Last night (Oct. 19, 2013), the semifinals, finals, and absolute of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) concluded at Ditan Gymnasium in Beijing, China. Some of the matches were absolute barn burners, while others were slow, methodical chess matches.
For complete live coverage of ADCC 2013 "Beijing" results for Day 2 click here.
Starting off in the women's over 66 kg division, Gabi Garcia once again dominated the competition. She mauled both Tammy Griego and Maria Malyjasiak, submitting the latter with a guillotine very quickly. Garcia is simply too powerful and too technical for the other women in her division. Tammy Greigo did earn the bronze medal, defeating Fernanda Mazelli.
The women's 66 kg division also fell to the favorite. This time Michelle Niccolini proved she was still one of the best female grapplers in the world. She defeated Seiko Yamamoto via points in her first match of the day and then faced Luanna Alzugulr. The two ladies swapped leg locks attacks a few times, but ultimately, Nicolini came out on top with the heel hook finish.
Moving on to the men's division, Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida was the favorite to win the over 99 kg division and did just that. He defeated Robert "Cyborg" Abreu by points before finishing Gabriel de Oliveira in the finals with a nasty heel hook. De Oliveira took second, and Abreu defeated Jared Dopp for third place.
Finally, an upset! In the mens 99 kg division, Dean Lister looked to leg lock his way to the top for the second time in a row. He was successful against Cristiano Lazzarini, finishing the fight quickly with a heel hook. No. 2 seed Joao Assis also finished his first opponent and eventual third place recipient, Leonardo Nogueira, by heel hook.
In the finals, Assis fought a smart match, cautiously trying to pass guard and avoid the leg attacks He swept Lister to go up on points, forcing Lister to get aggressive. This only benefited Assis, who passed his guard and took his back right before the clock ran out to win ADCC gold.
There's fair bit of controversy concerning the 88 kg division. Rafael Lovato Jr. defeated Pablo Popovitch in a close, but clear, points victory. On the other side of the bracket, Brazilian jiu-jitsu wunderkind Keenan Cornelius took on the always tough Romolo Barral. By most accounts, Cornelius swept Barral, which would have earned him the necessary points to win.
However, Brazilian judging doesn't exist solely in mixed martial arts (MMA), and Cornelius ended up losing.
In the finals, Barral and Lovato Jr. had a back-and-forth match. Lovato Jr. had the edge early, but he slowly fatigued while Barral only got stronger. By the end of the match, Lovato Jr. was shooting for desperate takedowns but couldn't complete them. Barral capitalized on one to pass his guard and win on points. Barrals takes gold, Lovato Jr. earns silver and Cornelius gets bronze, as Popovitch was injured and couldn't wrestle for it.
ADCC 2013 may be remembered as Kron Gracie's event. The son of the legendary Rickson Gracie absolutely shredded his competition, submitting all four of his opponents. First, he scrambled around the mat with American J.T. Torres, before catching an arm lock. His next match with Otavio Souza was an interesting one.
For what I'd guess was a little under 10 minutes (despite all the money viewers paid, ADCC couldn't be bothered to provided clock), the two men pushed each other around on the feet. Souza was warned for stalling twice before eventually going for a blast double leg. Gracie immediately locked in and finished a guillotine. The fight was on the mat for less than 10 seconds.
For whatever reason, it appears Torres and Leo Vieira -- the man Souza beat in the semifinals -- never wrestled. It's not clear who took third.
The 66 kg division had a ton of potential and partially lived up to it. On one side of the bracket, Rafael Mendes faced jiu-jitsu prodigy Joao Miyao. Some people really dislike the Miyao brother's style of constant inversion and berimbolo attempts, but I was certainly entertained by it. In the end, Mendes was just a little too crafty and won on points.
Mendes' eternal rival Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles was the favorite on the other side of the bracket. He also defeated his first opponent, Justin Rader, via points to move onto the finals vs Mendes. This is at least the tenth time they've met each other in tournaments, and it's almost always a super close match.
This was no different.
"Cobrinha" and Mendes dueled on the feet for 40 straight minutes. It was pretty ugly and excruciatingly slow at times, but it was clear "Cobrinha" had the slightest edge on the feet. Eventually, his pressure and near takedowns earned him the judges decision and a gold medal.
In the third place match, Rader primarily avoided Miyao's guard for 20 minutes. He did very little offensively, but still managed to win on points. ADCC has a rule penalizing guard pulling, which eventually lost Miyao the match. I really dislike this victory, as Miyao was absolutely the aggressor and came closer to do anything jiu-jitsu related than Rader did.
In the absolute division, "Cyborg" Abreu managed to finally claim ADCC gold. He defeated both Gary Tonon and Keenan Cornelius via points to get into the finals. In the finals, he met up with "Buchecha" Almeida, who had defeated him via points earlier that day. Almeida defeated Lister on points, as well as outpointing Rustam Chsiev in a grueling match.
This time around, "Cyborg" was simply the fresher fighter. He was able to hit takedowns multiple times and then pass guard. He even nearly took the back a few times. "Buchecha" was game, but he was too tired from previous match ups to repeat his earlier performance. In the final seconds, Almeida was charging forward with lengthy double attempts, but it was too late. "Cyborg" wins absolute gold in a 10-0 points victory.
Cornelius and Lister had an entertaining duel for third place. Cornelius went after Lister, repeatedly locking in tight triangles and one extremely dangerous arm bar. However, Lister is very tough to finish and would eventually inch his way to safety. Cornelius also had success passing Lister's guard and positionally capitalizing on his heel hook attempts, earning him a points victory and a second bronze medal.
Just before the absolute finals, a super fight between Mario Sperry and Fabio Gurgel was fit in. It was a pretty boring match overall, with Sperry looking to muscle takedowns, and Gurgel getting tired half way through. Eventually, Sperry's takedown attempts and passing pressure won him the referee's decision.
The less said about this one the better.
ADCC 2013 Worlds was an entertaining event full of great fighters and matches. However, it really felt like ADCC was fighting itself. Choosing to stage an event in China was a horrible decision. The stands were almost empty the entire time, and it made the event last until about 5 a.m. ET for viewers in the United States.
In addition, ADCC was very disorganized. No one knew when the matches started, and they started a day before advertised. Getting out information is the basic job of any promotion, that's the reason it's called -- you guessed it -- a promotion.
ADCC absolutely failed in this regard.
The worst part of ADCC this year was the streaming. Not only did it charge individually for streams ($20 per stream and $60 total), but it didn't make the information of who would be on what stream available. For example, if you really wanted to see Lovato Jr. wrestle, well you better pay up or make a lucky guess.
That's absurd, and it wasn't as if the quality of the streams made up for it. It didn't have to constantly buffer, which was good, but it got plenty blurry at times. The announcer, who I believe was speaking Mandarin, was pronouncing the names so poorly that there was a mad scramble to figure out who was wrestling every time a new match started.
In the finals, they had former Pride FC announcer Lenne Hardt yell out the contestants' names. While she isn't always the easiest to understand, it was a huge improvement from the previous announcer. I'm not sure the reason ADCC couldn't have her -- or anyone really -- follow up the first announcer's ramblings with an English or even Portuguese speaker.
It just doesn't make sense.