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Grappling Report: BJJ rising star Danielle Kelly planning switch to MMA

A rundown of the biggest headlines and news from the world of competitive grappling.

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ONE Championship has recently continued their pursuit of elite Jiu-Jitsu talent with the signing of Danielle Kelly, a black belt under the legendary Karel ‘Silver Fox’ Pravec. Kelly is still young but has already made a name for herself on the competitive BJJ scene and put in a solid performance in the 115lbs division of the WNO Championships, the same weightclass she intends to compete at in MMA.

She’s already competed against some elite female MMA fighters in grappling and even submitted both Roxanne Modafferi and Cynthia Calvillo with leglocks. Most recently, she defeated Carla Esparza thanks to a cut that Esparza sustained during the match. It’s this experience that has led to Kelly having supreme confidence ahead of her MMA debut and she already plans to take on the best that the 115lbs division has to offer.

According to her announcement, she plans on competing in grappling with ONE and will eventually make the MMA move with the promotion.

This sounds like a similar deal as Gordon Ryan had with ONE, where they sign a grappling contract along with the right to promote an MMA fight if he ever makes the switch. Ryan though, has said that he doesn’t have plans to make the move to mixed martial arts anytime soon.

Seven athletes qualify from second South American ADCC Trials

Just a week after the first round of South American ADCC trials took place, athletes from all around the continent travelled to Sao Paulo for their last chance at qualification. This also represented the first opportunity for female grapplers to win an invite to the ADCC world championships and the competition was fierce as a result. Hundreds of elite grapplers descended on the city in order to battle it out for one of seven sought-after invites.

There were a number of expected results as Mayssa Bastos, Roberto Jimenez, and Gutemberg Pereira all earned their places at 60kg, 77kg, and over 99kg respectively. The over 60kg female division saw a shock upset as BJJ purple belt Giovanna Jara took first place, while Henrique Ceconi won under the 99kg division. Finally, Fabricio Andrey submitted every single one of his opponents on the way to victory at 88kg.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Kayla Harrison free agency saga heats up as she tries for Bantamweight

The drama surrounding Kayla Harrison and her current status as a free agent is still going strong, as she hasn’t reached an agreement with any promotion just yet. Naturally, PFL are eager to bring her back into the fold considering that she’s a two-time Lightweight champion there. Meanwhile, Dana White has taken his usual approach of downplaying her accomplishments over and over again.

While they’re the two loudest promotions in the race, Bellator Featherweight world champion Cyborg has shown her interest in fighting the Olympic Judoka. Things have gotten even more interesting now as Harrison has revealed that she’s actually open to dropping down two whole weightclasses in order to make the Bantamweight limit, something that would definitely be of interest to the UFC, and Julianna Pena.

Baret Yoshida becomes first non-champion in ADCC Hall of Fame

It’s been almost three months to the day since the ADCC Hall of Fame opened and the inaugural class has now grown to fifteen members with the inclusion of the third American, Baret Yoshida. The Hawaii native is actually the first competitor to be included who has never actually won an ADCC world championship, although he is the most consistent face with an astounding ten appearances since 1998.

Yoshida has been a constant fixture in the 66kg weightclass and has even decided to enter the absolute division on several occasions to take on larger opponents. Yoshida has actually come incredibly close to coming home with a title several times with his best finishes being a pair of silver medals in 2001 and 2003. His most recent podium placement was back in 2007 when he finished third.


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