No Post-ADCC Break For Agazarm, Next Up: Battle-Seasoned Phil Baroni

Hywel Teague / FloGrappling AJ agazarm 2017 adcc copy.jpg

With a silver medal around his neck from the 2017 ADCC World Championships, AJ Agazarm is on a career high right now.

Not since he climbed to the top of the podium at the IBJJF No-Gi World Championships in 2014 has he enjoyed such success. Always known as a dangerous and durable competitor, he gritted his way through two tough days in Espoo, Finland, this past weekend to arrive at the highest levels of the sport.

Agazarm's ADCC medal-winning performance began well before he stepped on the mats. He was faced with a weight cut to 66kg (145.2lb), a weight he hasn't been for over 10 years. ADCC rules require competitors to step on the scale three times: a day before weigh-in on Friday, then two subsequent weigh-ins on each day they compete.

"It was agony. Not something I'd recommend," Agazarm said.

He needed to rise at 4:30 AM on the opening day of the tournament to hit the bike and sauna to make weight.

Agazarm versus Mantovani in the semifinal. Photo: Hywel Teague / FloGrappling

Day one began with a 10-minute match against the youngest competitor in ADCC history in 16-year-old Nicky Ryan, followed by a 15-minute battle against another member of the "Danaher Death Squad," Ethan Crelinsten. This was followed by a hard-fought 15-minute war on day two with Pablo Mantovani of Atos before the final with Cobrinha.

Don't be fooled into thinking Agazarm had an easy path to the finals because you may not immediately recognize his opponent's names. Ryan is the younger brother of 2017 ADCC 88kg champ and absolute silver medalist Gordon Ryan and one of the hottest up and comers in the game.

"He's setting the jiu-jitsu world on its ear," said Agazarm, who won 2-0.

Crelinsten was the perpetrator of the infamous arm break in the viral video that came out of the ADCC West Coast Trials. A dangerous submission hunter, he too was outpointed 2-0 by Agazarm, this time in overtime.

Mantovani, Agazarm's semifinal opponent, won the Trials in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Though "only" a brown belt, Mantovani took out 2015 bronze medalist Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes to earn his place in the semis. Agazarm outwrestled him over 15 minutes to win.

Agazarm vs. Cobrinha in the 66kg division final. Photo: Chase Smith / FloGrappling

The silver medal at ADCC was Agazarm's best performance in six years of competing in the biennial tournament. He had competed in China and Brazil before this year's event in Finland. ADCC rules seem to suit Agazarm, who won five matches to make it to the finals of the North American Trials and three to fight for the World Championship gold.

I don't regret going. I do regret making a technical error that kept me from winning the championship. ADCC represents an opportunity to compete but also to self-critique. These two factors are equal in measure and evenly distributary in terms of beneficial experience.
AJ Agazarm vs. Nicky Ryan
AJ Agazarm vs. Ethan Crelinsten
AJ Agazarm vs. Pablo Mantovani
AJ Agazarm vs. Cobrinha

Next up: Submission Underground 5

Agazarm flies back from Finland to compete at Chael Sonnen's Submission Underground 5 in a no-gi co-main event match against the veteran MMA fighter Phil Baroni on Oct. 1 in Portland, Oregon.

For Agazarm to bounce from ADCC to Submission Underground in such short order may seem like a challenge, but it's the actually the norm for the jet-setting athlete, who has had 38 matches this year already.

Agazarm being interview by Chael Sonnen at SUG3. Photo: Joseph Weiser-USA TODAY Sports

The real challenge is knowing what to expect from Baroni. Bigger and heavier, Baroni may not have the same submission wrestling credentials his opponent, but Agazarm is all too aware of the threat he poses.

"Baroni is a battle-seasoned, incredibly strong, fearless competitor," Agazarm said. "He is a match for any man on any day. His lack of experience in high-level jiu-jitsu only makes him more dangerous, more unorthodox. His toughness is legendary. He's the type of guy who chases down shots better players give up on, because he doesn't know enough to realize certain positions are hopeless; so he ignores orthodoxy, and escapes, from positions the group-think BJJ community considers inescapable.

I have no idea what he's going to do, or what's going to happen. He's like a proponent of 'Guerilla Theater;' no script, no lines, no predictive model of behavior, no predetermination. I have no idea how to handle that.
Watch AJ Agazarm vs. Phil Baroni LIVE or On Demand ONLY on FloGrappling.


How to Watch Submission Underground 5

On TV: Now available on Roku and Apple TV 4 -- download the FloSports app today.
STREAMING: Available only on FloGrappling via monthly or yearly memberships. A yearly FloPRO subscription provides access to ALL FloSports sites. SIGN UP HERE

Join The Conversation On Social
• Follow us on Twitter @FloGrappling
• Follow us on Instagram @FloGrappling
• Follow us on Facebook

FloGrappling's hottest content, delivered to your inbox
Don't miss breaking news, feature stories, event updates, and more. Sign up for the FloGrappling mailing list today.

Weekly Viewing Guide: 11/13-19

Mike Calimbas Jaidyn Mueller.jpg

From the NCAA Cross Country Championships to NCAA basketball this weekend has a live event for every die-hard sports fan. Headlining the FloSports Weekly Viewing Guide is the 2017 NCAA Division I, II and III Cross Country Championships on FloTrack. If you have Apple TV 4 or Roku, watch these live events and more from the convenience of your home. Keep scrolling to see what else is happening across the FloSports Network.

FloGrappling Weekly Roll-Up: 11/13-17

Mike Calimbas DJ Jackson F2Wpro54 3.jpg

With a highlight video from ADCC 2017, epic events in Brazil, and MMA news, this week saw its fair share of diverse jiu-jitsu content. Here's what you may have missed. 

Five Grappling Standouts You Must Watch At Fight To Win Pro 55

Mike Calimbas f2w Alvin Robinson.jpg

By Averi Clements | Fight to Win Pro 55 brings the promotion back home to Denver on Friday, Nov. 17, for the show that features a wide variety of talented and accomplished competitors.

Official Submission Underground 6 Lineup Released


Chael Sonnen is bringing some serious heat to the table with the sixth edition of Submission Underground on Dec. 3 in Portland, OR!

Rematches & Opportunities For Revenge At NY BJJ Pro

Michael Sears Gianni Grippo by Michael Sears.jpg

By Michael Sears | The IBJJF New York BJJ Pro on Saturday, Nov. 18, is the last BJJ Pro event of 2017 and also the final opportunity this year to earn cash prizes and double ranking points at an international open.

New York BJJ Pro: Purple / Brown Belts You Must Follow

Michael Sears Devhonte Johnson by Michael Sears.jpg

By Michael Sears | While the $4,000 cash prize for black belt divisions at the New York BJJ Pro is set to bring out some of the top names in the sport on Saturday, the lower belts also have a chance to win some money too. 

DJ Jackson: The Grappling Standout Gunning For UFC And MMA Glory

Mike Calimbas DJ Jackson F2Wpro54 3.jpg

DJ Jackson is one of the best-known middleweight grapplers in the game. The rock-solid Team Lloyd Irvin black belt is notorious for his his relentless style and near-unsweepable base.

Para Jiu-Jitsu Is Flourishing Under UAEJJF's Watch

Chase Smith / FloGrappling para6.jpg

The stands were packed, team chants reigned down, and the screams of fans and coaches alike filled the Carioca 1 Olympic Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Had the black belt finals gotten underway at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam on Sunday?

Mackenzie Dern's Next MMA Challenge Is...

War Tribe 57aa1ffe9992b.jpeg

Mackenzie Dern is headed to UFC...

Watch The Best Of: Vagner Rocha

Chase Smith vagnerwins.jpg

Vagner Rocha is one of the most feared grapplers on the circuit. Known for his aggressive and borderline mean style of grappling, the Fight Sports black belt always puts on a show for the fans!