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UFC Fight Pass Invitational 2 results: Team Pettis wins stacked grappling event

Overcoming ADCC Trial winners and UFC athletes, Anthony Pettis and his star-studded grappling lineup took home the win and $25,000 despite stiff competition.

Team APFC Winning UFC Fight Pass Invitational 2 (From Left: Daniel Monasoiu, Giancarlo Bodoni, Oliver Taza and Christos Papadelos)
UFC Fight Pass Invitational 2

The second event in the UFC Fight Pass Invitational series gave us amazing nogi submission showcases from start to finish. Taking over the Apex Center in Las Vegas Sunday evening, The tournament featured teams representing different regional MMA promotions like Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat, Jorge Masvidal’s iKon Fighting Championship, Anthony Pettis’ APFC and Kansas City based Fighting Alliance Championship. Each team drawing talent from different areas of the BJJ scene made for mixed weight matchups pulled straight out of an ADCC absolute dream journal. With several high profile superfights thrown in, the UFC made their commitment to grappling crystal clear.

Eight minute matches comprised the semi-final and final portions, with the first bracket placing Team APFC’s Oliver Taza against Team FAC’s Kyle Boehm. Boehm worked off his back, pulling guard and hunting submissions and defending passing attempts. Both men found themselves stalled, and a draw eliminated both from the bracket.

Daniel Manasoiu (APFC) faced Joe Solecki (FAC) next, and immediately pulled guard to hunt a leg entanglement on the MMA fighter. Solecki stood to disengage, and re-entered half guard looking to pass. Seeing an opening, Manasoiu stood and shoved Solecki to the ground and entered full guard. Feeling the guard open, Manasoui grabbed his opponent’s left leg and fell back for a straight ankle lock. The tap was quick, and sent Manasoiu to the next round.

FAC Team Captain and UFC staple James Krause faced Manasoiu next, and was quickly put on the back foot by the 20-year-old phenom. Forcing Krause to his back off of a failed guillotine attempt, Manasoiu passed the guard and began working his offense. Failing to secure a lock, Manasoiu lef Krause stand and opted to find a leg lock. Krause pulled a beautiful rolling escape, and returned to inside Manasoui’s guard. A reversal from Manasoui soon became a back take, Krause turning away and letting the younger man sink in his hooks. Manasoui locked in a rear naked choke, and got his second win of the night.

The 6’7 giant faced Andy Valera next, enacting a similar match as the opening to another draw. With his two wins on the board, Manasoiu moved team APFC to the finals.

Team iKon and Team A1 fought next, headlined by Bo Nickal and Eliot Kelly respectively. Nikal kept to his strengths, engaging on the feet and working to pass Kelly’s guard. Both men fought to a draw, leading Jay Rodrigez (iKon) to face Song Yadong (A1). A late replacement for Craig Jones, Rodrigez made quick work of Yadong with a back take and RNC finish inside four minutes.

Next up was Rafael Domingos, a mainstay competitor who helped create what was easily the most exciting match on the card. Domingos attacked early with a guillotine attempt, and nearly managed to roll to mount as both men scrambled. A reset brought them to the center, where Rodrigez started working off his back.

Domingos locked up another guillotine, this time successfully using it to pass into side control. Rodrigez failed to lock up a buggy choke, and Domingos jumped to mount with a head and arm choke. Rodrigez endured three minutes of squeeze from the Demian Maia black belt, biding his time despite the purple hue spreading across his face.

His patience was rewarded as Domingos grip loosened, giving Rodrigez a chance to bridge and escape.

Both men stood, and Rodrigez executed a flawless level change into back take on Domingos. The fight went to the ground only briefly, and Rodrigez failed to secure a crucifix as Domingos escaped and landed in side control.

Rodrigez tried another buggy choke, now using it to sweep Domingos and take the back again. As the final minute closes, Domingos is able to hold off a tight RNC and take Rodriguez out of the match.

Enrich Coco (iKon) and Ryan Loder (A1) fought a long match to a draw, giving iKon enough wins to advance to the finals.

The halftime gave us a pair of MMA vs BJJ superfights, as UFC vet Roxanne Modafferi took on MMA newcomer and BJJ black belt Michelle Olivera. Olivera kicked off with aggression, jumping to closed guard and immediately sweeping as she locked up a reverse triangle. Modafferi postured, but Olivera simply swept again and attacked the legs.

Modafferi displayed expert defense, escaping multiple kneebar attempts and bottom positions against the younger athlete. Olivera, meanwhile, showcased her wrestling by sprawling out of Modafferi’s lone takedown attempt and securing dominant placement for the majority of the match. Neither competitor was able to get the tap, but the judges ruled Olivera the victor by decision.

Syndicate MMA’s Shame Shapiro made a slightly more definitive statement against Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili. Landing an early single leg, the Vegas native nearly locked in an early arm triangle after passing to mount. Fili escaped, sweeping Shapiro briefly before the black belt returned the favor. Opting instead to pass to side control, Shapiro secured position before locking in a north south choke. The tap came soon, and Shapiro took home the win at 4:53.

Back to the finals, teams iKon and APFC readied their first pair of grapplers. Tenth Planet’s PJ Barch took on New Wave BJJ’s Christos Papadelos, who kicked things off with a guard pull. Barch made frames from half guard, and passed to half guard after Papadelos inverted.

Barch had to reset and pass again after Papadelos escaped, and moved up to north south. Collecting the arm, Barch lifts Papadelos up and takes the back with a body lock. Sinking in an RNC, Barch got the tap to advance to round two.

A close effort from Barch was not enough to beat Lucas Lepri black belt Giancarlo Bodoni, and both men made room for Manasoiu to face Enrico Coco for the first time in the event.

Despite a dominant physical effort from Manasoiu, landing takedowns and several times forcing Coco back through size alone, both men fought to another draw and moved aside for Rodrigez and his former teammate Taza (APFC).

Taza pulled guard to start, and Jay worked to control his head and pass. Taza briefly secured a shoulder lock, and used it to sweep Rodrigez as he worked the pass.

Changing strategy in the face of Jay Rod’s defense, Taza secured the right leg and dropped to 50/50. With speed only a DDS alum could replicate, Taza rolled belly down to rip a straight ankle lock on his young adversary. Rodrigez gave the tap, evening the score 1-1.

Penn State legend Bo Nickal (iKon) fought Taza to another close draw, making several puzzling decisions to pull guard later in the match. The wrestler still looked the more active passer on the feet, but Taza had more movement off his back with his leg lock attempts.

After a short deliberation, the judges awarded Team APFC the win.