The Disruptors & Dark Horses at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles

There's something about UAEJJF tournaments that seems to deliver shock results. Maybe it's the shorter matches, maybe it's something else. But whatever it is, we're nearly always sure to see some upsets. 

With that in mind, below I've highlighted six black belts who could play spoiler come Saturday Sep 22 in Los Angeles at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. Call them dark horses, call them disruptors... Just don't overlook them, as they can very quickly derail even the surest of plans. 

Click to watch Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles LIVE or On Demand on FloGrappling

Saturday, Sept 22 | Los Angeles | 10pm PST

Gabriel Sousa 

To give him his full name, Joao Gabriel Batista de Sousa of ZR Team, is down at 62kg. A light featherweight standout as a brown belt, Sousa is a recently-promoted black belt who impressed us with a silver medal at the first Abu Dhabi Grand Slam of the season in Tokyo. 

Pablo Mantovani 

The 69kg division is loaded with talent: Paulo Miyao, Rafael Mansur, Gianni Grippo and Kennedy Maciel are among the favorites, but Mantovani (Atos) should absolutely not be overlooked. He's technical when he wants to be, and he can turn up the intensity when he needs to. A tough match for anybody. 

Leo Lara 

77kg is looking to be one of the deepest and most dangerous divisions with a nice mix of elite-level athletes, a few veterans and some new faces. One of those is Leo Lara of Almeida JJ / Atos. Although he'll be shoulder to shoulder with Marcio Andre, Victor Silver, Jaime Canuto and more, look for the 2018 brown belt UAEJJF World Pro champion and IBJJF World champion to show what he's capable of. 

Diego Ramalho 

Nicknamed "Sem Nocao" (roughly meaning, "Clueless"), Ramalho is another ZR Team member on this list. Based out of LA he'll have the advantage of competing on home turf, and while it might be tempting to focus on the big names such as Rudson Mateus, Dante Leon or Manuel Ribamar, Ramalho didn't become Tokyo Grand Slam champ by accident. 

Gustavo Batista 

A bronze medalist at the Abu Dhabi World Pro this year at 85kg, Batista is equal parts technician and tactical, but he's certainly not afraid to mix it up with the toughest black belts in the world. Fighting up a category from his normal weight at 94g, he'll have to contend with the likes of Jackson Sousa and Adam Wardzinski but this clever guard player with slick transitions could very well make the podium. 

Matheus Felipe Xavier

This Checkmat athlete was the number one-ranked brown belt in the world at the end of the 2017-18 UAEJJF season. Now competing as a black belt he'll have to contend with the stacked 110kg division which contains huge names (literally and figuratively); Erberth Santos, Gutemberg Pereira, Helton Jr, Max Gimenis, Tanner Rice and more. A tough test for the newcomer but one he'll surely relish as he looks to make his mark in the black belt ranks.

Meet the Four Bantamweight Qualifiers Set to Battle in Orlando

The four bantamweight qualifiers are set for July 4th in Orlando when KASAI takes it's  show on the road again for another card loaded with the best  jiu-jitsu athletes in the world.

Nathiely's Kneebar Solidifies Her Dominance At Fight 2 Win 115

Nathiely De Jesus retained her F2W welterweight title against Jessica Flowers at F2W 115 in Seattle, on Saturday June 15. 

From Russia With Subs: Upsets, Legends & Big Debuts At Grand Slam Moscow

The AJP Tour made their first visit to Russia for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Moscow, the first event of the 2019-2020 season. 

Black Belt Champs Excel In Russia In Thrilling AJP Tour Season Opener

The 2019/2020 season of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour is now officially open. 

Full Results & Match Links from Abu Dhabi King of Mats Moscow

The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Abu Dhabi King of Mats will bring to Russia some of the best Jiu-Jitsu competitors in the world. On June 15, the fifth installment of the Abu Dhabi King of Mats will feature ten of the most talented heavyweight black belts today.

Word Is That Rodolfo Vieira Has Signed With The UFC

Cyborg & Rodolfo Vieira Train Wrestling

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The buzz around town is that Rodolfo Vieira has signed a deal with the UFC and will compete in the Octagon in coming weeks.

Never Miss A Moment With The New FloSports App

null

Never miss a moment. 

Sub-Only Rules Prove Anything Can Happen: Will We See An Upset At F2W 115?

null

Nathiely De Jesus (Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ) will defend her Fight 2 Win middleweight title versus Jessica Flowers (Gracie Barra) this Saturday June 15 at F2W 115 in Seattle. 

Russian Roulette: Heavyweight Fight For Survival At King Of Mats Moscow

The Abu Dhabi King of Mats Moscow kicks off the 2019/20 installment of the series with a diverse goup of heavyweights, including Joao Gabriel Rocha, Kaynan Durate, Ricardo Evangelista, and more.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro Tour (AJP): A New Era For Professional Jiu-Jitsu

With 78 events in all six continents on each season, the AJP aims to elevate our sport to levels of excellence and professionalism never achieved before.