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ADCC 2019 Preview

ADCC 2019 Preview


ADCC: The Biggest Tournament in Grappling 

The ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship is coming up next month, and I am so excited! I’ve been watching highlight reels of the 2017 tournament all month. 

For those newer to the sport, ADCC is the most prestigious tournament in submission grappling. Each division is a sixteen-man war, with competitors fighting the best in the world to get to the top of the podium. Rising stars get to meet established talent and legends are made in the sweat of this tournament. 

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Back in 1993, Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was attending college in California. He became enamored with jiu jitsu following Royce Gracie’s UFC, and started training immediately. Upon graduating and returning home in 1998, he established the Abu Dhabi Combat Club. High level coaches were brought in to teach in every discipline, and the club became a sanctuary for combat sports. 

Tahnoon wanted to go a step further though and create a tournament where the best grapplers would prove themselves. The first ADCC championship was held in March 1998 and expanded from there every year with level of competition and viewer interest. 


For each division there are sixteen spots. Eight of the spots go to winners of the “Trials”, qualifying tournaments held around the world. The Trials are organized by region, two for North America and Europe, and one in South America,  and the Asia and Oceania region with first and second place winners of each division advancing to the world championship.

The other eight spots go to invites. The previous division champion is always invited back, and the other seven are offered to highly accomplished grapplers around the world. This set up allows for new rising talent to go against the greatest names in the sport. 


Standard matches are ten minutes, finals go for twenty minutes. For the first half of a match no points are awarded (Negative points can be given though, more on that later). Points are not live until the second half of the match. This is to allow competitors to be more aggressive with going for takedowns and submission attempts without worrying about being scored on if they fail. 

ADCC scoring is also different from most grappling tournaments. Points are as follows:

  • 2 points for knee on belly
  • 2 points for mount 
  • 3 points for passing guard 
  • 3 points for back control (with hooks in)
  • 2 points takedowns that ends in a guard
  • 4 points for clean takedowns (ends passed the guard)
  • 2 points for a sweep that ends in a guard
  • 4 points for a clean sweep (ends passed the guard)
  • -1 point for pulling guard 
  • -1 for passivity

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This tournament places a huge emphasis on takedowns, which forces many grapplers to adjust their game. Negative points can be awarded in the first half, so competitors are forced to be aggressive and actively wrestle for takedowns. All of this is to make sure all aspects of the grappling game are represented and to have exciting matches. 

Grapplers to Watch 

Craig Jones made a name for himself in the 2017 ADCC when choked Leandro Lo. Though he didn’t win that year, he cemented his place on the scene and has been a rising star ever since. His coach, Lachlan Giles, is a veteran of a few ADCCs now and his competing again this year. Both grapplers have risen up the ranks in recent years, and it will be interesting to see if they can cement a place as some of the greatest.
Gordon “The King” Ryan is another competitor to keep an eye on. After winning the -88kg category in 2017, Ryan has moved up to the -99kg. Ryan injured his knee in February, and this will be the first time he has competed since. Ryan has a nearly flawless record at blackbelt however, and hopefully can overcome the challenges. His teammates, Nicky Ryan and Nicky Rodriguez are competing for the first time as well this year. 

Lastly, Atos coach Andre Galvao defends his absolute champion title against Felipe Pena. Andre has defended his title several times now, and his looking to add another defense to that record. 

Watch all of these epic clashes in September! This is probably one of the most stacked ADCC tournaments in history. The future champions of the sport are going to be hunting for their spots. 

Join John Danaher with the latest installment of his systematic approach to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Check Out "Enter The System: Arm Bar" and get to work on improving your armbar game! BJJ Fanatics has it here!



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