One of the most anticipated upcoming matches in jiu-jitsu has experienced a shakeup, but don’t worry — it’s still guaranteed to bring the action.
Third Coast Grappling has announced that the headlining match of their third major event will now put 2019 ADCC 99kg and absolute champ Gordon Ryan against 2017 IBJJF World Champion Erberth Santos. Santos will be taking the place of Rodolfo Vieira, who was originally slated to face Ryan.
3CG promotor Ryan McGuire told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that the change was to ensure both fair pay for the competitors and the survival of the promotion. “We made our initial deal with Rodolfo under vastly different terms earlier this year,” he said. “It had to be modified to fit the terms of our new deal so we could ensure our survival. We didn’t want to pull a Metamoris and make big cards and not be able to pay the talent. We put a premium on paying our fighters and paying them well; in this case, we saw a gap we couldn’t confidently close before Dec 7th. We renegotiated, but we were far apart. It wasn’t any fault of his. We plan to rebook at a later date. We have had to make a lot of changes in the wake of our new deal and this was the final one. It’s for the best and ensures us a long future.”
While many fans (and Gordon Ryan himself) were excited to see what Vieira could bring to the match, Santos is both a worthy and highly entertaining competitor for the main event of a card that’s been highly anticipated for months now. However, he’s not without his share of controversy. In a moment that now lives in jiu-jitsu infamy, he abandoned his match with Felipe Pena and ran off the stage in a violent outburst at the BJJ Stars event earlier this year. Ryan, for his part, has also been the subject of criticism due to his behavior on social media. McGuire sees these similarities as being part of the reason this matchup is perfect for both competitors.
“They already have that built-in heat,” McGuire said of the grapplers. “Gordon and Erberth are two of the most polarizing figures in jiu-jitsu. It’s a legit grudge match and honestly probably the only match where the Brazilians will cheer for Gordon. It’s a must-see match, and we are glad it came together the way it did.”
You can watch Santos vs. Ryan, plus the rest of a very stacked card when 3CG III lights up Texas and FloGrappling on December 7.