Grappling Report: Ex-UFC champ Aljamain Sterling books BJJ superfight; Gordon Ryan in stacked WNO card

Nicholas Meregali wins the IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix, some of the best no gi grapplers on the planet are about to compete, and more BJJ news in this week's grappling report.

By: Alex Lindsey | 3 weeks ago
Grappling Report: Ex-UFC champ Aljamain Sterling books BJJ superfight; Gordon Ryan in stacked WNO card

Aljamain Sterling to compete in main event of Polaris 25

The main attraction for Polaris 25 is a fantastic absolute grand prix, featuring 8 of the best BJJ stars on the planet battling it out for a grand prize of $30,000. As is usual when the promotion arranges stacked tournaments, they’ve also announced a slate of preliminary card matchups and finally a main event superfight to accompany it. The superfight features an incredibly surprising turn of events, as former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling will be facing UK MMA star Nathaniel Wood.

This is one of the few times that Sterling has decided to take a submission grappling match, although he has a wealth of experience competing as a wrestler long before he ever embarked on a professional MMA career. He had over a hundred matches during his time as an NCAA Division III wrestler and will be looking to use that experience alongside his BJJ black belt to put in a dominant performance against Wood, who will no doubt be the local favorite.

Gordon Ryan, other BJJ stars in WNO Night of Champions lineup

Who’s Number One are about to stage their 20th event on October 1st, 2023 and they’ve pulled out all the stops stacking BJJ champs on for their ‘Night of Champions’. Gordon Ryan is returning in the main event to defend his heavyweight title against Patrick Gaudio, while Pedro Marinho is putting his light-heavyweight belt on the line against Rafael Lovato Jr. Elsewhere on the card, Nathiely De Jesus is challenging Rafaele Guedes for the heavyweight title and Brianna Ste-Marie meets Elisabeth Clay for the vacant featherweight title.

There are two more vacant titles available at Night of Champions, but WNO have arranged 4-man tournaments for these instead. Diogo Reis, Ashley Williams, Keith Krikorian, and Gabriel Sousa are battling it out for the men’s featherweight title, and it’s tough to pick a clear winner in such an impressive bracket. The welterweight tournament is equally stacked, with Mica Galvao, PJ Barch, Jacob Rodriguez, and Andrew Tackett set to meet in it.

Nicholas Meregali Wins IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix 2023

Jiu-Jitsu Con 2023 has come and gone, bringing with it a series of impressive tournaments over the course of one week. The event broke the record for the biggest BJJ tournament of all time, with over 10,000 competitors booking their place in one of the dozens of divisions available. There were some big names taking part everywhere you look, but naturally the biggest part of the week was the IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix 2023.

Nicholas Meregali and Victor Hugo were equally impressive on either side of the bracket at the tournament, with both of them submitting their first two opponents and booking their place in the final opposite one another. This was clearly the toughest challenge of the night for both men, but Meregali managed to clinch the victory by scoring the only 2 points of the match. There was also several fun superfights throughout, featuring great performances from the likes of Cole Abate and Tainan Dalpra.

Full results for the event can be found here.

Competitor List confirmed at first trial for ADCC 2024

The ADCC European, Middle-Eastern, and African trial is fast approaching, where the promotion will begin it’s build-up for ADCC 2024. The entries have now closed and the full competitor list has been confirmed, with several elite grapplers stepping in to every division. Some veterans from ADCC 2022 are returning to make another run at glory, like Ashley Williams and Sam McNally at 66kg, Tommy Langaker and Mateusz Szczecinski at 77kg, and Dan Manasoiu at over 99kg.

While they will naturally have the edge when it comes to competition experience under the ADCC ruleset, there are a number of other competitors who will present tough challenges. Exciting grapplers like Robert Degle, Kamil Wilk, and Freddie Vosgrone are also competing at the event, while top prospects like Davis Asare and Jozef Chen are both making the journey over to Poland to represent New Wave and B-Team Jiu-Jitsu respectively.

The full competitor list for the event can be found here.

ADCC poster

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About the author
Alex Lindsey
Alex Lindsey

Alex has been involved in BJJ and MMA since 2008 and has been writing about both sports since 2019.

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