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Grappling Report: Three-time NCAA champ Bo Nickal set for UFC Contender Series debut

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

bloody elbow grappling report

Bo Nickal has already achieved more in his combat sports career than the majority of athletes could ever dream of, but the three-time NCAA champion is about to make yet another huge step. With his incredible level of wrestling skill it was always a bit of a foregone conclusion that Nickal would do well when he transitioned to MMA, but there’s still no telling where his ceiling truly lies.

Nickal spent just five minutes in the cage as an amateur fighter, finishing both of his opponents. In his professional debut, Nickal got the knockout win in just over thirty seconds and immediately attracted the attention of the UFC. His debut for the promotion may come sooner than expected as his manager, Malki Kawa, has confirmed that Nickal will be fighting for a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series this summer.

Team Brazil and Demian Maia emerge victorious at Polaris 20

Europe’s top grappling promotion reached a landmark moment this past weekend as Polaris 20 took place in Newport, Wales. They put together the fourth edition of their well-loved team grappling ruleset as Team USA took on Team Brazil, along with an incredible superfight between a pair of UFC legends in Demian Maia and Benson Henderson. In the end, the Brazilians ended up with an almost flawless victory on the night.

Mason Fowler scored the only point for Team USA to win the first half for his country by submitting Kywan Gracie with an armbar. The Americans couldn’t hold the lead though, as Mica Galvao submitted Keith Krikorian twice in the second half with both an armbar and a triangle choke. Team Brazil won the event 2-1, while Demian Maia managed to put on an impressive display against Benson Henderson and win the unanimous decision.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Kayla Harrison continues unbeaten MMA record at PFL 6

Kayla Harrison has secured her place in the PFL 2022 play-offs after recording yet another brutal finish in her fight against Kaitlin Young. Not only does this bring the Olympic Judoka’s MMA record to an astounding 14-0 but it also puts her in line to win her third PFL Championship and the attached million-dollar prize. All she has to do is win another two fights this year, just like she did in 2019 and 2021.

Young was a late-replacement after Julia Budd withdrew from the fight due to an undisclosed injury, but she couldn’t make it out of the first round. As it stands, Harrison is clearly the greatest Lightweight fighter in women’s MMA and is a contender for greatest female fighter in the history of the sport. At the age of 32, she still has plenty of years left in her career and it’ll be interesting to see if she can remain undefeated throughout.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Craig Jones moves up to 99kg for ADCC 2022

There’s only a small number of invites left to hand out for ADCC 2022, and there is currently some movement between divisions as fighters enter new weightclasses. After B-Team’s Izaak Michell surprised fans by competing in the ADCC trials at 99kg last week, he’s quickly returned to a more natural weightclass after winning his place at ADCC 2022. He will instead compete at 88kg alongside his teammate Jacob Rodriguez.

To compensate for Michell dropping down to 88kg, B-Team founder Craig Jones will be moving up in weight to compete at 99kg for the first time. Jones will now be competing against a number of former ADCC world champions like Vinny Magalhaes, Yuri Simoes, and Kaynan Duarte. It’s worth noting though that Jones is no stranger to some of these men and even holds a submission win over Magalhaes from 2020.

Quick Hits

Technique Corner

Backstep from 50/50, to back control

Single-leg X guard, to X guard, to back-take

Single-leg X guard pass

Meme of the Week