For the second time, jiu-jitsu-focused promotion Metamoris held an event tonight (Sun., June 9, 2013) from Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif., featuring several of the best grapplers on the planet. Headlined by Kron Gracie and Shinya Aoki, this card looked to be an exciting event filled with desirable grappling match ups.
However, despite a very entertaining main event, Metamoris 2 ended up being a disappointing event when compared to its predecessor.
In the opening bout of the night, late replacements J.T. Torres and Victor Estima fought a close match that eventually ended in a draw. A majority of the fight took place in Estima's guard, where he held a foot wrap and looked for opportunities to bend Torres' ankle.
While Torres demonstrated good balance and defense from the top, he was unable to do much. Overall, Estima was more effective with his sweeps and submission attempts. However, the judges decided it wasn't enough to earn the victory and declared it a draw.
It wasn't a bad match, but nor was it very exciting. Unfortunately, it set the tone for most of the card.
Metamoris 2 held the first-ever women's match up in the promotion's history. Michelle Nicolini and Mackenzie Dern had a footlock-heavy war that went the distance. The ladies spent much time in the 50-50- and double-guard, both searching for footlocks.
At times, there were lightning fast scrambles, but for the most part, both competitors slowly looked for advantages. Over the course of the match, both blackbelts came close to footlocks. And in the last minute of the match, Nicolini nearly finished with a nasty kneebar.
After time ran out, the judges decided that neither athlete was dominant enough to earn the decision, marking the second draw where both fighters spent most of the match looking for footlocks.
The third match up of the night, Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu vs. Brendan Schaub took an ugly turn. Many expected a quick, dominant victory for "Cyborg," but unfortunately for the Brazilian, Schaub didn't come to compete. Instead, Schaub simply avoided a fight rather than taking a risk and trying to win.
Early on, Schaub was quick to retreat away from Abreu whenever it appeared that some jiu-jitsu might actually occur. While this is excusable early, as tiring out "Cyborg" was likely his only path to victory, his complete inability to turn it up late is not. Throughout the entire match, Abreu walked down Schaub as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight ran away.
On the few occasions the pair did hit the mat, "Cyborg" would roll into his preferred position -- the tornado guard. However, Schaub would escape back to his feet almost immediately. This pattern repeated throughout the entire match, as the audience mercilessly booed "The Hybrid."
In the last minute of the match, things got a little bit interesting. "Cyborg" shot in for a double-leg takedown, which Schaub defended pretty easily. Then, Schaub went for a guillotine, which Abreu countered and passed Schaub's guard.
Unfortunately, the clock ran out before he could attempt any submissions.
The judges decided that Abreu earned the decision. Afterward, "Cyborg" called out Schaub for avoiding the grappling and Schaub answered by making lame excuses and calling out "Meathead" Matt Mitrione. In short, this match was a mess and Schaub should be embarrassed.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the night, Rafael Lovato Jr. took on Andre Galvao following the break. After a pretty slow opening three fights, the pressure was on for them to deliver.
Thankfully, they did for much of the match.
Early on, both men pushed the other on the feet, looking for an advantage. Galvao tested the waters with a guard pull and then a flying triangle. The triangle started out well, but Lovato was able to break out. Next, Galvao pulled half guard and was able to sweep Lovato. Each time Lovato was swept, he was able to get back to his feet, but he couldn't mount any aggression of his own.
By the end of the match, Galvao had swept Lovato multiple times and made a nice final impression by passing his guard twice. For the second time, the judges decided on a winner, and Galvao earned his first win at Metamoris.
In the co-main event of the evening, Rodolfo "The Black Belt Hunter" Vieira took on Braulio Estima. Unfortunately, this match was nearly 18 minutes of the same position.
Estima pulled guard early and grabbed one of Vieira's lapels. This grip was very important, allowing Estima to resist most of Vieira's guard pass attempts for nearly the whole fight. Vieira continued to attempt to pass, but couldn't make it work, as Estima was able to spin back to guard every time.
However, with around one minute left, Vieira jumped onto a fatiguing Estima's arm mid-guard pass. He nearly locked it up, but Estima was able to escape with just a few seconds left. Luckily for Vieira, this last second armbar was enough to sway the judges and he earned the decision.
While it was an excellent display of guard passing defense, this match was no barn burner.
After five straight decisions, all eyes were on Kron Gracie and Shinya Aoki to finally finish a match. Thankfully, the fans got their wish when "Tobikan Judan" was finished with a guillotine around five minutes in.
Early on, both guys cautiously toyed with the other on the feet. After several minutes, Gracie pulled guard. He initially attempted a high closed guard, then opened up. When he opened his guard, Aoki dived in, and Gracie locked in a guillotine. Aoki rolled a few times and managed to get out, but Gracie held onto a headlock from his back.
As Gracie controlled his head, Aoki attempted to jump around his legs. When he went to move to side control, Gracie went for the guillotine again. This time, he had it tight. Quickly rolling Aoki into mount, Gracie finished the arm-in guillotine along the very edge of the mat for the first and only submission of the evening.
The impressive victory marked Gracie's second submission finish at Metamoris. And since he was the only one to finish his opponent, the Brazilian earned his second "Submission of the Night" bonus.
While this event had its positive moments, it also had quite a few flaws. The opening two bouts had both combatants spend most of their time fighting for footlocks, causing the action to stall. Since they were gi matches, neither fighter was allowed to heel hook, a move that was open at several times for many of the athletes tonight. One possible solution is to allow heel hooks in the gi, which would lead to more finishes and less holding in the 50-50 guard.
In addition, Schaub's match was a joke. He essentially did the jiu-jitsu equivalent of the infamous Kalib Starnes versus Nate Quarry debacle, running away for 20 minutes. He wasted the audiences time and then had the audacity to claim he was giving back to jiu-jitsu. If Metamoris wants to involve mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in its events, then it should make sure they have a solid grappling base such as Aoki.
Regardless, Metamoris announced the headlining fight of its next card, Eddie Bravo vs. Royler Gracie, a rematch nearly 10 years old in which Bravo triangled Gracie for a huge upset victory (full recap here). Many consider Bravo's win a fluke, and now he has a chance to prove otherwise.
If the rematch actually comes to fruition (it's been killed before) it would be huge for Metamoris because most die-hard jiu-jitsu fans have been dying to see it for years.
Hopefully, it will live up to the hype.
For complete Metamoris 2: "Gracie vs. Aoki" blow-by-blow coverage and official results click here.