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Top 10 First Round Matchups at 2019 ADCC (Including One You Won't Believe)

Top 10 First Round Matchups at 2019 ADCC (Including One You Won't Believe)


The brackets are out for the 2019 ADCC and THEY ARE FIRE! Everyone is breaking out their crystal ball and trying to predict the best finals, semifinals, and quarterfinals, but we don't need to look past the first round for amazing matchups. Everyone here is a killer, and upsets will happen. Let's look at some of the best matchups that are happening very first round. Some are huge because of the past credentials, some are just stylistically interesting. Let's see.

66 kilograms starts SO STRONG with 2018 IBJJF World Champion Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor taking on Danaher prodigy Nicky Ryan. Shane has really limited no-gi experience, but has beaten a lot of the best guys in the world. Nicky has a huge background in no-gi, and a style that tailored just for this, but lacks the experience. Which is going to matter more? Last time here, Nicky lost first round to AJ Agazarm, who made the finals. This is Jamil's first ADCC. Will Nicky be able to Enter The System? Will Jamil add no-gi success to his already impressive resume? 66 also has 2019 World IBJJF Champion Matheus Gabriel taking on 10th Planet freak Geo Martinez, in another similar match up. Geo wants to be the 10th Planet guy who breaks through to the world championship level in ADCC or IBJJF, and brings the rubber guard/truck/leg lock style to every fight. Matheus Gabriel has had a breakout year as a debuting black belt, winning IBJJF Pans and Worlds. Even still, he stumbled at No-Gi Worlds, losing by submission to Kennedy.

77 kilograms has a matchup that was specifically requested by the underdog: Lachlan Giles (one of our biggest sellers and an Aussie fan favorite) taking on 2-time ADCC silver medalist Lucas Lepri. Lachlan wants this one because he sees habits in Lepri's top game that he can exploit. Lachlan is a very strategic and smart competitor, so the fact he asked for this and got it is telling. Still, Lepri is Lepri, maybe the best top fighter in lightweight history, so weaknesses will be hard to come by (one suspects). Also at 77, ultra-strong Dante Leon will start his ADCC campaign against Marcelo student Jon Satava. Styles make matches, and those are two very strong, very determined ADCC debutantes who I think are going to put on a show.

At 88 kilograms, hard not to notice that one side is maybe a little tougher than the other, with Craig Jones on one side and Diniz, Hinger, Arges, and more on the other. Still, first round Rustam Chsiev, who is like a reverse werewolf in terms of strength, aggression, and hairyness, is taking on ultra-durable Jon Blank. Blank isn't as well known, but he's super tough and could pull the upset. One to watch. Also at 88, Josh Hinger will make his ADCC debut against Gabriel Almeida - author of Bulletproof Back Escapes: The Deep Turtle Position, who won trials and gave Matheus Diniz a very close fight at No Gi Worlds last year (ref decision). Adam Wardzinski and his show-stealing hair will be facing Mike Perez of Atos, who sadly lost the mustache in what could have been a 1980's metal band-style BJJ throwdown. Still, a very cool matchup that pits the aggressive Atos style against Wardzinski's throwback butterfly game.

Under 99 kilos is pretty straight forward for the most part, but Tim Spriggs vs Fellipe Andrew is a very fun first round match. Spriggs is a tough, durable, experienced competitor with good wrestling. In the past, he's shown some vulnerabilities to foot locks. That just so happens to be the specialty of Andrew, who has a Botinha lock that matches up with the best of them. Everyone limps away, even if they win. Can Spriggs, who has lacked elite submission skills, avoid that all fight? Andrew also beat TLI's Mahamad Aly this year in the Pan finals, so he's got the skills to back it up.

Over 99, wow what a bracket. Let's start with Nicky Rod, BJJ's favorite blue belt, taking on 2018 World Champion Mahamad Aly. Aly weighed in at 265! Shredded! And Nicky is one of the only guys who can match his dynamic movements in the bracket. This one will more closely resemble an MCU superhero movie than a BJJ fight, if it goes to plan. Winner gets Orlando most likely, which is not ideal, but we'll see what happens. Also a close fight, Jared Dopp (two time silver medalist) is fighting Victor Hugo, who is coming off a crazy brown belt campaign. Dopp has great wrestling and strength for this division, Hugo has a better overall game but has never competed in ADCC (but has dope footlocks). Great matchup, with the winner most likely getting Buchecha. Two matchups with upset potential, Hudson Taylor of Alliance is taking on Cyborg and Kaynan is taking on Rafigaev. ADCC is becoming more and more about wrestling and leg locks. Hudson has the best wrestling in the divison, and Rafigaev is an assassin with footlocks, so these guys have huge shots at winning here.

The last one, I'll be the one to say it: Don't be surprised if Antonio Braga Neto vs Buchecha is a lot closer than you expect, and Braga Neto has a very serious shot at a huge upset.


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