ADCC West Coast Trials Recap: Buchecha Reigns, Lo Remains!

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The ADCC 2017 West Coast trials turned out to be one of the biggest events of the year. In addition to it being the last chance for North American grapplers to qualify for the ADCC World Championships, four incredible super fights were added to create a truly epic event. 

A last minute-challenger 

Perhaps the biggest story of the night: Gordon Ryan steps up at the last minute to replace an injured Braulio Estima to face Leandro Lo, who tore his hamstring backstage minutes before the match during his warm-up. This is a match that promoters could only DREAM of making, but somehow – and under short notice – ADCC pulled it off. Leandro's wrestling (of all things) was the deciding factor in a match that saw Ryan repeatedly taken down and unable to mount any submission offense. 

Watch Leandro Lo vs Gordan Ryan

Two of the best to ever do it meet for the first time

The most decorated American jiu-jitsu competitor of all time was eager to test his mettle against who many call the G.O.A.T. -- Buchecha. The match was even for the majority of the duration: Lovato Jr.'s wresting was top notch but Buchecha's size and explosiveness gave him the edge. Buchecha stayed one step ahead the entire time to show exactly why he is considered one of the greatest -- securing multiple takedown points, and ending the match while attempting to finish a head and arm choke. An incredible performance from both athletes. 

Watch Buchecha vs Rafael Lovato Jr.

15-year old comes close to qualifying (again)

Nicky Ryan had an absolutely standout performance. The 15-year-old Danaher prodigy racked up three submissions as he made his way to the semi-finals in the 66 kg division. His performance looked more like a seasoned veteran than a rising star. He met teammate Ethan Crelinsten (owner of the most gruesome submission we've seen to date) and lost in over-time by points narrowly missing the trip to Finland, but overall having an excellent day on the mats. 

Two mortal enemies meet in the final 

Vagner Rocha made headlines around the world when he booted AJ Agazarm off the Fight To Win Pro Stage in Tampa last year. The video went viral and the rest was history… until today. The two made their way through the stacked 77kg division that sported over 50+ competitors to settle the score – although it's probably far from over between these two.  AJ's wrestling looked to be in top form as expected, but Vagner's kimura trap counter was simply too effective. After a number of close submission attempts Vagner went on to win by ref's decision.

Watch AJ Agazarm vs Vagner Rocha

A Young Star is Born

Elisabeth Clay, a 16-year-old blue belt took gold in the 60 kg and under women division. She faced the extremely talented Nicole Sullivan in the final and beat Atos standout Heather Raftery on her way to gold.

Watch Elisabeth Clay vs Nicole Sullivan

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Chase Smith / FloGrappling

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