Here they come! The Annual OTM Awards are here: the industry standard for recognizing excellence in combat sports and the most trusted name in MMA, BJJ, and Submission Grappling.
OntheMat.com is pleased to announce our choice of Submission Grappler of the Year goes to Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro.
Xande is also the first two time recipient of an "athlete of the year" honor from On the Mat as he was also named the BJJ Player of the Year in 2005.
Admittedly, this was the most difficult award to determine, as many athletes had outstanding years in the category of Submission Grappler, and perhaps the most prestigious tournament the semi-annual ADCC saw many incredible performances. The OTM awards consider these achievements to be true, but also recognize an athlete's overall performance for the year. Out of all the champions crowned at ADCC, only Xande got back on the mat in a submission grappling event and won another championship.
Mind you, this could have been a very bad year for Xande instead. He entered the year as the Mundial Absolute Champion of 2006, and was not only defeated in the absolute finals against Braulio Estima in the Absolute division of the European Championships, but he injured both his knee and his shoulder in the process. He took some time off, focused, and by the time he entered ADCC he was strong and won the under 99k division. In a bit of a shock, he then lost in the first round of the Absolute division to David Avellan.
Xande would have his revenge, returning to defeat David Avellan in the first round of the Super Challenge Grappling show and then went on to win the entire tournament, the big cash prize, and the samurai sword. And now, for all of his accomplishments this year, Xande gets the nod as the OTM Submission Grappler of the Year.
We're happy to say that Xande is a great guy with a ton of knowledge to share, and if you have the opportunity to train or even hang out with him, go for it!
Previous Submission Grappler of the Year
2004: Jeff Monson
2005: Roger Gracie
2006: Chris Moriarty
Agree with our pick? Who were the other candidates: Sound off now in the OTM forum!