The Emerald City Invitational came back this past weekend and put on another fantastic event after PJ Barch took home the grand prize in their first outing. This time it was Gianni Grippo who defeated four top-tier competitors in a single night and he started off with the highlight of the entire event when he ripped on a lightning-quick heelhook from top position against Ellis Karadag.
His remaining three fights all went to EBI overtime before he was able to claim the victory, including a tough final match against Kennedy Maciel. He also defeated Damien Anderson in the semi-finals, a fantastic purple belt under both John Danaher and Garry Tonon. His quarter-final match proved one of the most surprising of the night as teenage competitor Raul Rosas Jr put up a fantastic fight before being submitted in overtime.
Rafael Lovato Jr retains his title at F2W 180
As always, a classic match headlined the latest Fight 2 Win event as ex-Bellator Middleweight world champion Rafael Lovato Jr put his Light-Heavyweight no gi title on the line against Gabriel Arges. While Arges put his knee-shield to good use and worked well from the bottom, he wasn’t able to put Lovato Jr in danger and found himself caught in a last-minute ankle-lock attempt that was enough to sway the judges in favor of Lovato Jr.
Aside from this, another title was on the line in the co-main event as Edwin Najmi took on Johnny Tama. The pair actually fought once before on the same stage when Najmi managed to win by decision back at F2W 136. Tama got his revenge here though after a failed leg-entry by Najmi that allowed him to secure a heelhook from 50/50 before going belly-down to get the tap.
The WNO Championships Woman’s Heavyweight division revealed
Things have been steadily getting more impressive the closer we get to the first ever WNO Championships event, as the promotion has now announced four out of five of their tournament brackets. The latest division to be filled out is the women’s Heavyweight division and the clear favorite to win is immediately identifiable as Gabi Garcia, although she won’t have an easy ride.
Both Elisabeth Clay and Ana Carolina Vieira have given Garcia incredibly tough matches in the past and will be eager to prove themselves by defeating the most successful female grapplers of all time. Not just that, but SUG absolute champion Amanda Loewen and MMA fighter Erin Harpe will represent unique challenges as well. The division is then rounded out by three other elite grapplers in Rafaela Guedes, Kendall Reusing, and Amanda Leve.
Robert Degle receives black belt but disqualified from IBJJF competition
He’s one of the best leglockers in the sport that doesn’t get anywhere near the attention he deserves, but Robert Degle has finally been promoted to black belt under Brandon Bennett, a Renzo Gracie black belt himself. The promotion itself is well-deserved as Degle has been tearing up the expert division of several Grappling Industries events for quite some time and is lightyears ahead of most competitive brown belts.
The good news didn’t last long however, as Degle notified the IBJJF of his promotion and was informed that he was ineligible to compete for almost a year. They require athletes to stay at brown belt for a year, but apparently the time only starts when you actually register as a brown belt, not the date you were promoted. This means that Degle can’t compete at brown belt anymore, but also can’t compete at black belt for quite some time either.
- Rener Gracie has started auctioning off two decades worth of combat sports memorabilia in order to raise money for the victims of bullying.
- Thirteen-time IBJJF world champion Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida is now set to make his MMA debut for ONE FC in September against Thomas Narmo.
- Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu has issued a statement after sexual assault allegations have surfaced against two members of the Fight Sports affiliation in separate incidents.
- Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza has announced his retirement from MMA competition after being cut from the UFC following a devastating injury in his early 40s.