With all the super fights and invitationals that have been happening lately (I’m talking about EBI, Metamoris, Gordon Ryan vs. Keenan Cornelius, etc,) there has been a lot of buzz on Facebook about the “what’s next” for these fantastic displays. Two competitors who have been in the fray for a while but haven’t yet crossed paths are Tom DeBlass and Dean Lister. I think that matchup would be an instant classic.
Taking a look at both competitors, they are around the same age and have similarly stacked accolades. Both have slayed some serious dragons and both have evenly matched skill sets to provide fans with an action packed match.
If you watched the first Metamoris and saw Lister’s match against the legendary Xande Ribeiro, you know that in the 20 minute sub only arena Lister is highly entertaining to watch and is extremely difficult to submit.
DeBlass on the other hand is one of the most submission hungry athletes in the game, constantly participating in submission only contests like his younger colleagues and friends, Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan. In fact DeBlass actually brought Garry Tonon through the ranks in jiu jitsu.
So we’ve got two decorated athletes in the same weight-class who have never faced each other, and there’s another detail that makes the matchup intriguing: both men have a strong affinity for leg locks. Leg locks are all the rage right now so there’s a good chance that this match has some slick leg lock exchanges.
There are few formats in which a matchup like this could take place. This could be a one off super fight, but there are a few organizations that have been putting together phenomenal matchups over the past couple of years that could definitely put something like this together, think Submission Series Pro, Metamoris (if they can pay the athletes now) or better yet Fight To Win Pro.
Fight To Win Pro will likely be putting together a card in the very near future on the East Coast. They could put names like Gordon Ryan and Garry Tonon on there pretty easily, especially given that Tonon has competed on these cards in the recent past. In New York City there are several major camps that could feed a tournament like this including Unity and Marcelo Garcia’s Academy. It’s a promoter’s dream.
So, who wins in a match between Tom DeBlass and Dean Lister? The fans, that’s who. I had an opportunity to ask Tom what he thought of a matchup like this and his response was in line with what I already thought:
“Dean is an absolute legend. It would be an amazing honor to compete against him. Of course I believe in myself and feel since my focus has been solely Jiu-Jitsu for 2 years again without the distraction of MMA I am improving more then ever. Would love that match!”
What do you think? Would a matchup between Dean Lister and Tom DeBlass be one of the best matches ever? Who would win???