The PSL is the dream of promoter Rico Chiparelli to bring the sport of submission grappling to the next level and EVERYTHING, from the production values, to the treatment of the fighter to the action of the card itself has done that.
Submission X is the second card of the Professional Submission League (the first being LA Sub X). The PSL is the dream of promoter Rico Chiparelli to bring the sport of submission grappling to the next level and EVERYTHING, from the production values, to the treatment of the fighter to the action of the card itself has done that.
I am as excited for this card as I have been for an event I can remember. It's the first event that my girlfriend has ever insisted on coming along to as well, but I'm CERTAIN it has more to do with Foo Fighter Chris Schflit playing an acoustic version of the National Anthem than anything else.
PSL uses its own unique set of rules that must be considered when handicapping the matches: Action will be divided between two four minute rounds, with a two minute overtime if necessary. Points are awarded for takedowns, mount or taking of the back (1 point), or near submissions (3 points). A Tap Out will naturally conclude the match. In addition, most of the contracts are incentive based to encourage submissions.
With the headlining main event of Randy Couture vs Jacare, this card may be the most anticipated Submission Grappling event in history. There are a number of excellent matches on the card, let’s break down each one for you:
Alan Zborovsky vs Mac Danzig
Alan Zborovsky is a black belt under Renato Magno
Mac Danzig is an MMA fighter and KOTC champion riding a 12 fight win streak.
The Match up
To my knowledge this will be the first major submission grappling match for either fighter. As someone who concentrates on BJJ, it would seem that Alan Zborovsky would have the edge here, but Danzigs’ MMA resume includes some wins over some outstanding grapplers. Still, it’s a different sport without the punches. I don’t really have enough information to make too detailed of an analysis, however giving their respective backgrounds, (and the fact Danzig stepped up with about 24 hours notices when Zborovsky’s original opponent Andy Wang filled in for an injured Bill Cooper to take on Kron Gracie), I would give the edge here to Zborovsky .
Gumby’s pick Alan Zborovsky
Jeff Glover vs Shane Rice
Jeff Glover is among the top and most active lightweight competitors in the United States right now. Sometimes called “the Giant Killer” for his willingness (and ability) to take on any sized opponent, Glover seems to step it up each and every competition he has. The black belt from Paragon jiu jitsu is currently teaching in Las Vegas’ Cobra Kai. Glover took second at the recent ADCC trials, losing to teammate Sim Go. At LA Sub X Glover lost a tough match against Robson Moura which saw the two exchanging some nasty leg attacks.
Shane Rice is a brown belt under Rickson Gracie and among the most active competitors from the academy. The Canadian at one time held the TKO Lightweight title, but then took sometime off from competition after losing his belt to contemplate his future in the sport. Lately he has been very active on the BJJ and Grappling circuits, feeling more relaxed and having more fun with it.
The Match Up:
This will be the third match up between the two this year, Jeff Glover holds a 2-0 advantage. First Jeff Glover submitted Shane via Darce at the WGG, and just recently he managed to defeat Shane by points at the ADCC North American Trials. This would definitely give a large edge to Glover in this match, but Shane comes into this match more determined than ever and with his mentor Rickson in his corner. Glover will likely start off this match from the bottom (he has been working on his top game), Rice would definitely like to score a quick takedown to put himself a head on points (he trains wrestling at R1). This match should move quickly as both competitors want to put on a show.
Gumby’s pick: Jeff Glover
Rafael Lovato. Jr vs Roberto Carmago
Rafael Lovato Jr. is probably the top American black belt gi competitor, and is at a very high level without the gi. One of the most technically elegant competitors around, Rafael has an especially sophisticated guard. At LA Sub X he lost to Lyota Machida in double overtime o a takedown.
Roberto Carmago is a black belt from Gracie Barra. Relatively new to the competition scene in America, I first noticed him when he submitted Jeff Glover at the OTM BJJ Championships. He recently participated in the team challenge at the US Open chocking his first opponent and defeated the always dangerous Cassio Werneck. To my knowledge this will be his major league no gi debut.
The Match Up:
Two young top level jiu jjitsu stars should make for an exciting match. Lovato’ strength is definitely his guard, Carmago seems to be especially dangerous from the top. Both are hungry right now. If I’ve had one criticism of Lovato over the years, I think he’s sometimes not mean enough enough for this sport, however given his loss at the last event, plus some of his recent matches (a close loss at the ADCC Trials recently, think he will be more than motivated to make a statement here. Carmago is tough and should be willing to engage with Lovato so this should be an exciting match up.
Gumby’s pick: Lovato Jr.
Kron Gracie vs Andy Wang
Kron Gracie is the son of Rickson Gracie. Although some would say his entry into jiu jitsu would be inevitable, the truth is when he was younger he would rather have been a professional skateboarder. Family events however conspired to have him dedicate himself to the martial art and he has had much success on the BJJ circuit. This year he won the purple belt medio divisions in both the Copa do Mundo and Mundials, all matches by submission and was promoted to brown belt. This will by Kron’s submission grappling debut.
Andy Wang is the BJJ instructor at the R1 gym. He has also spread the art abroad in opening an academy in Taiwan. He received his black belt under Baret Yoshida. Andy holds a MMA record of 5-6, but is riding a two fight win streak this year. He also gained a bit of infamy in his match at the So Cal Pro Am grappling tournament.
The Match Up:
This match was hastily made when Kron’s original opponent Bill Cooper had to withdraw due to injury. Although this will be Kron’s no gi debut, he emulates his father’s style of a tight, controlled, methodical game, and that style doesn’t much at all without the gi Although he is young Kron is also extremely strong for his size, and still filling out! Andy Wang bring a lot experience to this match up, and this year especially he seems refocused and re-energized. Training at R1, he also would have the superior wrestling game and being a black belt he is obviously no slouch on the ground. He’s going to have to try to dictate the pace of the match and show Kron a few things he hasn’t seen before.
Gumby’s pick: Kron Gracie
Alberto Crane vs Rani Yahya
Alberto Crane runs an academy in Santa Fe New Mexico, and has competed at weight between 170 to 147. (He actually went medaled at the Mundials at 160 bowing out to teammate Marcio Feitosa.) Despite this, he is among the most underrated BJJ stars in the country, however his matches are always exciting and he has a high percentage of submission victories.
Rani Yahya one the Brazilian ADCC trials in 2003, and in 2005 was the ADCC runner up to Leozinho. He has been very active this year in both the submission grappling circuit and in MMA (going 5-1 this year). It’s in Submission Grappling where he especially shiens however, and he always seems to step up to the level of his opponent and find a way to win.
The Match Up:
This match is going to depend greatly on the weight class it is fought in; although Alberto has competed at 147, being the runner up in the ADCC trials at this weight I would argue this is a much lighter weight than he should be competing at as the cutting process drains him. Rani on the other hand has been putting on quite a bit of size since the last ADCC, so a match at a higher weight is likely inevitable. Alberto is best at going for the submission, no matter how the match is going, you know he will definitely be looking to end it. Rani is a bit more methodical, he’ll get the sub if it presents itself, but knows all the different ways to get the win and is especially good at neutralizing dangerous opponents. He also has been more active lately. I’m exciting for this match up.
Gumby’s pick Rani Yahya
Vladamir Matyushenko vs Vinicious Magalhaes
Vladamir Matyushenko is a wrestler and MMA fighter out of the R1 gym. He has wrestling titles out of his native Belarus. Vladamir is extremely strong and everyone who has grappled against him notes not only how hard it is to do anything to him, and how physically sore they are afterwards from doing so. At LA Sub X Vladamir fought to a draw against Xande Ribeiro.
Vinicius “Pezzao” Maghalhaes is a black belt from Gracie Humatai who is currently teaching for Cesar Gracie’s camp in Northern California. He is the Mundial brown belt Absolute Champion in 2005. Since that point he has been very actively competing in the United States, and has a Grappler’s Quest Pro division title under his belt as well. Vinicius has a strong, traditional jiujitsu game, but also has a wide array of leg attacks he likes to use in competition. At the LA Sub X he defeated Robert Drysdale by takedown.
The Match Up;
Pezzao’s match against Drysdale was a fairly even contest decided on the razor thin margin of 1-0 takedown. Matyushenko draw against Pezzao’s highly regarded teammate Xande was something of an upset to many people, many thought Xande would make short work of the wrestler from Belarus. In fact, under more standard submission grappling rules, the nod may well have gone to Matyushenko. In this case there is no way that Pezzao is going to take down Matyushenko, so his best bet is try to get to the mat quickly by any means necessary and try to go after the submission. Matyushenko is far from content to play defense however, he’ll work and grind and hustle the entire match, and he is very difficult to do anything to in return.
Gumby’s prediction; Vladamir Matyushenko
Jake Sheilds vs Marcelo Garcia
Jake Shield is the hottest 170 pound fighter in the world right now (4-0 this year and winner of the ROTR tournament) who yet to make his big league debut. He took third at ADCC 2005 and is considered to be the top active American Submission Grappler at his size right now. Jake began as a wrestler, but currently hold a brown belt in BJJ and teaches MMA out of Fairtex. At LA Sub X he lost a tough match against Saulo Ribeiro.
Marcelo Garcia is the most talked about submission grappler on the planet. The two time ADCC champion has not lost a match at his weight (submission grappling) in sometime, and hold many wins over much larger opponents. Marcelo is powerful, quick, solid from any position but especially known for his X-guard. If he gets your back, you pretty much finished, no questions asked. Marcelo recently moved to New York to teach at Studio X and compete in the US. At LA Sub X he submitted Cameron Earle with seconds to go in he match in one of the best matches of the evening.
The Match up:
This has been a match up that Jake has been requesting for a long time, as he loves a challenge. At welterweight, Marcelo Garcia is as big of a challenge as they come, he simply hasn’t lost a submission grappling match at his weight in several years and has been especially active in the last few months. Jake is going to have show no respect for Marcelo’s abilities if he wants to make this match and do what he does best, which is grind out, persevere and impose his will on the match. In short, he needs to stop Garcia from doing what he does, which so far no one has been able to do. Not that Jake isn’t used to being the underdog; this is a match up between the number one in the United States vs the number one in the World and I can’t wait to see this.
Gumby’s pick: Marcelo Garcia
Randy Couture vs Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Randy “the Natural” Couture shouldn’t need an introduction to anyone who has been following the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. If he must know, he is a former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion and among the most respected and popular stars in this sport ever. Before his illustrious MMA career, he was a champion wrestler in both freestyle and Greco styles
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza shouldn’t need an introduction to anyone following the sport of Submission Grappling and BJJ. If you must know, Jacare is a two time Mundial Absolute champion, the ADCC 87K champion and ADCC Absolute runner up.
The Match Up:
This match may be among the most brilliant pieces of match making ever and has certainly brought more attention to the sport of submission grappling than anything in recent memory. You have one of the most popular MMA stars in the world (The Ultimate Fighter Reality show has put Couture into millions of homes) against one of BJJ’s brightest stars in Jacare. Furthermore, neither man has anything to lose in this match up. Randy makes his submission debut against arguably the top man in the game right now. Jacare gives up some size to take one of the most decorated men in combat sports. Both men are fiercely competitive.
Jacare is a BJJ force of nature to say the least. Although he is technically proficient, he also has the ability to simply overwhelm his opponents physically. He will be giving up around 30 to 40 pounds to Randy Couture in this match up, who is not one to be physically bossed around by anyone. What he may lack in pure submission skills, Randy has the type of physicality and game that it will be hard to do anything against. Thus this has the markings of a slower paced match.
Enson Inoue notwithstanding, I have a hard time seeing Couture being submitted with any technique above the waist in these time limits. At this point i think he's very aware of the defenses. If he's going to get caught, it's going to be from a leg attack, something Jacare is not really known for.
Still under these rules, Jacare is a favorite with all of these considerations in place. I doubt Randy will have an opportunity to get a submission attempt in, and Jacare will likely throw everything but the kitchen sink in his attempts. The question is whether any of these attempts will submit Randy or even score.
Gumby’s pick: I’m going to surprise everyone here, but if a draw is not allowed, I’m going with Randy Couture in this one.
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