ADCC East Coast Trials Sees Plenty of Upsets, And Where Was Nicky Ryan?

The 1st ADCC North American Trials  (East Coast) drew some serious talent to New Jersey, with hundreds of competitors at what ADCC officials called “the best Trials we have seen yet”. 

Reid and I gave our predictions earlier this week, highlighting the favorites, the dark horses and the wild cards in each division. When it came down to it our picks mostly came through, and when they didn’t it was one of our indicated “disruptors” who took them out. 

Not only did Trials confirm who would travel to the 2019 ADCC World Championships in Los Angeles next September, but they also allowed us a good look at some of the lesser-seen no-gi talents, and even a glimpse of the future as up-and-comers got to show their skills in a ruleset we only see come around every couple of years. 

Let’s take a look at how the divisions played out. 

66kg

Champion: Ethan Crelinsten 

Runner-up: Keith Krikorian 

Third place: Sal Guerreiro

Standout competitor: Tye Ruotolo 

Best submission: Marvin Castelle's Dead Orchard  

There were a handful of frontrunners for the super stacked 66kg division, and Ethan Crelinsten was among the top three contenders for the top spot. The Tri-Star / Renzo Gracie team member tore through the division with four submissions and one points win (over 10th Planet’s Krikorian in the final). 

Jon Calestine, one of the division’s favorites, came up short against the wrestler Sal Guerreiro of American Top Team in the quarterfinal. Calestine was unable to consolidate position on any of his leglock entries and it was Guerreiro’s workrate in overtime that most likely got him the decision. Once again ADCC rules change the status quo and offer strong wrestlers a chance at victory. 

Among the standouts in the super-stacked 66kg division was Tye Ruotolo, the 15-year-old from Atos who fought his way through to the semifinal against overall winner Crelinsten. Ruotolo won three matches before succumbing to a nasty heel hook (*correction, kneebar*) that appeared to injure his knee. Ruotolo was helped off the mat by Crelinsten’s teammate Gordon Ryan, unable to bear weight on the injured leg. 

So, the answer to “What happened to Nicky Ryan?” appears to be a little more complicated than we first thought. He was signed up but his name didn’t make it into the brackets and we were told that he had staph. at the venue however, there were conflicting stories about what prevented him from competing; an inured knee, an injured ankle– we’re still not sure. He was sat at mat side though to watch and coach his teammates. Let’s see if he comes back for West Coast Trials in February. 

Watch final: Ethan Crelinsten vs Keith Krikorian


77kg

Champion: Jon Satava 

Runner-up: Jason Rau 

Third place: Dustin Akbari

Best submission: Dustin Akbari’s “Persian prybar”

It was a battle of New York in the 77kg final with two grapplers who train just four blocks from each other in Manhattan. Jon Satava of Marcelo Garcia edged Jason Rau of Renzo Gracie by two points to win gold after four matches (it should have been five but Satava’s opponent William Thackett forfeited the semifinal match). Rau had submitted all of his opponents in the run-up to the final but ran into the brick wall that is Satava, the only competitor to take Rau past four minutes. 

Dustin Akbari fought his way through to the semifinals and showed some nice submissions in the process. Akbari put Caleb McAllister to sleep with a reverse triangle and then tapped Jason Olcott with an unnamed submission I hereby christen the Persian Prybar. Check it out. 

Some notes: PJ Barch won against Thackett and was on track to the semifinals but injured his knee in the quarterfinal and so could not continue. Word is the injury may well be serious enough to take him out of KASAI Pro 4 on Nov 10. More news on this as we get it. 

Watch final: Jonathan Satava vs Jason Rau


88kg

Champion: Alec Baulding 

Runner-up: Dan Martinez 

Third place: Roberto Jimenez 

Best submission: Hunter Colvin’s armbar  

Alec Baulding is one of those criminally-underrated athletes who flies under the radar. A humble black belt from Alliance in Georgia, Baulding has performed well in local-level IBJJF tournaments but this is the first time we’ve seen him under these rules. The stocky grappler had two wins via points, one submission and one ref’s decision, taking out Kyle Boehm of 10th Planet, Ryan Quinn of Renzo Gracie and Roberto Jimenez before out-scoring Martinez in the final. 

The aforementioned Roberto Jimenez fought into third place, proving he’s capable of competing under pretty much any ruleset. From IBJJF gi and no-gi to ADCC and even submission-only, the brown belt is only 18 years old and his potential seems limitless. 

Watch final: Alec Baulding vs Dan Martinez


99kg

Champion: Tim Spriggs 

Runner-up: Mario Gonzalez 

Third place: Nicholas Albin

Best submission: Calvin Tacey’s triangle armbar from the back  

Tim Spriggs made it no secret he was eyeing gold at the ADCC Trials and he went into this event looking, as he once described, “supremely confident”. There were less big names in the -99kg, but none the less capable. Mario Gonzalez, who Spriggs faced in the final, is a former wrestler at the University of Illinois and now training under Comprido. Last time we checked though, he was “just” a blue belt! Spriggs won by points in all but one of his matches, putting a minimum of three points on every opponent and only getting scored on once the entire run a 2 point reversal in his second match). 

Nicholas Albin may have gotten caught by Spriggs in a quick guillotine, but the Kentuckian impressed us with his versatile game. He score three subs in five matches for third place, with all three subs in just over four minutes combined. 

Watch final: Tim Spriggs vs Mario Gonzalez


+99kg 

Champion: Aaron “Tex” Johnson 

Runner-up: Hudson Taylor 

Third place: Nick Rodriguez

Best submission: Tex Johnson's kneebar

Johnson’s win has to be one of the quickest ADCC Trials victories in history. In four total matches, the Unity bruiser spent only 2 minutes and 48 seconds on the mat. Incredible. Two of Tex’s subs came via leglock, and two via triangle. Like a buzzsaw through the division, Johnson continues to impress us with his developing game. 

Word is that third place finisher Nick Rodriguez has only been training for 6 months! If so, the model-cum-grappler shows excellent promise. Look out for this guy. 

Watch final: Aaron Tex Johnson vs Hudson Taylor


Click here to see all matches from the 2018 ADCC 1st North American Trials. Interactive brackets with links to match videos can be found here.

Kaynan Duarte First Person To Tame "Wild Animal" Nick Rodriguez

It finally happened. For the first time in 49 matches, somebody was able to submit Nick Rodriguez, a man Gordon Ryan described as "a wild animal that knows strangles". 

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

How Can Nick Rodriguez Get Revenge vs Kaynan Duarte At F2W?

Nick Rodriguez faces a daunting task this Saturday at Fight 2 Win 128 in Philadelphia, going up against the opponent who just soundly beat him less than a month ago in the biggest match of his career. Kaynan Duarte took Nick's back and controlled the position for several minutes in their recent gold medal match at the ADCC 2019 World Championships in Anaheim, California.

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

US Judo Olympian Nick Delpopolo To Enter Fight 2 Win Stage

An American judo Olympian is slated to compete this weekend at Fight 2 Win 128. Nick Delpopolo will become the first active judoka on the International Judo Federation’s ranking list to compete in judo on Oct. 19 when he makes his Fight 2 Win debut against Kell Berliner in Philadelphia.

Lachlan Giles Joins ADCC Absolute Legends With Inspirational Submissions

null

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Score one for the lightweights. After suffering a first-round defeat to Lucas Lepri in the 77kg division, Lachlan Giles shocked the grappling world, proving the smaller guys can hang in the open weight.

UPDATE: Dillon Danis Convinces Viral Bully Victim to Start Jiu-Jitsu

Recently, we published an article about Dillon Danis watching a viral video of a Baltimore teenager getting beaten up by several students in his school's bathroom. Danis was bullied himself as a child and felt the need to reach out to help. Dillon said if the victim was interested in training, he would happily pay for his jiu-jitsu membership. The bullying victim accepted Dillon's offer, and today this photo was posted of the kid's first day on the mat. Danis had this to say about the victim joining;

Erberth Santos vs Nicholas Meregali Booked For Fight 2 Win 130!

Look out, this one is going to be explosive! Two of the baddest bad boys in jiu-jitsu will face off at Fight 2 Win 130. No points, submission only! 

Kaynan Duarte To Rematch Nick Rodriguez At Fight 2 Win 128

With a main event between Kaynan Duarte and Nick Rodriguez, and a co-main event between Joao Miyao and Lucas Pinheiro, Fight 2 Win 128 brings beasts from all weight classes to Philadelphia this Saturday, October 19. 

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Kaynan Duarte Back To Business With Rematch of ADCC Final

Three weeks ago, Atos black belt Kaynan Duarte solidified his name in the history books by winning the +99kg division at the ADCC World Championship, undoubtedly the most prestigious grappling event in the world. 

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Dates & Locations for 2020 ADCC Trials Announced

The fever of the 2019 ADCC World Championships is yet to die down, and if anybody has dreams of competing on those mats the Trials are an essential part of the process. 

Prospect Watch: The Next Generation of AOJ Standouts

The IBJJF Pan Kids is a window into the future of the sport, the best kids at Pans tend to have success at the juvenile level next before graduating into the adult divisions at 18. If you have followed this event over the ten years of its existence, you know that the Costa Mesa-based Art of Jiu-Jitsu academy stands out among the rest as the best kids team in the world.

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In