali was disqualified from both the Ultra-Heavyweight and the absolute division for swearing at the crowd during the semi-final match of his weight class.
He’s since explained his actions and apologized to Felipe Pena, who won the absolute division by default as a result and retired from gi competition immediately after. Another shock came in the female Super-Heavyweight division where Gabi Garcia was submitted for the very first time at black belt by Yara Soares. After earning a bronze medal there and in the absolute division, Garcia retired from gi competition as well.
First UFC Fight Pass Invitational gets off to a great start
UFC Fight Pass put on their very first grappling event and it featured four teams representing different smaller MMA promotions like Fury FC, LFA, Cage Fury FC, and FAC competing in a similar style to Quintet events. Despite the fact that these are regional promotions, their teams featured some phenomenal grapplers like Davi Ramos, Rafael Lovato Jr, and Kody Steele.
There were also several superfights featuring high-profile MMA grapplers like Benson Henderson taking on Ben Saunders, where Henderson won a convincing unanimous decision. Karel ‘Silver Fox’ Pravec black belt Danielle Kelly also competed at the event against Alexa Yanes, although she dropped a split decision in an incredibly close match that really could’ve gone either way in the end.
Andy Varela submits Sean Strickland in bizarre finish at SUG 29
Chael Sonnen’s brainchild returned this past weekend with an event that featured neither of their absolute champions, but the tag-team championship was on the line as Team BTT Happy Valley took on reigning champions Team Toro. In the end the championship changed hands in what was the first tag-team match in the promotion’s history to remain a draw and require EBI overtime to be decided.
That was actually the prevailing theme of the evening as only one match was finished within the regulation time-period prior to the main event. The first four minutes of the headline match between Andy Varela and Sean Strickland looked to be heading the same way until Strickland chose to turn his back to his opponent mockingly, only for Varela to leap on to his back and lock up the fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Kyra Gracie becomes first woman inducted into ADCC Hall of Fame
The inaugural class of the ADCC Hall of Fame is still growing and this time around, the promotion announced it’s first female inductee. That woman is the legendary Kyra Gracie, a pioneer of ADCC female divisions and one of the most successful female BJJ competitors of the late 2000s. She also made history in her own family as only the second female Gracie to become a BJJ black belt and the first to actively compete in the sport.
Kyra won the first two 60kg divisions in 2005 and 2007 before taking a short break, eventually returning to claim a third gold medal in 2011. Throughout her time competing on the ADCC mats she went undefeated in her weightclass, registering a 9-0 record against some tough competition. Perhaps most impressively though, she remains the youngest ADCC world champion to this day, winning her first title on her twentieth birthday.
- UFC Featherweight world champion Alexander Volkanovski has just been promoted to black belt in BJJ by Joe Lopez, owner and head coach of Freestyle MMA gym.
- MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz reached out to Tony Ferguson publicly to offer him a grappling match with his old rival, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- The Ruotolo brothers, Kade and Tye, have both been promoted to black belt at the same time by ATOS founder and head coach, Andre Galvao.
- UFC veteran Urijah Faber is scheduled to make his Combat Jiu-Jitsu debut against Elias Anderson at the CJJ Featherweight World Championships.