*Confirmed: Mark Bocek (ADCC Canadian Rep in 2003, 4-Time GQ Champ)
*Confirmed: Bill Cooper (Paragon Jiu Jitsu/2006 GQ U.S. Trials Champ)
*Confirmed: Mike Fowler (Lloyd Irvin/7-Time GQ Advanced Champ)
*Confirmed: Kurt Pellegrino (2-Time Defending GQ Superfight Champ)
*Confirmed: Brian McLaughlin (Sport Fighting Lightweight Champion)
Mark Bocek should be the favorite here. He's the most well rounded, experienced of the bunch in submission grappling, and I think this might finally be his year.
Kurt Pellegrino stands in his way however, and already has a victory over Bocek and could very easily take this one as well. I'm actually flip flopping between the two over who should get the nod here.
I love both Bill Cooper and Mike Fowler to death, and either one could take the division as well, but both have holes in their no gi game as well that could be exploited in this field. I think either of them could beat anyone in this division on a given day, but making it through an 8 man of this caliber would be quite an accomplishment for them.
Brian McLaughlin is a long shot.
Chances on defeating the Reigning ADCC champion
One problem with this field is that the can all cut to 155 pretty easily (in the case of Bocek and Pellegrino, they fought here; Cooper has to bulk up to get to 170, meaning they walk around close to the 76K limit; where as many of the top competitors shed a lot of weight to get here. Th
Marcelo Garcia is the huge favorite against anyone he faces in this weight class, easily. It is very unlikely his arch nemesis Cameron Earle will be in ADCC. Jake Sheilds is an interesting match up, rumor has it they will tangle in November. Saulo Ribeiro is capable of making this weight class, he could make a serious run at the title here.
Who else should be in the trials:
There are SO many possibilities and good choices here it boggles the mind:
Jon Fitch is very high on my list. He is a wrestling standout and the most underutilized person in the UFC in my opinion (and in my view among the very top guys at the prestigious AKA program.
Drew Fickett is another standout from the UFC that would do very well here. He won the last GQ West in an absolutely stacked field. He has the ability to take almost anyone's back at will.