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After a two week hiatus, Fight to Win is back. The biggest party in grappling is returning to Philadelphia for Fight to Win 154, which will feature three black belt title fights. In the main event, Jon “Thor” Blank returns to competition for the first time in the COVID season to take on Manuel Ribamar. In the co-main event, Junny Ocasio will defend his bantamweight title against Jose Carlos Lima. And Maria Malyjasiak will try to dethrone Nathiely de Jesus.
Main Event: Manuel Ribamar vs Jon “Thor” Blank
Manuel Ribamar is the reigning no-gi world champ, and has a 7-1 record at Fight to Win. He’s a tenured black belt, and will be the relative veteran against Jon “Thor” Blank. Ribamar has also been active during in 2020, competing twice on Fight to Win since May, and winning Euros earlier this year.
Ribamar after winning 2019 No-Gi Worlds
But despite having 11 matches (7-4) this year, he has not competed in no-gi since winning worlds last December. That may pose a challenge for Riba, as he’s up against a no-gi specialist, Jon “Thor” Blank.
Thor defied expectations at ADCC last year, disrupting the 88 kg division and making it to the semifinals. The 10th Planet product has been quiet this year, only competing once in 2020. That match, at Grapplefest 8, was in February. Thor won via heel hook against Adam Wardzinksi.
Thor’s leglock pedigree could be his best opportunity to defeat Ribamar, a top player who excels in positional control. But that’s no easy task. Ribamar has never lost via heel hook.
This match fits into the paradigm of leg locker vs guard passer, which is always unpredictable. And it’s for a Fight to Win title.
Co-Main: Edwin “Junny” Ocasio vs Jose Carlos Lima
Junny has been on a roll this year. He hasn’t lost a match in 2020, and is rising through the 62 kg ranks, where he currently sits at no. 4. He’ll take on unranked Jose Carlos Lima in his second title defense, after a quick heel hook victory in his last title defense at Fight to Win 153.
Lima is making his 2020 debut against Junny, and will be looking for his first Fight to Win victory; he’s currently 0-2. He’ll be a major underdog in this matchup.
Watch: Junny Ocasio vs Marcelo Cohen at Fight To Win 153
Title Match: Maria Malyjasiak vs Nathiely de Jesus
This title match is also a rematch. Malyjasiak fought de Jesus in the heavyweight finals of the 2018 World Championship. In that match, de Jesus demonstrated tactical guard work, controlling the pace and ramping things up in the final minute, where she put Malyjasiak in submission trouble. Since then, De Jesus has accumulated two more Worlds golds, and has been a fixture at the no. 2 pound for pound rank.
Watch: Nathiely de Jesus vs Maria Malyjasiak at the 2018 IBJJF World Championships
Moreover, Nathiely has mastered the Fight to Win ruleset, maintaining a 5-0 record on the platform. Malyjasiak is also undefeated at Fight to Win. She’s 1-0, and her sole appearance was nearly three years ago. However, Malyjasiak did have an impressive outing at Pans last week, collecting three submissions in five matches.
Maria may be an underdog, but she can hang with Nathiely. In their 2018 match, Nathiely did not score a single point. And Maria has had two and a half years to adjust.
Fight to Win 154 will also include
- Jason Rau vs Bassil Hafez
- Nick Ronan vs Dylan Royce
- Daniel Tavares vs Omar Kadi
- and more