On May 29th, Long Beach California Abu Dhabi will be taking place with the headling Superfight of Dean Lister vs Jean Jacques Machado
Tale of the Tape:
Name: Dean Lister
Fighting out of: San Diego, California
Style: Black Belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu, Sambo Champion
ADCC Record 6-2, 5 submissions, 2003 Absolute Champion (plus 3-0 in Trials)
Dean Lister has been called the "World`s Greatest Grappler" based on his performance at Abu Dhabi 2003 in which he submitted three of his four opponents en route to winning the absolute title in one of the best displays of grappling ever. Dean grew up the son of US Marine and actually grew up in Central and South America. He was a standout wrestler in High School and a Sambo Champion before discovering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 1995. Dean went on to win numerous titles on the BJJ and Submission Grappling circuit and is currently concentrating on an MMA career as King of the Cage Champion and Pride contender.
Dean will attempt to get the submission at all times during the match. He fights well off of his back finishing a number of matches with the triangle choke but everyone knows that Dean`s particular specialty is the foot lock. The trick is in figuring out a way to stop, as his opponents know that they are never really safe when competing against Lister
Dean has enjoyed (suffered through?) many nicknames over the years, including Dean "The Machine" Lister, "The Boogey Man" (after his opponents tendency to drop out rather than face him), "Bone Twister" Lister, The Magician (as much for his propensity for corny magic tricks as to his mat wizardry), and "A Jacked Sugar Ray".
Name: Jean Jacques Machado
Fighting out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil via Los Angeles, California
Style: 6th degree Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu
ADCC Record 11-3, 9 submissions, 1999 76 K champion
Jean Jacques Machado is one of the most admired and fun to watch grapplers in the world. He has been training and competing for nearly 25 years now and was very dominant in the scene in Brazil. He continued to be active on the competition circuit when he came to the United States in 1992 to begin teaching with his brothers, and expanded his resume to not only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but also won Sambo titles as well being a two time Abu Dhabi champion.
When Jean Jacques competes he cares little for accumulating points, he is always looking for the submission. While he is adept with a wide variety of techniques, perhaps his best techniques involve taking and finishing from the back.
Jean Jacques was born without a left hand, but has never viewed himself as handicapped in any way. In fact it has been observed that Jean Jacques often uses this as a strength, as it is very difficult for his opponents to stop him from slipping in the rear naked choke when he leads with his left.
Jean Jacques personally teaches every class at his academy (something of a rarity for a grappler of his caliber) and has produced a number of champions in their own right. His is universally regarded as one of the finest grappling instructors in the world as well as a very friendly guy.
The Match Up:
This was originally slated to be a superfight between Absolute Champion Dean Lister and former absolute division winner and superfight champion Ricardo Arona. That match up occurred in the opening round of the Pride GP with Arona winning a close decision, and Arona went on to drop out of ADCC due to his commitment to Pride. The match was then offered to Mario Sperry, as Arona`s senior and former superfight champion in his own right, however he withdrew from the competition as well because of an upcoming MMA match in Korea. The fight was then offered to the man with the most impressive record in Abu Dhabi, Jean Jacques Machado.
Both currently residing in Southern California, both Dean Lister and Jean Jacques are very familiar with each other. As a matter of fact, Dean has competing numerous times in Jean Jacques` events, and has had many of his matches refereed by Jean Jacques in the past! Suffice to say, the competitors will have each other scouted out very well.
In many ways this is a more intriguing match up than the originally scheduled match as both Jean Jacques and Dean will be hunting for the finish at all times, as they have both stated on numerous occasions that they do not care to win on points. Then again, with $50,000 going to the winner and $10,000 to the loser who wouldn`t be happy with the win even if it wasn`t a submission? With this much on the line their personal philosophies on the sport will certainly be put to the test.
In some ways, this is a bit of a mismatch as well. Jean Jacques competes two weight classes (over 20 kilograms in this case!) lighter than Dean Lister does. Also Jean Jacques has not competed in over four years (since Abu Dhabi 2001). Dean hasn`t had a pure grappling match since 2003, but has gone 3-3 in MMA since then (against some VERY tough competition). While mat rust may prove a factor, both competitors will come in very prepared for this match.
We can expect to see some back and forth exchanges as the competitors will go for finishing holds throughout the match and force the action. But being classically trained jiu jitsu mindset, don`t look for the so called "Hail Mary" submission from either man, instead look for Dean to set up his footlocks off of the guard pass and Jean Jacques to try to take the back.
My guess is that the majority of this match will be with Jean Jacques on the bottom playing guard and Dean on top. Both competitors will want to get this to the ground as soon as possible.
Dean has a tremendous size and strength advantage and should use this to the best effect here. This means slowing the pace of the match to where he is comfortable at (he does not want to go into scramble mode in this match) and grounding Jean Jacques as much as possible. He needs to be especially aware of Jean Jacques If Dean should wind up on his back in this match up he should try to stand it back up again and secure either get the takedown or get Jean Jacques to play guard.
Jean Jacques has speed as his advantage. Although he`s naturally inclined to do so, he is definitely going to have to push the pace of this match up the entire time, look for sweeps and try to the back. (I`d be very surprised if he could submit Lister from the guard). However if Jean Jacques manages to take the back that will likely decide the match.
Jean Jacques looks to finish his matches very quickly. In his very first match in Abu Dhabi, Jean Jacques looked to make a statement in submitting Ryan Harvey in just 44 seconds. Dean on the other hand is a much slower starter, sometimes finds himself in tough situations, gets angry, digs deep, and then becomes unstoppable. Dean is especially dangerous coming off of a loss. As far as a match up goes this translates into look for a quick submission from Jean Jacques, but the longer the match goes, the more the pendulum swings in favor of Lister. With both competitors being submission minded it is very likely this is how the match up will end.
Jean Jacques Machado and Dean Lister have two opponents in common. Jean Jacques lost to Ricardo Arona in the finals of the 2001 Abu Dhabi Absolute and Dean recently lost to Arona in Pride in an MMA match. Both have also faced another Ricardo in Ricadro "Cachorrao" Almedia, Jean Jacques winning a close match at the 2001Abu Dhabi Absolute and Dean Lister losing two close matches one at Abu Dhabi and one at Grappler`s Quest.
No doubt that Jean Jacques is one of the greatest grapplers of all time, but the weight difference and the long lay might serve to make Jean Jacques look human. Look what happened to Michael Jordan when he tried to come back after a long lay off. Don`t be surprised if Jean Jacques manages to pull of the submission however.
Dean Lister submitted three of the top four competitors in the world in 2003, including two victories over ADCC divisional champions and the runner up in his own weight class and has been more active lately. Furthermore, while he does have the ability to submit anyone, a decision match would have to favor the bigger, stronger competitor.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this one however. Who do you think will win and why? Send your letters to Gumby@onthemat.com  and we`ll publish the best ones.
Look for more insight and scouting reports for all the competitors and divisions for Abu Dhabi this year!