What’s going on in the world of BJJ?
We’ve got you covered for all your BJJ-related news and happenings in this version of our monthly recap (March 2021).
First (Legal) Heel Hooks in IBJJF History
History was made on 8 March 2021 when Stanley Rosa of Bronx Martial Arts Academy – an affiliate of Renzo Gracie – secured the first official IBJJF victory via heel hook at the Dallas Open. It was only fitting that Oliver Taza of the Danaher Death Squad/Renzo Gracie Team secured the second heel hook (and then one more for good measure) shortly after.
What will the IBJJF scene look like in the next few years now that heel hooks are finally starting to make their way into the no-gi brown and black belt divisions?
F2W 166, 167, 168 Results
The Fight 2 Win promotion had another busy month, putting on 3 more exciting events. Here are some of the key results from their trio of shows in March.
F2W 166 (13 March 2021) saw William Tackett score a slick scissor takedown on Manuel Ribamar before securing a heel hook to take the victory in the no-gi finale of the night.
In the gi, Rafael Lovato Jr. overpowered Gabriel Almeida. Lovato Jr. locked up a kimura from side control after a strong knee cut pass to take the win.
Elsewhere on the card, Alexandre Ceconi defeated James Puopolo via decision, and Joshua Cisneros defeated Lucas Pinheiro via decision. Both matches were in the gi.
In no-gi, Nick Ronan defeated Justin Renick via decision, and Gleidson Cutis defeated Joshua Sharpless via decision.
F2W 167 (20 March 2021) saw Victor Hugo continue his dominance in his second year at black belt with a heel hook victory over the always tough Tim Spriggs in their no-gi main event matchup. In the gi, Gabriel Sousa squeezed out a split decision victory over Osvaldo Queixinho.
There were many other black and brown belt matches on the card, both gi and no-gi. Some highlights from these matches include Jake Watson earning a decision win over rising start Pedro Marinho (gi) and Thiago Macedo managing to get a split decision win over Cole Franson (no-gi).
In total, there were 15 black belt matches, 8 brown belt matches, and a 39% submission rate.
F2W 168 (27 March, 2021) saw Nathiely De Jesus take out Kendall Reusing with a tight choke from the back. The exciting matchup earned the pair fight of the night honours, capping off what proved to be another awesome all-women’s card.
Maria Malyjasiak bounced back from a loss in her last F2W outing to secure the win over veteran Hannette Staack. Also, Lyzz Mitrovic bested Sylvia Araujo. Both wins were via decision.
Elsewhere on the main card, Luiza Monteiro snatched up a quick kneebar, submitting Vedha Toscano for the win (submission of the night). Also, Tracey Goodell secured what looked to be a key-lock variation from the bottom against Tessa Simpson, which was enough to get the tap for the win.
The rest of the card was full of talented grapplers and exciting matchups all the way from black belt to blue belt, plus kids and teens to kick off the event.
Fight 2 Win put on another three quality events in the month of March, and they have three more events planned for April.
This organization is doing amazing things for the sport by giving these outstanding athletes an opportunity to compete at the professional level. What’s more, the organization is doing a lot for both men’s and women’s grappling. We’re excited to see what they have in store for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds (21 March 2021) Results: The Bantamweights
Eddie Bravo’s Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ) Worlds was back for another wild event. This time around, a new champion was crowned!
The 16-man finish-only tournament saw 9 of the 15 total matches end in submission in regulation time.
Elias Anderson walked away the champion, defeating Richard Alarcon in the finals via armbar in EBI overtime.
Alarcon’s path to the finals saw him defeat Manuel Priego via kimura in the first round. He then defeated Marcelo Cohen via rear naked choke in the quarter-finals. Alarcon punched his ticket to the final with a win over Suraj Budhram in the semi-finals via fastest escape time in EBI overtime.
Anderson’s path to the championship saw him open with a victory over Isaac Cordova via fastest escape in EBI overtime in the first round. He then beat Zack Schneider via armbar in the quarter-finals. Finally, he took out Ben Eddy via fastest escape time in EBI overtime to make his way to the finals.
Update: Gordon Ryan Signs Contract with One Championships (22 March 2021)
On Monday, 22 March 2021, it was announced that the face of submission grappling, Gordon ‘The King’ Ryan, had signed a contract with ONE Championship.
The deal will see Ryan compete in submission grappling for the time being, with an option for him to make the transition to mixed martial arts in the future.
Read more about the deal here (https://www.onefc.com/news/submission-grappling-goat-gordon-ryan-signs-with-one-championship/).
WNO (26 March 2021) Results: Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha
Gordon Ryan made good on his promise, submitting Vagner Rocha in their match at WNO.
What’s more is that Gordon left an envelope at the announcers’ table before the match, which indicated that he would finish Vagner with a triangle… and then he actually did it.
This was another dominant performance from Gordon. However, Vagner did well to defend many of Gordon’s attacks before finally getting submitted. The two also had some time to engage in some mid-match trash talk, but the pair were friendly after the event was over.
Overall, the main event did not disappoint and has left us all wondering: What’s next for Gordon Ryan? Is it finally time for a matchup with rising star Victor Hugo?
Elsewhere on the WNO card, Nick Rodriguez showed tremendous guard passing against the elite Yuri Simoes. The relentless pressure from top position was enough to get Rodriguez the decision win.
Mikey Musumeci competed in no-gi for the first time since 2016 and used slick technique to set up and finish a triangle-armbar against Marcelo Cohen.
Rafaela Guedes put an aggressive pace on Maggie Grindatti, who did well to defend and counter the many attacks from Guedes. Ultimately, the non-stop offence was enough to get Guedes the victory via decision.
Also on the main card, Oliver Taza earned a decision win over Johnny Tama thanks to a collection of leg attacks, some of which looked like they put Tama in quite a bit of danger. Tama did well to defend, but it wasn’t enough, and Taza walked away the victor.
UFC 260 (27 March 2021) – Two Slick Submissions
While mixed martial arts news doesn’t always find its way into these BJJ monthly recaps, how could we not mention two amazing submissions from the card headlined by Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou?
Vincente Luque shocked Tyron Woodley with a slick D’arce choke, and Alonzo Menifield locked up a rare Von Flue choke against Fabio Cherant.
It’s always great to see high-level grapplers showcasing their BJJ skills on such a large stage.
Submission Underground (SUG) (28 March 2021)
Chael Sonnen’s grappling promotion put on another exciting night of super fights, with two titles on the line, as well as a special tag team match.
In the main event, Mason Fowler defended his absolute title against Richie Martinez, winning via armbar. Fowler has consistently proved himself to be one of the most dangerous heavyweight grapplers in the world right now.
In the co-main event, Amanda Loewen defended her absolute title against Roxanne Modafferi, winning via armbar in overtime. This marks the fifth UFC veteran that Loewen has taken out in her stint with SUG. Another impressive win for Loewen.
Elsewhere on the main card, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane secured an overtime victory via armbar over Jessica Eye. Andy Varela took out Satoshi Ishii in overtime via fastest escape time.
Also on the main card, Team ATT (Ricky and John Simon) beat Team GFC (Mike Currier and Willie Audifre) in the innovative tag-team matchup.
The undercard was also filled with submissions, most of which came in overtime.
There you have it. Now, you’re all caught-up on key events in the BJJ world from March.
Tune in next month for a recap of everything that happened in April.
Until then… stay rolling, and protect your neck! (And your legs, and arms, and wrists… you get it).