My Thoughts and Predictions For the 2022 ADCC World Championships
Grappling will never be the same.
We’re a day out from the biggest Jiu-Jitsu event of all time.
Normally, I don’t have time to do these event previews, but life has forced me out of my routine and I’m stuck at home for a few days.
To combat my cabin fever, I thought I’d do an ADCC preview.
If you guys like it, give me a like at the bottom of the article so I can know to do more articles like this.
This article is going to be pretty simple: I just got myself a cold brew, I had a snack, and I’m going to try and predict who’s going to win this weekend’s ADCC championship at each weight class (and the superfight!) in the men’s and women’s divisions.
Let’s get started.
66 KG—Wait… This is hard.
This is harder than I thought. These divisions are fucking stacked.
One of the more interesting storylines for this ADCC is Garry Tonon’s drop to the 66 KG division. Garry has competed at 77 KG for every ADCC he’s done in his career. He took 3rd in 2019 at 77 KG.
However, if anyone has the style to make a move down to 66 work, it’s Garry. His dynamic movement and unpredictability make him a problem for anyone, really. Regardless of weight class.
There’s also my good friend and West Coast Trials champ Keith Krikorian, Josh Cisneros (2nd at West Coast Trials), ADCC vet Ethan Crelinsten, and (another guy I’m very interested in watching) Cole Abate, out of Art of Jiu-Jitsu. It will be interesting to see how Cole performs as the youngest competitor in the division.
If Cole wins, he’ll be the youngest ADCC champion in history.
My pick for the 66 KG division is Garry — he’s always been my favorite guy to watch and I’d love to see him get his first ADCC title. If the weight cut isn’t a problem for him, he will be very tough to beat.
My dark horse pick is Asia/Oceania Trial champ Jeremy Skinner—the guys out of the Asia/European qualifiers don’t get as much publicity as the US champions, but the level of grappling around the world is growing fast. Skinner is really tough with a great leg game (I was studying his leg locks before I knew who he was), and most people won’t be looking at him as a guy who will make waves in this year’s ADCC.
Remember last time a guy from Lachlan’s school went into ADCC flying a bit under the radar? (Hint: this guy named Craig Jones in 2017. I think he was also in Slipknot or something.)
One storyline I’m really interested in is Nicky Ryan and how he performs after more than a year away from the competition scene. I wonder if the ring rust will be a factor.
Nicky hasn’t competed since he beat Dante Leon (also in this division) at the 2021 FloGrappling “Road to ADCC” event last summer.
Technically, Nicky is on another level. It’s the other factors I’m worried about.
Oh, and 2-time reigning champ JT Torres.
What JT has going for him is experience. JT has competed in every ADCC but one (he didn’t compete in 2015) since 2011.
People might be concerned about JT’s lack of competitive matches over the last few years, but JT has been competing in ADCC rules for more than a decade. I think he’s plenty prepared and experienced. Probably the most experienced in the division.
JT is 4 wins a way from “77 KG GOAT” status.
I haven’t even mentioned the other favorites in this division, including Kade Ruotolo (East Coast Trials champ), William Tackett (West Coast Trials champ), and Mica Galvao (South American Trials champ).
My pick for the 77 KG division is Nicky Ryan—this pick is a little bit of a gamble. I’m gambling that Nicky’s going to have a good weight cut, is healthy, and doesn’t have ring rust. After everything the B Team guys have been through, I’d love to see him pull this one off.
Also, it would be boring for me to just pick JT or Mica like everyone seems to think—but JT would be my second choice and Mica my third.
My dark horse pick for 77 KG is PJ Barch and Andy Varela—This ruleset was designed for PJ. If PJ is on (given his frame I’m assuming he’s got to cut a bit of weight to make 77) and the matchups are right, he can beat certainly reach the podium or even make the finals of this tournament. Varela is the same way—he’s exciting, good on the feet, and explosive. He’s always one flying triangle away from shocking the world.
88 KG—It’s not getting easier.
When Matheus Diniz beat Craig Jones in the final of the 88 KG division in 2019, I realized that ADCC is not a Jiu-Jitsu tournament.
It’s a submission wrestling tournament. If you can’t wrestle (especially in the finals), you won’t win.
Strategy is everything in ADCC. That’s why my strategy was a big focus for me in all my ADCC Trials runs this year.
Matheus Diniz has a great game for ADCC, and that makes him really tough to beat.
However, depending on how the matchups go, I wouldn’t be surprised if Matheus doesn’t even make it to the second day of competition. He could win, or he could lose in the first round.
Izaak Michell could beat him. Tye Ruotolo could beat him. Mason Folwer and Giancarlo Bodoni could beat him.
But that said, there are guys who could beat those guys as well. Styles make fights, and I think in 88 this will be more important than people think.
My pick for the 88 KG division is Tye Ruotolo—Tye proved at the 2021 WNO championship that he doesn’t mind fighting up in weight. He also hasn’t lost in no-gi since 2020. In my opinion, he’s a bit more conservative than his brother, and in the later stages of the matches, I think that that will pay dividends. I don’t see anyone scoring on him. The only way he loses is by referee decision or submission.
At least one Ruotolo brother will win an ADCC title this year.
My dark horse pick is Eoghan O’Flanagan—most people don’t even know who Eoghan is. When I met and trained with him at London Grapple in May, I wanted to add him on Instagram afterward but I couldn’t find him because I couldn’t spell his name correctly.
He’s dangerous. He won the first European Trials with all subs, and he’s only gotten better. Keep your eyes on Eoghan.
99 KG—Is it Craig Jones’ year?
The 99 KG division is a lot of fun.
There are a lot of up-and-comers in this division—Elder Cruz, Luke Griffith, Devhonte Johnson, and Owen Livesey.
You also have 88 KG silver medalist Craig Jones, 2019 finalist Vinicius Gazola, and of course, Nicholas Meregali. I’m really interested in watching Meregali in his biggest challenge yet since switching to no-gi— he looked great in his match against fellow 99 KG competitor Rafael Lovato just a few weeks back.
My pick for the 99 KG is Craig Jones—I think from a technical stand point, there is no one in this division that is better.
I think that his toughest matches will be Yuri (multi-time ADCC champion), Luke Griffith (a real dark horse—I’m very bullish on this guy), and Nicholas Meregali.
My dark horse pick is Luke Griffith out of New Wave—I watched Griffith’s run at the European Trials and (I believe) he won every single match by submission. Griffith is an up-and-comer who could make his name in this event.
+99—This is a fun division.
The +99 division is going to be exciting. Given the names in the bracket, I also think it’s going to have the most “drama” of any division.
Gordon Ryan is the clear favorite, but there’s also Felipe Pena, Nicky Rod, “Big Dan” Manasoiu, and the last person to beat Gordon, Vinny Magalhaes.
I really don’t think that Gordon is going to lose, but I think that Nicky Rod is going to give him the toughest match. Likely, it will be either Nicky Rod or Felipe Pen taking on Gordon in the finals.
My pick for the +99 division is Gordon Ryan—I think this is Gordon’s world right now and all the other competitors in his division are living in it. I just hope it’s close.
My dark horse pick for +99 is Nicky Rod—the thought of a Nicky Rod vs. Gordon Ryan match is really exciting to me. In the ADCC ruleset, I think Nicky Rod is the only guy who could potentially beat Gordon. I also think that people are sleeping on Nicky after a few less-than-awesome performances this year.
Women’s -60 KG—.
This article is well over 1500 words. I’m going to finish it though I promise.
I really wish the ADCC divisions for women were bigger (maybe that will change in the next edition of the event, but Jiu-Jitsu isn’t exactly known for being the most “progressive” sport), but the fact that each women’s division only has 8 competitors makes every single match ridiculously hard to pick.
This makes the division a lot of fun.
My pick for the -60 KG division is Ffion Davies—Ffion has been having a killer year (winning a world title in the gi back in June).
My dark horse pick for the -60 KG division is Brianna Ste-Marie—Brianna won every single match in the East Coast Trials and in the West Coast Trials. The North American Trials are the toughest trials, and Brianna won every single match at both. I expect her to make the podium at the very least.
What I’m really looking forward to is the possibility of a match between Brianna and Ffion—that’s a match people have wanted to see on WNO for a long time.
Women’s +60—Gaaaaahhh anyone but Gabi.
Gabi Garcia, based on her sheer size alone is probably the woman to beat in this division, but I think that her time in the sun has come and gone.
The question is, who’s going to take her out?
This is a tough pick, but leading the charge of the division are West Coast Trials champion Amy Campo, Kendall Reusing (who won the East Coast Trials), and of course, Rafaela Guedes, who has been incredibly dominant throughout the early course of her black belt career.
My pick for the +60 KG division is Kendall Reusing—Kendall might be slept on a bit by fans because she didn’t do the West Coast Trials (she missed due to a back injury I believe), but she was dominant at the East Coast Trials. I think Gabi is her toughest match, but Kendall is a multi-time national wrestling champion when she was a high school.
If the match goes to overtime, Kendall has the best shot of taking Gabi down and taking her back.
My dark horse pick for the +60 KG division is Amy Campo—Amy is the West Coast Trials champ and an incredibly accomplished gi competitor as well. No-gi, she’s only lost to Kendall this ADCC cycle, but if West Coast Trials is any indication, she is a lot better since that match. She is certainly a dark horse.
The Superfight: Gaaaah we’re still going.
Gordon versus Andre Galvao.
Dun. Dun. Duuuuun.
This match is years in the making, and after Gordon slapped Galvao at a WNO event a year ago, the anticipation for the superfight has been livid.
There are a number of storylines in this match that will make it uniquely challenging to predict.
First, Galvao is certainly going to be in “peak physical condition”, and when he is he is very tough to beat in ADCC rules. He’s won the ADCC superfight 4 times in a row. He’s built like a freight train and his wrestling is solid.
That said, Gordon is one of the best to ever do it.
I think Gordon is going to win the match—probably by submission at around the 15-minute mark if I had to guess, but I think that the match going to feel a lot closer than most people think. It’s going to be fun to watch, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some drama before and after the event.
That’s ADCC for you.
It’s hard to predict the absolute division because we don’t know who’s doing it, but I think Craig, Felipe, Bodoni, and Mason Fowler are all going to be some guys I have my eyes on.
After Lachlan’s run in 2019 absolute, I also think it would be fun if someone smaller (perhaps a Ruotolo brother) makes a run in the open class.
Styles make fights, and stylistically, the open division leaves the possibility for a lot of really interesting matches.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoy this weekend’s event.
I can’t believe I wrote this whole thing in one sitting.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.
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