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Grappling Report: Gordon Ryan makes history at ADCC 2022, Tom Hardy gets gold

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

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Gordon Ryan was already being touted as the best no gi grappler on the planet before ADCC 2022 but he wasn’t content with that alone. He became the first man to compete in a regular weightclass at the event prior to featuring in the superfight match at the end of the weekend, doing so with style. Ryan opened the show on both days with submission finishes in the over 99kg division and closed the show by submitting Andre Galvao too.

He went 5-0 at the event with four finishes in total, but that’s not all. In winning the over 99kg division Ryan became the first person to win gold in three different weightclasses after victory at under 88kg in 2017 and under 99kg in 2019. With his gold medal in the absolute division in 2019, Ryan is also one of only three competitors to win four divisions and at 27 years old he looks set to break that record soon enough too.

The full play-by-play of the superfight between Ryan and Galvao can be found here.

A new generation emerges at ADCC 2022

Ryan wasn’t the only one to put on a great performance at ADCC 2022 of course and there were seven other champions crowned at the event. There were plenty of familiar faces returning to the ADCC mats and some of the winners had stood on that podium before, like Yuri Simoes, Kaynan Duarte, and Ffion Davies. In the end it was youth that reigned supreme as the majority of the gold medallists were first-time winners.

Kade Ruotolo led the way by becoming the youngest grappler to ever win an ADCC world championship, beating fellow teenage prodigy Mica Galvao in the final of the 77kg division. Diogo ‘Baby Shark’ Reis and Amy Campo won the 66kg and over 60kg divisions respectively and both of them are likely to be competing for a decade or so, while Ryan’s training partner Giancarlo Bodoni won gold in the 88kg division.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Michelle Nicolini wins inaugural 60kg title at Polaris 21

Polaris 21 marked a huge moment for the promotion as they staged their first event outside of the UK. They’ve been dominating the European professional grappling scene for years now, but this was a huge step in the growth of the organization. One of the main attractions for the event was an exciting and explosive match between two men who were last seen competing at ADCC 2022, Owen Livesey and Josh Hinger.

Shortly after Livesey won a close decision, BJJ legend Michelle Nicolini won the promotion’s inaugural 60kg title by another razor-thin margin. She fought young Welsh prospect Ashley Bendle and although Bendle didn’t get the win, she showed that she clearly has what it takes to compete at the highest level. The main event then saw an incredible finish when Jed Hue submitted UFC veteran Paul Craig in just a little over twenty seconds.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Tom Hardy is back at it again in BJJ competition

Tom Hardy is obviously best-known for his acting career and fans will most likely recognise him from his leading roles in films like Mad Max, Venom, and Legend. Lately though, he’s hitting headlines for his performances on the mats instead of on the silver screen. Just a few weeks ago, Hardy entered a local BJJ tournament in England and he managed to come away with a gold medal in the Blue belt Masters 3 (40 and over) division.

He’s gotten straight back to it and signed up for another tournament around a month after his first victory. Hardy entered the same division at another tournament and managed to submit all three of his opponents on route to another gold medal. Not only is it nice to see a celebrity getting fully involved when others would be reluctant to even train, but it’s also nothing but a positive for the growth of the sport too.


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