KASAI Pro will put two ADCC 2017 champions face-to-face in its main event this Saturday in New York. Yuri Simoes, ADCC champ at 88kg in 2015 and 99kg in 2017, will face the brash, young upstart Gordon Ryan, the 2017 88kg champ and absolute silver medalist.
Simoes, who also holds two IBJJF No-Gi World Championship titles, will meet Ryan in the headlining match, a superfight in every sense of the word.
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“I really want this victory," Simoes said. "The simple fact of wanting to beat him is my greatest motivation."
Simoes and Ryan have faced off once before, meeting in the semifinal of EBI 6 in April 2016. Ryan came out on top in that match, submitting Simoes with a rear-naked choke in overtime.
It was the first of Ryan’s four EBI titles, and since then the Renzo Gracie team member has risen to the top of the grappling world.
Yuri Simoes versus Felipe Pena in the ADCC 2017 99kg division final. Photos: Hywel Teague / FloGrappling
It's worth mentioning that Simoes defeated Felipe Pena in the ADCC 99kg final. Pena holds two wins over Ryan including in the ADCC absolute final. And even though Ryan has amassed many titles since they last grappled, Simoes said the extra experience won’t help Ryan this time around.
"His game is still basically the same," Simoes said. "Sure he should have evolved since our last match, but in terms of his game, his style, I don’t think he’s changed much."
"But to be honest, I'm not thinking too much about him or what he’s changed. My focus is on what I need to improve or adjust to be champion in my next challenge. I believe this is the path for progress."
“Since my last match with him I made a lot of adjustments to various parts of my game and I consider myself much more experienced as a competitor. Moreover, a fight is a fight, and anybody who competes knows that anything can happen.”
The superfight will be 10 minutes long and under submission-only rules. However, if there’s no submission, they will go to a six-minute overtime which scores points as per IBJJF rules but with no advantages. Leg attacks such as heelhooks will be allowed.
“I’ve fought in virtually every major grappling event in the world, so honestly I feel comfortable under any kind of rules,” Simoes said. “I train jiu-jitsu to compete in any situation.”
KASAI Pro goes down on Dec. 9. Watch it LIVE or On Demand ONLY on FloGrappling