The UK jiu-jitsu scene has steadily grown as the sport has matured, as evidenced by the professionalism of the recent super fight events that have been delivering excellent grappling-based action.
Since 2017, GrappleFest has been bringing in top jiu-jitsu athletes from all over the world to compete on their shows in Liverpool. GrappleFest alumni include Marcio Andre, Ffion Davies, Craig Jones, Matheus Diniz, Lachlan Giles, Tayane Porfirio, and many other elite competitors. GrappleFest 10 took place on Saturday November 20th with multiple professional bouts across various weight classes.
Dante Leon retains the 77kg GrappleFest belt, pushing the pace against Oliver Taza
In the main event, Dante Leon of Pedigo Submission Fighting took on 2021 ADCC European Trials champion Oliver Taza. Taza pulled guard very early in the match and Dante got right into his passing game. Most of the match was spent with Dante trying to knee cut his way through Taza’s half guard. With about 8:30 left in the match, Dante changed directions on a guard pass and nearly solidified the side control, but Taza fought hard to regain his guard. The closest submission of the match came right near the end, as Dante countered Taza’s under hook with a front headlock, diving past the legs in an effort to finish a choke. Taza defended well but the constant pressure and submission attempt were enough to earn Dante Leon the decision victory, retaining his 77 kg GrappleFest belt.
Ruotolo brothers continue to thrill with unique styles of jiu-jitsu
Kade and Tye Ruotolo returned to GrappleFest for a third time this weekend. They competed at the 7th and 8th editions of the event, where Kade defeated Jeremy Skinner and Ashley Williams while Tye earned a victory over Thomas Halpin and dropped a decision to Dante Leon. Each of them has only loss in 2021 and both had big wins at the 2021 WNO Championships.
Kade’s opponent this weekend was Keith Krikorian, a 10th Planet black belt who competes very frequently, recently placing second in the 66 kg division at the ADCC East Coast Trials. Kade also competed in the Trials, winning the 77 kg division after seven matches. Krikorian started the match by pulling guard and looking for leg locks, a strategy he used to great success at the ADCC East Coast Trials. Kade seemed well prepared for this strategy, as he was able to pass Krikorian’s guard just over two minutes into the match. The rest of the match saw Kade attempt to pass the guard and take Keith’s back off of the leg entanglements. He found success with about 2:25 left in the match, countering Krikorian’s 50/50 position and taking his back. Kade’s passing and back attacks earned him the decision victory over Krikorian.
Tye Ruotolo competed against Nick Ronan, a Matt Serra black belt who specializes in the leg lock game. On the feet, Tye utilized his wrestling to hit multiple double leg takedowns throughout the match. Once it hit the mat, Tye began to use to his unique leg pin style of passing, stepping on Ronan’s ankles and using dynamic side to side movement to get around his opponent’s legs. Ronan’s best moment of the match came from a kani basami guard pull right into a leg lock attack, but Tye was able to break the position apart and eventually counter the leg entanglement to get to Ronan’s back. Tye’s takedowns, guard passing, and back take earned him the unanimous decision victory, his second win under the GrappleFest banner.
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