The reward for getting out of bed before sunrise this morning was match after match of great grappling action as day one of ADCC 2017 kicked off. After the first series of matches there were a number of surprising upsets and stellar performances to talk about.
After one day of action, Craig Jones is perhaps the name that has the grappling community abuzz. The Australian-born competitor put the rest of the bracket and the grappling world on notice when he defeated not only Leandro Lo and Murilo Santana, but he submitted both men to move into the semifinals. Lo was one of the names expected to make it far in the bracket but Jones stopped the Brazilian powerhouse; finishing him with a rear-naked choke. Santana is another competitor that has seen widespread success in action but he was unable to get pass Jones as well. That match ended when Jones forced the tap out via a flying triangle.
With those wins he joins Gordon Ryan, Keenan Cornelius and “Xande” Ribeiro in the next round. Ribeiro defeated Rustam Chsiev via an armbar; knocking another name expected to reach the finals from the tournament. In his first match he defeated John Salter with an armbar as well. Ryan fought a tough opening match against Dillon Danis before submitting Romulo Barral with a rear naked choke to move into the semifinal round.
In the 66 kilograms division, the semifinal includes Rubens Charles, Paulo Miao, Pablo Mantovani and AJ Agazarm.
Agazarm defeated Ethan Crelinsten in the second round, after a touching moment in his first match. Agazarm faced off against Nicky Ryan, Gordon’s 16-year old brother, who stepped into the tournament as a late replacement. After the match Agazarm raised Ryan’s hand to applause for the fight that the young competitor put forth.
The 77 kilogram semifinal features four big names and two, can’t-miss matchups. Vagner Rocha, Lucas Lepri, Garry Tonon and JT Torres are the four men remaining in this division. This was one of the deepest divisions in the entire tournament and four of the most recognizable names moved through to the semis, putting together dream matches in the process.
The same could be said for the 99 kilograms group. Yuri Simoes is on a quest to earn his second straight ADCC gold medal. He defeated Roman Dolidze and Mike Perez to reach this point. He’s joined by Felipe Pena, Rafael Lovato and Jackson Sousa. Sousa defeated Paul Ardila and Joao Assis to reach this point. Pena bested Yukiyasu Ozawa and Abdurakhman Bilarov to reach the semis. Lovato went through Mahamed Aly and Eliot Kelly in his first two matches.
Orlando Sanchez is also pushing to defend his title as he has made it into day two of competition. He will be joined by Jared Dopp, Marcus Almeida and Roberto Abreu when the day two action kicks off. While Sanchez is the defending champion many feel that “Buchecha” or “Cyborg” are the names to beat in the division, setting up some compelling bouts for day two.
The women’s side of the action was not without their own upsets. Defending champion, Mackenzie Dern was defeated by Elvira Karppinen on points; setting up for a new champion to be crowed on Sunday. Beatriz Mesquita, Michelle Nicolini and Bianca Basilio also moved on to the next round of competition.
Gabi Garcia is looking to earn her third gold medal at ADCC as she’s advanced to the second round. Along with Garcia, 2017 silver medalist, Jessica da Silva Oliveira has advanced. They are joined by Talita Nogueira and Samantha Cook.
Widely considered the “Olympics” of competitive grappling, ADCC 2017 has not disappointed with a first day full of high octane action. Livestreaming is available through FloGrappling when the final day of competition starts on Sunday.
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