2021 1st ADCC North American Trial

Six Of The Biggest Stars Returning To The East Coast Trials At 77 kg

Six Of The Biggest Stars Returning To The East Coast Trials At 77 kg

See six of the most exciting grapplers registered for the 200-deep 77 kg division at the ADCC East Coast Trials, coming to FloGrappling on Nov. 6-7.

Oct 27, 2021 by Corey Stockton
Six Of The Biggest Stars Returning To The East Coast Trials At 77 kg

More than 200 athletes are registered for the 77 kg division at the 2021 North American ADCC Trials, making it one of the deepest brackets in trials history.

Most of the roster will remain behind under lock and key until the week of the event, but ADCC organizer Mo Jassim and East Coast Trials head Tom Deblass have authorized FloGrappling to release the names of some of the biggest names registered for each bracket. Stay tuned all week to see the names of the brightest stars in each division.

Yesterday, we announced six of the candidates in the 66 kg division. Today, we’re taking a look at 77 kg.

Many of these men are favorites to win the division. Two of them have previously won trials, and others have previously gotten to the final rounds of stacked trials brackets. But this year could be the toughest bracket to date; lucky athletes would have to get through seven rounds of competition to qualify for the ADCC World Championship in 2022, while most competitors would have to win eight.

The first ever two-day long ADCC trials, watch the 1st North American ADCC Trials, streamed from Atlantic City, NJ, live on FloGrappling on November 6-7.

Kade Ruotolo | Atos

Kade Ruotolo made it to the third round of the East Coast Trials in 2018 when he was just 16 years old, and made it to the quarterfinals at the West Coast Trials in 2019, just a few months later. At that time, the teenager was in the 66 kg division. He has grown into himself since then, and his grappling abilities have grown with him.

Ruotolo is one of the most exciting grapplers in the lightweight classes today. He has a dynamic passing game, an aggressive wrestling style, and he can set up a darce — or a buggy choke — from anywhere. He has a remarkably high submission rate, an incredible gas tank, and an insatiable desire to break his opponent’s body and will. 2021 has been the year of Kade Ruotolo, and qualifying for ADCC with a successful performance at the trials would be the cherry on top.

William Tackett | Checkmat

William Tackett has come so close to winning trials and qualifying for the ADCC World Championship in the two previous iterations of North American trials. He took fourth in 2018, losing to the winner, Jon Satava, in the semis. And he took second in 2019, losing to John Combs in the final.

The last time he entered the trials, Tackett was just 17 years old, and still establishing himself. Now, he’s a household name, with victories over some of the key competitors in the sport. The 2020 FloGrappling Grappler Of The Year, Tackett may be in the best position ever to earn his shot at ADCC worlds, and, in the process, he could find redemption against some of the men who beat him in previous trials.

John Combs | Easton

Now an ADCC veteran, John Combs had the best day of his grappling career at the 2019 West Coast Trials, when he earned five submissions in six matches to earn his right to compete at ADCC worlds. Combs has a legendary guillotine, but his wrestle-heavy style, his aggressive pace and his undrainable gas tank make him a prime candidate for a repeat performance. Combs has the durability to sustain eight rounds, and the submission sense to make them short.

Jon Satava | Alliance

Jon Satava had one of the most challenging roads to gold at the 2018 East Coast Trials, but he was successful there nonetheless. He’s got a style built for the ADCC ruleset, featuring great wrestling, a strong top game, and a deep understanding of how to control the scoreboard.

PJ Barch | 10th Planet

PJ Barch looked like he might have hit the top of the podium at the trials in 2018, making it to the semis where he would have faced Satava. He caught two lightning fast submissions in the first two rounds, before running up the score in his next two. But an injury left him unable to continue, and Barch spent most of the following year sidelined to rehabilitate his leg.

Barch returned to competition in 2020 looking better than ever, maintaining a 75% submission rate since his injury. 

He has some of the best wrestling in the 77 kg division, which, along with his rampant pace and opportunistic attack style, should make him one of the favorites in this 200-man division.

Kody Steele | Checkmat

Kody Steele’s style is the textbook example of wrestle-jitsu, which makes him well qualified for an ADCC ruleset which heavily favors takedowns, aggressiveness and forward movement. Steele dropped early in the 2018 East Coast Trials, falling short of the 88 kg quarterfinals. But he should be more comfortable at 77 kg, and should be better prepared to execute his physically imposing game in that division.