2022 ADCC World Championships

Road To Gold: How 8 New ADCC Champs Took Over

Road To Gold: How 8 New ADCC Champs Took Over

Last week, eight athletes became ADCC champions. See the champions, the context, and each of their matches en route to gold below.

Sep 24, 2022 by Corey Stockton
Road To Gold: How 8 New ADCC Champs Took Over

Last week, eight athletes wrote their names into the ADCC history books, becoming champions of the 2022 edition of the tournament and the biggest grappling tournament in history. See the champions, the context, and each of their matches en route to gold below.

+99kg Champion & Superfight Champion: Gordon Ryan

Gordon Ryan has made it clear. He is the greatest ADCC competitor of all time. With his win over Nick Rodriguez, he became the only athlete in ADCC history to win gold in three different weight categories; and with his superfight victory over Andre Galvao, Ryan captured his fifth ADCC title.

He now holds titles in the 88kg, 99kg, +99kg and absolute divisions as well as the superfight.

Ryan won four of his five matches via submission, giving him an 80% submission rate this year, and moving his overall ADCC submission rate to 75%. He’s 20-1 with 15 submission wins.

Ryan is now scheduled to face Yuri Simoes at ADCC 2024 in the superfight, and may look to follow his own lead, entering a weight category as well. He was the first in history to do that this year; every other superfight competitor in the history of ADCC had only fought in the main event.

To win his weight category, Ryan submitted Heikki Jussila from the back, defeated Victor Hugo on points, then hit two heel hooks. The first, over Roosevelt Sousa, was the fastest submission of the tournament at 11 seconds. In the final, he finished Nick Rodriguez with a heel hook in two minutes, 15 seconds.

Watch his road to double gold here:

Absolute Champion: Yuri Simoes

The Brasa CTA representative is now a three-time ADCC champion in three different categories. This year, he won the coveted absolute title, taking out four ADCC medalists on his road to gold. He now has the right to face superfight champion Gordon Ryan in the main event at ADCC 2024.

Simoes had a rocky start to his 2022 ADCC campaign, losing in the quarterfinals to Nicholas Meregali after narrowly defeating Meregali’s New Wave Jiu-Jitsu teammate Luke Griffith in the opening round.

But he bounced back hard in the open weight bracket, defeating:

Along the way, Simoes overcame two opponents who had previously defeated him. First, Nick Rodriguez, who beat him at WNO in 2021. Next, Nicholas Meregali, who defeated him earlier in the ADCC tournament in the -99kg category.

The top of the ADCC podium is familiar territory for Simoes, who has stood there twice previously in his career. He won the 88kg division in 2015 without conceding a point; and he went unscored on again in 2017 when he won the -99kg division.

In 2019, he tried to tackle his third consecutive weight class, but fell short to Kaynan Duarte in the +99kg quarterfinal — he was injured in an exchange during the match.

Across the ADCC era, 68 athletes have earned at least one gold medal. Simoes is now situated among the top 22% of ADCC champions who have earned three titles.

-99kg Champ: Kaynan Duarte

Kaynan Duarte’s positional dominance has carried him, once again, to the title of ADCC champion. He’s now earned ADCC titles in two separate weight categories, one of just three athletes to do so (Gordon Ryan, Yuri Simoes).

On his road to his second gold medal, Duarte tallied up 25 points and conceded only two, although his final match against Craig Jones resulted in an unusual score, as the judges penalized Duarte with a barrage of negative points.

See his road to gold here:

88kg Champ: Giancarlo Bodoni

Giancarlo Bodoni will go down as the breakout champion of ADCC 2022, not only because of the athletes he beat, but also because of how he beat them. After taking out Isaque Bahiense in the opening round, Bodoni went on a three submission spree, picking off 2019 ADCC champ Matheus Diniz in the quarterfinal with a rear mount triangle, countering the leglock of Eoghan O’Flanagan, and downing rival Lucas Barbosa with a second rear mount triangle in the final.

Bodoni, who won the East Coast Trials to qualify for ADCC, is now the second American grappler in history to win the 88kg division. The first was his teammate, Gordon Ryan, in 2017.

Bodoni entered into the absolute division following his victory, and submitted Haisam Rida in the opening round. With that submission, Bodoni tied Gordon Ryan and Kade Ruotolo for the most submissions at ADCC 2022.

Bodoni lost to teammate Nicholas Meregali in the second round of the absolute bracket.

See his road to gold here:

77kg Champ: Kade Ruotolo

Kade Ruotolo’s impeccable run to ADCC champion put him among ADCC greats. He’s now the youngest ADCC champion in history, breaking the records of Hall of Famers Rafa Mendes and Kyra Gracie. And he’s the first athlete to win all four of his division matchups via submission; the last person to do that was Kron Gracie in 2013.

The 77kg division was considered to be the deepest of the tournament, but the East Coast Trials winner, Ruotolo, took the gold in his rookie ADCC season, submitting Lachlan Giles and PJ Barch with armbars, and catching Roberto Jimenez and Mica Galvao with heel hooks.

Watch his flawless road to gold:

66kg Champ: Diogo Reis

Seven unanswered points carried Diogo Reis to his first ADCC title. The 1st South American Trials winner took out trials winners Ash Williams and Fabricio Andey — a Fight Sports Manaus teammate — before knocking off two invitees: Josh Cisneros and Gabriel Sousa.

The 66kg division was wide open, with no returning champion and a litany of legitimate contenders. But Reis overcame the odds; he was valued at +400 to win the tournament according to opening betting lines.

Throughout his run, Reis demonstrated scrappy wrestling and excellent top control, out-scoring three of his four opponents.

Watch his road to gold:

+60kg Champ: Amy Campo

Amy Campo went from rising star to household name in her surge to her first ADCC title in her debut. In her run she took out three of the division’s top talents: Elisabeth Clay, Gabi Garcia and Rafaela Guedes. In doing so, Campo became the first person to defeat Garcia at ADCC since 2015, knocking off the four-time champ. And in the final, she took down Guedes, who many considered to be the division favorite.

Campo is now the only American to win the +60kg division in the history of ADCC.

Watch her road to gold:

-60kg Champ: Ffion Davies

After capturing the silver medal in 2019, Ffion Davies surged through the -60kg division this year to claim her first ADCC title. In doing so, the Welsh athlete became the first British champion to claim ADCC gold.

In three matches, Davies scored a massive 26 points including a submission win. In the semifinal, she won a rubber match against Bia Mesquita, and she tallied ten points in both her first and final match.

Watch her road to gold: