This weekend (Sept. 24-25, 2011) will be the biennial competition of elite and world class Jiu-Jitsu practitioners hosted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC). This year's event will be located in Nottingham, England.
For those unfamiliar with the event, ADCC is a no-gi grappling tournament that is usually recognized as the most prestigious of all no-gi tournaments. This is mostly due to the fact that the competitors are always world class (by invite only) grapplers or participants that worked their way through trials after trials to earn their spot.
The purses for this event reward first place competitors $10,000 with second place receiving $5,000 and third place $3,000. Fourth place also receives $1,000. The first place winner of the absolute division receives $40,000, second place $10,000, third place $5,000 and fourth place $1,000. Awards for the tournaments Best Technician, Best Takedown, Fastest Submission and Best Match are worth $1,400 each.
Grappling legends have seen their careers birthed here, a "who's who" of the Gracie family have often competed here as well as mixed martial arts notables like Diego Sanchez, Jeff Monson, Fabricio Werdum and Tito Ortiz, just to name a few.
Phenoms of the grappling world are also consistently present with the tournament boasting such names as Marcelo Garcia, Braulio Estima, Roger Gracie and the Ribiero brothers. 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu was also born here when Eddie Bravo defeated the legendary Royler Gracie.
In this post, I will share with you the competitors of the under 65kg and under 76kg weight classes. Their respective weights in pounds are 143 and 167. These are often the more exciting and acrobatic of the bunch.
For more, follow me after the jump.
For more in depth information on the tourney itself visit adcombat.com.
Under 65 KG weight class:
Rafael Mendes – Brazil
Bruno Frazzato – Brazil
Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles – Brazil
Rani Yahya – Brazil
Robson Moura – Brazil
Greger Forsel – Finland
Timo-Juhani Hir Vikangas – Finland
Marko Ramos – USA
David Marinakis – USA
Jeff Glover – USA
Ryan Hall – USA
Baret Yoshida – USA
Denny Prokopos – USA
Justin Rader – USA
Tetsu Hadairo – Japan
Tom Barlow – UK
There will be six competitors back from last year in Mendes, Glover, Marinakis, Vikangas, Rader, Yahya, Hall, Charles and Yoshida. So in experience alone those guys may just be the ones to look out for and may be the favorites to take a deep run in the 16 man tournament.
This year will be the first year with weight cutting restrictions, this year there will be weigh ins on the same day as the matches in addition to the Friday weigh in to prevent fighters from getting too heavy. They will be allowed no weigh no more then 2kg more then they weigh in weight.
Being such small grapplers, this weight class is often thought to be the "high-flyers" of the tournament.
You may recognize Rani Yahya’s name in that list, he is a UFC fighter whose last fight was a contender bout with now current number one contender Chad Mendes. Yahya has always been a wizard on the mats in both straight Jiu Jitsu as well as MMA.
The favorites here are the Brazilians, notably Mendes and Charles. Rafael Mendes won the ADCC crown in this division in the last ADCC in 2009 and he did so impressively. Look for Mendes and Charles to end up in the finals depending on the bracket match ups.
Charles, or "Cobrinha" as he is better known is also one to watch for as he is a menacing foe for anyone. Possibly up there with Royler Gracie as one of the more accomplished and gifted grapplers, he is one of the better Jiu Jitsu players inside and outside the Gi.
The American Ryan Hall is also a dangerous opponent in these tournaments. Even though he may have lost in the semi’s last time around he salvaged a third place finish. His 50-50 guard is very tricky and innovative and he may be the dark horse to upset the Brazilians.
My pick to win is Rafael Mendes, who seems in prime position being that he has already matched with many of these grapplers already. I think it will be Mendes and Yahyain the finals, with a third place going to "Cobrinha."
Under 76 KG weight class:
Murilo Santana – Brazil
Victor Estima – Brazil
Leo Viera – Brazil
Marcello Garcia – Brazil
Augusto Mendes – Brazil
Claudio Calasans – Brazil
Clark Gracie – Brazil
Kron Gracie – Brazil
Vagner Rocha – USA
Enricco Coco – USA
Jason Manly – USA
JT Torres – USA
Jorge Britto – Portugal
Davis Hart – Australia
Sanshiro Nakakura - Japan
Daniel Strauss – UK
The one name that many may see first in this list is Marcello Garcia and for good reason. Coco, Santana and Garcia return from the 2009 installment of the tourney and though Garcia came in second to American Pablo Papovich he remains one of the biggest draws in Jiu Jitsu period.
Garcia is often considered the best "pound for pound" grappler in the Jiu Jitsu world as well as being one of the most technical aces as well. He has won three championships here at ADCC and will have plenty of eyes from the crowd watching. He makes a habit of finishing most of his matches including his tear threw the competition in 2009 with three straight submissions.
This years grouping will also feature Leo Viera who has moved up a weight class. He may makes waves if he is able to out maneuver some of the more naturally larger foes. Claudio Calasans will be another guy to watch out for with his powerful style of Jiu Jitsu that can give anyone fits so look for him to bully his way to a finals match up possibly with Garcia.
My lookout pick here will be Kron Gracie. Not because of who his father is but because of how young and how gifted he is and how much better he seems to get after each showing. He was defeated by Garcia in 2009 but I think in time he may emerge as this weight classes next big thing.
Still my money will be on Garcia to win it all, followed closely by Calasans. And rearing in for that third place will be Kron or "Young Phenom" 22-year old Enricco Coco.
Regardless these two weights will be dominated by Brazilians which should come as no surprise when names like Marcelo Garcia and Rafael Mendes are involved. Americans Ryan Hall and Enricco Coco could make splashes if they are truly on their A-game.
You will see competitors from other countries like Japan and UK, they got their invites from trials in their respective region and deserve a slot in the tournament. However, at this level it is easy to find yourself outmatched and classed by the Brazilians.
Have at it Maniac’s, excited for ADCC 2011? Have any favorites or other information you want to share on these two weight classes?
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two...