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Grappling Report: Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tour 2022/23 kicks off, Roger Gracie promoted

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

bloody elbow grappling report

The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tour is back! The annual trip around the world has started this weekend with the promotion’s first event of the year in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. As always there is a decent cash prize available for the winners of each event, with the adult black belt champions earning up to $4,000 depending on the number of competitors in their division. The masters divisions and brown belt competitors can then earn up to $3,000 as well.

The tour’s organizers won’t be wasting any time either, as their next stop is in Miami and is just four weeks away. From there, the travelling show takes a little break before moving on to Moscow in December. In 2023, the Grand Slam tour will then be visiting Sydney and London in February and March respectively before they finish up in Abu Dhabi in May and crowning this season’s champions.

Roger Gracie promoted to 5th degree BJJ black belt

Roger Gracie is one of the greatest grapplers to ever set foot on the mats under any ruleset and has cemented his legacy as the greatest BJJ competitor a long time ago. He won ten IBJJF world championship gold medals and is still the only man to submit every single opponent at the ADCC world championships, before retiring from competition in 2010. After the occasional comeback match every few years, he retired permanently in 2017.

He has remained a popular figure in the sport since then and even became the very first inductee into the ADCC Hall of Fame just a few months ago. Now Roger Gracie has received another honour as he’s been given the fifth degree on his BJJ black belt by his father and long-time coach, Mauricio Motta Gomes. At the same promotion ceremony, he also chose to award 7 of his students with their black belt too.

Pedigo Submission Fighting leaves the Daisy Fresh laundromat

The Pedigo Submission Fighting team have seemingly exploded onto the professional grappling scene over the last few years but many fans would know them more by the Daisy Fresh nickname, owing to the laundromat that used to occupy the space that they train in. The success of their homegrown talent has even inspired a number of high-level competitors to make the move to Illinois in order to train under Heath Pedigo.

Now the Daisy Fresh nickname will no longer be applicable as the athletes at Pedigo Submission Fighting have finally outgrown their now infamous laundromat location and will be moving to bigger facilities elsewhere. The team will still be staying in Mount Vernon, Illinois but the change of location will allow for the squad to train even more grapplers and potentially improve their standing in the Jiu-Jitsu world even further.

Alexandre Pantoja submits Alex Perez with standing neck crank at UFC 277

Alexandre Pantoja has put together an impressive streak lately and was coming into UFC 277 off the back of a second round submission finish of Brandon Royval. He already finds himself firmly in the top 5 of the UFC Flyweight division but a fight against former title-challenger Alex Perez gave him the opportunity to inch closer to a title-shot against Deivesen Figueiredo.

Pantoja wasted no time and took Perez’s back early in the very first round, quickly locking up a brutal neck crank and forcing him to submit after just a little over 90 seconds of action. UFC 277 was really kicking into high gear at this point as this fight was followed up by a first round knockout and fight-of-the-night performances by Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France, before Amanda Nunes proved that she’s still the GOAT in the main event.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Quick Hits

Technique Corner

Buggy Choke set-up

Reverse Uchi-Mata to Kouchi-Gake off the cage wall

Backtake from Omoplata position

Meme of the Week