While every division this year is absolutely stacked, the lightest weight class is always one of the most fun to watch and it features the fastest action as competitors lay it on the line and go for broke.
ADCC Under 65 K Weight Class
2005 Will see the most stacked grappling tournament perhaps ever as the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world, Abu Dhabi comes to the Pyramid Center at Long Beach State on May 28-29.
While every division this year is absolutely stacked, the lightest weight class is always one of the most fun to watch and it features the fastest action as competitors lay it on the line and go for broke. There is a lot of new blood in the division as well, as only four of the listed competitors have fought in ADCC before (and one of the four, Marcio Feitosa has not fought at this weight class yet). Notable absences this year include three time champion Royler Gracie, who has opted to concentrate on MMA this year, and Alexander "Soca" Carneiro.
#1 Leo Vieira 2003 World Champion (Brazil)
#2 Wagney Fabiano 2005 Brazilian Qualifier (Brazil)
#3 Javier Vazquez 2005 North American Qualifier (USA)
#4 Toni Kroger 2005 European Qualifier (Finland)
#5 Tetsu Suzuki 2005 Japanese Qualifier (Japan)
#6 Eugene Hynson 2005 Australian Qualifier (New Zealand)
#7 Eddie Bravo (USA)
#8 Joey Gilbert (USA)
#9 Baret Yoshida (USA)
#10 Marcio Feitosa (Brazil)
#11 Marcos 'Parrumpinha' DaMatta (Brazil)
#12 Jani Lax (Finland)
#13 Alberto Crane (USA)
#14 Mario Delgado (Mexico)
#15 Fredson Alves (Brazil)
Naturally the official line up could change at any time between here and the actual tournament, and there are only 15 of the allotted 16 slots filled so far (2003 Brazilian Trials winner Rany Yahrya is a heavy favorite to get the last slot as he`s training in LA with Rickson and has been on a tear as of late).
Name: Leo "Leozinho" Viera
Style: Black Belt BJJ, Alliance Team
ADCC Record 7-3 2003 Under 66 Champion
Pound for pound Leo Viera is among the most exciting grapplers in the world today. In his previous previous to 2003 Leo Viera fought in a higher weight class and it should be noted that his losses came to Jean Jacques Machado and Mark Kerr (and against Kerr he only lost on a negative point for pulling guard!) Leozinho is equally adept at fighting from the top or bottom and has already shown he can very effectively deal with the most dangerous guards in the game.
Name: Wagney Fabiano
Style: Black Belt BJJ, Nova Uniao
ADCC Record: First Appearance (3-0 Brazilian Trials Champ)
Although he has resided in Canada since 1998, Wagney Fabiano competed in and won the Brazilian Trials. He actually has an extensive history of competing in gi tournaments in Brazil, however, with titles in blue through black belt. Since coming north he has participated in (and won) a number of submission grappling and MMA titles. Style wise he is classical jiu jitsu competitor however he has shown excellent wrestling abilities as well. What may work against him is that he is one of the smaller competitors in the field, with many of his opponents in this field cutting quite a bit of weight to place here.
Name: Javier "Javi" Vazquez
Style: Black Belt BJJ under Rodrigo Medieros
ADCC Record: First Appearance (3-0 2005 North American Trials Champ)
Javier Vazquez has spent the majority of his career competing in California, where he is very well respected, so he has "homefield" advantage here. Javi was on track for a very successful MMA career, however injuries have forced him to concentrate on grappling instead. Javi blends his brand of jiu jitsu along with wrestling as well as anyone in the world, making him a very well rounded, dangerous fighter who should do very well here in ADCC.
Name: Toni Kroger
Style- Finland HJJK
ADCC Record First Appearance (2005 ADCC European Champion, 2nd 2003 Place ADCC Eurpoean Trials)
Toni Kroger won the ADCC European Trials this year, using a solid, methodical game to stay ahead of his opponents throughout the day. Although he has been active in European competitions Toni is something of an unknown to most of the competitors in this competition.
Name: Tetsu Suzuki
ADCC Record First Appearance (2005 Japanese Qualifier Champion)
Testsu Suzuki defeated a field of 16 men, including the defending qualifier to earn his slot in ADCC this year. Tetsu is also 2-1-1 in Shooto where he fights at 132 pounds. While the competitors from the Japanese qualifiers are always huge on skill and heart, the fact that Tetsu competes at so much smaller than the 66 K weight limit of Abu Dhabi raises some concerns.
Name: Eugene Hynson
Style New Zealand Submission
ADCC Record First Appearance (2005 Australian Qualifier Champion, 2001 Australian Runner Up)
Eugene very nearly missed his shot at competing at this years ADCC, having gotten lost on the way to the trials (a situation I can wholly sympathize with). This year he won the finals after taking a series of leglocks that would have crippled a normal man, only to come back and win by choke. Perseverance is obviously Eugene`s middle name.
Name: Eddie Bravo
Style: Black Belt BJJ under Jean Jacques Machado
ADCC Record 2-1 (3-0 2003 North American Trials Champ)
Eddie Bravo came into world wide attention at the 2003 ADCC competition where he submitted the legendary Royler Gracie. This didn`t come as a shock to anyone who knew Eddie previously, he was often fond of showing the very triangle set up to anyone interested! Eddie is a classically trained jiu jitsu stylist with a very unorthodox guard style, and he`s going to give anyone fits who is not familiar with it.
Name: Joey Gilbert
ADCC Record 4-2, ADCC 2000 Third Place
Joey Gilbert makes his return to the Abu Dhabi competition after a layoff from competition for the last few years. Joey is an accomplished wrestler who can nullify much of the offense presented by the field. His victories here are four decisions wins, so while not expecting him to go for any submissions, look for him to takedown and control his opponents.
Style: Black Belt BJJ, Grappling Unlimited
ADCC Record 7-4 2001, 2003 Under 66 Runner Up
Baret Yoshia is making his record fifth appearance in Abu Dhabi this year and is always putting on some of the most entertain matches. Baret has stayed active as well, making a surprise appearance and winning in the Advanced division of Grappler`s Quest West late 2004. Baret`s most dangerous weapons are his lauded Guard and go for broke style, coupled with his experience, this could finally be his year. On the other hand, if Baret doesn`t manage to submit his opponent he tends to lose, and everyone is on the look out for his guard now.
Style: Black Belt BJJ, Gracie Barra
ADCC Record 7-2 2000 76 K Third Place 2001 76Kchampion
Marcio Feitosa is one of the most decorated grapplers competing and his ADCC record is extremely impressive. Feitosa`s greatest strength is his ability to compete; he always employs the correct strategy to win the match and is simply talented enough to outclass his opponents in any area. This will be his first foray into the lightest weight category however, and one has to wonder how dropping the weight will affect his chances.
Marcos 'Parrumpinha' DaMatta
Style Black Belt BJJ
ADCC Record First Appearance
Marcos DaMatta is making his first appearance in ADCC. "Parrumpinha" has been very active on the submission grappling circuit, winning a number of tournaments and superfights, including a match against Baret Yoshida and ADCC vet Hirota where he won 30 to -1! However he also lost a high profile match against Jens Pulver. This would indicate as a classical trained Jiu Jitsu stylist, Parrumpinha is most likely more effective and comfortable on the top.
Style Team Scandinavia
ADCC Record First Appearance (2003 European ADCC Trials3rd Place)
Jani Lax sports a record of 7-4 in MMA fighting, with five of those wins coming via submission (and four of those submission were chokes). He has some tough training partners, however the fact he was eliminated in two successive ADCC trials competitions would make him a spoiler at best here odds-wise.
Style Black Belt BJJ under Draculino
ADCC Record First Appearance (2005 North American Runner Up)
I like Alberto Crane. Alberto Crane is probably the among the most underrated grapplers in the world today, with numerous ADCC and JiuJitsu titles (including a Mundial Black Belt title). Furthermore, Alberto sports a perfect 8-0 record in MMA, seven of those victories coming via submission. Alberto Crane has many, many weapons in his arsenal, probably one of his more spectacular weapons coming off of his Oma Plata set ups.
Style: Purple Belt BJJ under Renzo Gracie
ADCC Record First Appearance
Mario Delgado is from Mexico and is definitely looking to put Mexican grappling on the map with his appearance here (which is admittedly a dream come true for him). While this is definitely the largest competition of his life, Mario has been running a jiujitsu academy in Mexico for sometime and has been with Renzo since the early days.
Style Black Belt BJJ Gracie Humaita
ADCC Record First Appearance
Fredson is one of the premier BJJ Gi fighters around and has numerous titles as a black belt. His is far less known for his exploits without the gi however and it remains to see how well he can compete at this level without it. This is not necessarily a weakness but more of a question mark as far as odds taking abilities goes.
Some Historical Match Ups:
Leo Viera vs Marcio Feitosa- This is one of the most classic rivalries in BJJ, and the two have met each other many times and should know each others game well. In the money match however, Feitosa defeated Leo Viera by advantage to win third place in ADCC 3rd place match at 76 K and under.
Leo Viera vs Eddie Bravo- This happened in the semi finals of ADCC 2003 and Leo won by a large margin in which he was able to effectively neutralize Eddie`s game and pass guard at will, although to be fair Eddie entered this match at less than 100% with hurt ribs after his previous matches.
Leo Viera vs Baret Yoshida- Close match in the finals of ADCC 2003, where Leo won when Baret received negative points for pulling guard.
Leo Viera vs Fredson Alves- Pan Americans 2004 Leo Viera defeated Fredson Alves
Javier Vazquez vs Alberto Crane- These two have fought twice before; once in MMA for the King of the Cage Title, where Crane won a decision, and once in the finals of the ADCC North American Trials where Javi won on points. The two actually match up very well against each other and with their respective strengths and styles this will be a chess match.
Javier Vazquez vs Eddie Bravo- Javier has actually beaten Eddie four times over the years in grappling and jiu jitsu match ups and thus would have to be considered a favorite in a fifth match up, but those matches were some time ago on a smaller scale. Sometime training partners, Eddie has enjoyed his matches with Javi so much that actually featured one of his losses on his highlight DVD "The Twister!"
Parrumpinha vs Baret Yoshida- Parrumpinha won this superfight in Hawaii by effectivel countering Yoshida`s guard.
(Disclaimer: I thought I would work this differently and give odds based on who I thought had the potential to win the whole thing. Analysis is based on a comparison of strengths (and weaknesses) of individual abilities, how well each competitor stacks up against the entire field of sixteen and some insider "buzz". Safe Bet is the predicted favorite, Money Bet is the one most likely to spoil the Safe Bet and the Long Shot is the longer is the alternate pick to win the whole thing.)
The Safe Bet- Leo Viera
As the defending champion, Leozinho is definitely the man to beat this year and everyone knows it. He matches up well against everyone here because his game is varied and he knows what it takes to win.
The Money Bet- Marcio Feitosa
There`s a few questions surrounding Feitosa`s decision to drop down a weight class this year and how effective he will be here, but looking at his ADCC record, the fact he came back in fine form recently at the Pan Ams, and knowing he also know how to compete so well, and Feitosa is going to be tough to defeat.
The Long Shot- Javier Vazquez
The thing about Javier is that few people outside of California seem to know how good he really is, but he`s solid all around and can beat you with either jiu-jitsu or wrestling, meaning he matches up well against everyone in this division. Word is he is in top physical shape, and as the North American Trials champion (which ran first) he has the longest time out of anyone save Leozinho to prepare and watch the division unfold.
What will happen? We`ll find out on May 28 and 29th! Coming up next, the under 76 K weight class programâ€¦.