No Ryan Hall? – Why you should still watch Polaris 24

Polaris, the biggest grappling show in the UK, is back for more no-gi excellence even without Ryan Hall on the card.

By: Kevin Bradley | 4 months ago
No Ryan Hall? – Why you should still watch Polaris 24

This weekend, Polaris 24 brings some of the best international grapplers together at Fairfield Halls in London. With 10-minute rounds and submission-oriented scoring, cards blaze by as viewers get a glimpse of the grappling scene beyond the states. Returning favorites and gold on the line notwithstanding, the show has plenty to entice the longtime fans and newcomers alike. Here’s all you need to know about this can’t-miss no gi BJJ showcase.

ADCC-level talent

Easy way to stack your grappling card? Take an ADCC trials roster and go from there.

The Polaris 24 roster is full of ADCC trials winners and tournament vets recent and longtime. Keith Kirkorian made waves with his dream fulfilling win at the 2022 trials, further adding to a storied career of no gi competition. Tom Halpin of ADCC and Combat Jiu-Jitsu fame will holster the slaps in his bout with Kirkorian, taking the Polaris stage for the first time since his decision win over Alessio Sacchetti last September. This will be Halpin’s first pro match of the year, and Kirkorian’s third following a loss to Keita Iwamoto at SOGI.

Eoghan O’Flanagan is one of the dominant Europeans in the ADCC space, with gold medals at trials and impressive submission wins over the likes of Mason Fowler at the 2022 ADCC’s. He takes on the equally dangerous American National champ Hunter Colvin, in what’s set to be a battle for the back given the men’s skillsets.

Returning Polaris vets Dinu Bucalet will take on debuting athletes in brown belt Ollie Webb card. Bucalet has long been a Polaris favorite, notably winning gold at the 2022 ADCC Spain open and securing an incredibly rare Ezekiel choke choke from inside closed guard at Polaris Squads 3.

Orchard and Crelinsten run it back

Filling absences by Ryan Hall and Ashley Williams is no small feat. Hall has devastated limbs inside the UFC octagon for years on top of his pro grappling career, and Williams has dominated MMA stars like Carlos Condit on the Polaris mat. But taking their place are two legendary American grapplers with a perfect rivalry to continue

10th Planet’s Nate Orchard and B-Team’s Ethan Crelinsten will face off in a superfight for the Polaris lightweight title. Orchard has competed in several Polaris events, most recently Polaris 20 collecting a draw against Luis Paulo. Last December, his 10th Planet crew shocked the BJJ world by upsetting Crelinsten’s B-Team squad at Combat Jiu-Jitsu World: Team Duel with four eliminations and one submission. Crelinsten defeated Orchard earlier in 2022 to win the CJJ world title, and the two have not fought traditional BJJ since Crelinsten handily defeated Orchard at Chokes By The Ocean in 2016.

Despite his 10th Planet origins, Orchard has a very well-developed wrestling game to complement his bottom attacks. But as Crelinsten has proven, he’s more than capable of finding top position and smothering any opponent. This match gives both Crelinsten a shot at revenge for his CJJ team, and Orchard the chance to defeat his B-team rival on old school BJJ.

Jed Hue is slept on

Headlining the card is a welterweight championship bout between Jed Hue and Mateusz Szczeciński. Both no strangers to Polaris, with Szczeciński unloading brutal leg attacks both here and at ADCC and Hue taking home the Polaris Challengers championship in 2019.

Fresh off a gold medal showing at the ADCC Denmark Open, Hue brings both ADCC and IBJJF winning experience to this match. Though Szczeciński has minimized his leg lock bona fides with his proven leg defense, the Polish star seems to be underselling the danger Hue poses.

“[…] he’s a very good leg locker, and it’s very hard to leg lock me,” Szczeciński stated in an interview with Polaris.

Hue is a student of Roger Gracie black belt Ross Nicholls, and spent years as a submission-only beast in the UK tournament space. Almost ignored leading up to the Polaris 22 Grand Prix tournament last November, Hue wowed audiences with wins over Alan Sanchez and ADCC trials winner Oliver Taza before losing a tight finals match against Roberto Jimenez. A win against Szczeciński would firmly plant the English grappler into the next tier of international competition.

Where/When/How to watch

The event prelims kicks off Saturday, June 3 at 9 am EST at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, London. The main card is estimated to start at at 2:30 EST.

Catch all the premim matches on the Polaris YouTube channel here, and the main card on UFC Fight Pass here.

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About the author
Kevin Bradley
Kevin Bradley

Kevin Bradley is a writer covering Bloody Elbow’s grappling beat. A longtime BJJ hobbyist, he began covering combat sports in 2018 for the Jiu-Jitsu Times with athlete interviews and fight breakdowns. He branched into audio the following year, producing and co-hosting the JJT Podcast for its 100 episode run. After a writing hiatus, occasionally contributing to various sites in the interim, he joined BE in late 2022.

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