The wait is (almost) over: ADCC 2019 is set to begin in less than twelve hours, and at long last, the brackets have been released.
While we’ve seen that anything can happen at an event featuring athletes of such a high caliber, check out some of the competitors and match-ups we’re particularly excited to see:
The heaviest bracket, featuring competitors over 99kgs, is doing just fine despite the loss of Joao Gabriel Rocha, who had to withdraw this week due to injury. In addition to having multiple long-time ADCC favorites (Buchecha, Cyborg, Orlando Sanchez, and Yuri Simoes, to name a few), this division also has a few new and exciting faces. Kaynan Duarte and blue belt phenom Nick Rodriguez (who has a very hype-worthy first round match against Mahamaed Aly to look forward to) will also get the chance to test themselves on the mats, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing just how far they make it against such tough and experienced competition.
The seemingly cursed 99kg division is still stacked even without Keenan Cornelius and Dillon Danis, who both withdrew from the event just days ago. With fan-favorite Gordon Ryan and heavy hitters like Vinny Magalhaes, Lucas Barbosa, and Tim Spriggs waiting to unleash their power on their opponents, we’re sure to see a lot of explosive matches in the first round and beyond. That said, though, it takes a lot of confidence to step into the most hyped up BJJ tournament in the world on just a couple days’ notice, so keep an eye on Dan Martinez and James Puopolo (who replaced Cornelius and Danis) for a potential upset.
In the 88kg division, Craig Jones returns to the competition that shot him to overnight fame. Also on his side of the bracket will be an exciting first-round match between Rustam Chsiev and 10th Planet standout Jon Blank, the winner of which may get the chance to face the very formidable Murilo Santana. On the other side of the bracket, Matheus Diniz and Josh Hinger will be coming out to play, and well-known internet instructionalist Alec Baulding will be put to the test against Gabriel Arges.
The 77kg division is a highly competitive bracket, and in many cases, it’s hard to place a solid bet on who would come ahead even in the first round of matches. Lucas Lepri vs. Lachlan Giles, Edwin Najmi vs. Celso Venicius, and Renato Canuto vs. Oliver Taza will all be particularly interesting first-round matches to watch. Plus, grappler-turned-MMA-fighter Garry Tonon will be making his return to the mats for the first time since 2017, making this division a can’t-miss for anyone watching the event.
The lightest of the male divisions will provide spectators with plenty of quick and technical action. We have the potential for a 10th Planet vs. 10th Planet match in the quarter-finals if Keith Krikorian and Geo Martinez both win their first-round matches, and Nicky Ryan’s first-round match against Jamil Hill was the cause for plenty of chatter after the brackets were released. With both young talent like Ryan and Kennedy Maciel and time-tested ADCC veterans like Bruno Frazatto, this will be a super fun category to watch, with the potential for a lot of surprises and upsets.
Although this bracket clearly demonstrates ADCC’s need for more women’s weight divisions, we still have the potential for a few exciting matches here. ADCC newcomer Amanda Leve has been making a serious impression as a high-level competitor back home, and while she’ll need every bit of her hard work and talent to defeat Ana Carolina Viera, doing so could open up many more huge opportunities for her. Gabi Garcia may have once been the clear favorite to win this division, but Nathiely de Jesus’ victory over her at Fight 2 Win and Tayane Porifirio’s dominance in her division over the past couple of years means that Garcia’s reign as the 60+kg star may be in jeopardy.
Truly, there isn’t a single final matchup that you could possibly be disappointed with in this bracket. First-round matches between Ffion Davies and Rikako Yuasa and Bianca Basilio and Livia Giles will be of particular interest to followers of this fun division, and all eyes will be on Bia Mesquita as she prepares to deliver the methodical brand of dominance she’s become known for over the years.
Keep an eye out for our coverage of 2019’s biggest BJJ event to see if your match predictions come true!