Vote NOW: 2020 Breakthrough Grappler Of The Year | FloGrappling Awards

Awards-Breakthrough Grappler.jpg

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

2020 was a challenging year for competitors to earn recognition. Still, a few competitors have found ways to throw themselves into the limelight. These six athletes, the candidates for Breakthrough Grappler Of The Year, sought out the biggest challenges, and routinely flourished.

Five of them have earned their black belts within the last four months, and one is still a brown belt. But they’ve each proven that they deserve our attention.

Here are the nominees for Breakthrough Grappler Of The Year.

Click here to cast your vote

See also: 

Vote for the 2020 Male Grappler of The Year

Vote for the 2020 Female Grappler of The Year


Tainan Dalpra


Tainan Dalpra made his brown belt debut at Euros in January, where won gold with five submissions in as many matches. That was just the beginning of the AOJ prodigy’s stellar year, as he continued to run up the score against most of his opponents, demonstrating the depths of his crafty guard and smooth passing. He finished the 2020 season undefeated, with 19 victories and 16 submissions.

Gui Mendes promoted Dalpra on the podium at Pans after Dalpra won gold with three submissions in six minutes of total mat time. Dalpra has not yet competed as a black belt, but we’re excited to watch the 20-year old test his skills against the best of the middleweight division.


Joshua Cisneros


Josh Cisneros earned his black belt shortly before the IBJJF returned from hiatus for the Austin open. In his debut outing, Cisneros beat Thiago Macedo and earned his way into the final, where he lost to Isaac Doederlein.

He had his coming out party at Pans, where he beat the no.1-seed, Paulo Miyao in the quarterfinals, and went on to win gold in the light featherweight division. And at American Nationals, he beat Richar Nogueira and then avenged his only loss, outscoring Doederlein in the final.

Cisneros finished his four-month long rookie season with a 9-1 record and two submission victories. Five of those wins came against ranked opponents. He finished the year as the no.2-ranked light featherweight.


Rafaela Guedes


Like Cisneros, Rafaela Guedes earned her black belt toward the end of 2020. But she quickly announced herself as a force against any opponent. She took double-gold at Pans in her black belt debut, and followed it up with a No-Gi Pans absolute gold. 

Guedes finished the year with a 10-1 record, with seven wins over ranked opponents, and three submissions.

Perhaps the biggest milestone of her year was her victory over Elisabeth Clay. Clay had tapped Guedes twice at No-Gi Worlds in 2019, and was red hot all year. 

Guedes finished the year near the top of the rankings in both gi and no-gi arenas. She’s ranked no.2 in her weight category in each. She is also a candidate for Female Grappler Of The Year.


Sam Nagai


Another late-year promotion recipient, Samuel Nagai had made his mark on the Fight to Win stage as a brown belt before being promoted to black belt. He continued to excel in that format as a black belt, submitting two in his debut performance at Subversiv 3, and also beating featherweight veterans Gianni Grippo and Marcio Andre.

But his biggest moment of the year came at Pans, when he scored 17 points on the no.1 seed Isaac Doederlein. 

Nagai ended the season with a 10-3 record, including four submission wins and three victories over ranked opponents. He’s currently the no.3-ranked featherweight.


William Tackett


William Tackett showed promise in 2019, but he elevated his game in 2020. Still a brown belt, Tackett has proven himself against seasoned black belt competitors all year.  He submitted Andrew Wiltse in the final at SubSpectrum; he tapped Jason Rau at Who’s Number One; and he’s been equally successful against much larger opponents.

He submitted Tex Johnson at Subversiv 4, and, in his final match of the year, he heel hooked Fellipe Andrew at Third Coast Grappling 5.

Tackett finished 2020 with an 89% submission rate, finishing eight opponents in his nine victories. Three of those submissions have come against ranked opponents. He has three losses on the year, but has not been submitted. Tackett is currently the no.3-ranked middleweight.


Elisabeth Clay


Elisabeth Clay earned her black belt last month. But she spent most of 2020 challenging some of the best black belts around, and winning by submission on most occasions. Clay ended the year with a record of 7-2, with six submissions. Throughout the year, she’s shown off her dangerous guard, and has become renowned for her heel hooks and gogoplatas.

After bursting onto the scene, Clay spent most of the year as the no.2-ranked heavyweight. After a loss to Guedes, she fell to the no.3 spot, but remains the no.7 pound-for-pound female grappler. She is also a candidate for Female Grappler Of The Year.


Vote: Breakthrough Grappler of 2020

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Make your picks!

Dates, Locations Announced For ADCC Trials In 2021

ADCC trials 2021.jpg

If you want to compete at the 2022 ADCC World Championships then you need to know the dates for the ADCC Trials scheduled for 2021. Invites are extremely limited and highly exclusive, meaning it is nearly essential to enter a qualifying event to guarantee your place at the biennial ADCC World Championships. 

The New IBJJF Rules For Heel Hooks And Leg Reaping in 2021

ibjjf heel hooks.jpg

The IBJJF has released its updated rules for 2021, which include rules legalizing the application of heel hooks and leg reaping techniques for some competitors.

FloSports Announces Partnership with Dollamur Sport Surfaces

FloSports_Dollamur Article Header.png

AUSTIN, TX  - January 12, 2021 - FloSports, the innovator in live sports streaming and original content, announced it has entered into a multi-year partnership with Dollamur Sport Surfaces to become the Official Mat of FloSports.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Can Tackett Avenge His Last Submission Loss vs John Combs?

Combs Tackett F2W 160.jpg

John Combs is one of very few black marks on William Tackett’s professional grappling record. Combs is the only person who has submitted Tackett in regulation since at least 2019.

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

FloGrappling Awards: Results For Best Match, Submission, Grapplers Of 2020

Awards-Generic.jpg

2020 has come to a close, and the fans have voted for the best moments and athletes of the year. There are hundreds of competitors and thousands of grappling matches every year across an array of formats. Even to be nominated is a major achievement. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Gordon & Nicky Ryan, Tye Ruotolo Set Who's Number One Records In 2020

gordon armbar kyle boehm WNO.jpg

In 2020, FloGrappling launched Who’s Number One, a series of superfights featuring the many of the best grapplers in the world. With the inaugural year of WNO now in the books, here are some of the athletes, trends, and noteworthy statistics from the mega event series in 2020.

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

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

2020 FloGrappling Awards: Vote For The Best Athletes, Submission, Match

Awards-Generic.jpg

2020 has come to a close, which means it’s time to vote for the best moments and athletes of the year. The fifth annual FloGrappling Awards is open for voting from Jan. 1 through Jan. 8. There are hundreds of competitors and thousands of grappling matches every year across an array of formats. Even to be nominated is a major achievement. 

Vote NOW for the 2020 Male Grappler of the Year | FloGrappling Awards

Awards-Best Male Grappler.jpg

To state the obvious, 2020 was an unusual year for competitive jiu-jitsu. Still, several competitors found ways to set themselves apart, and to impress us in ways few other athletes can.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Vote NOW for the 2020 Female Grappler of the Year | FloGrappling Awards

Awards-Best Female Grappler.jpg

There were significantly fewer opportunities for competitors to perform in 2020 than in years prior. Still, several competitors found ways to set themselves apart, and to impress us in ways few other athletes can.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In