This Sunday, professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu once again steps into the spotlight as the second installment of the Metamoris Pro Jiu Jitsu Invitational takes over LA’s Pauley Pavilion. Metamoris, the brainchild of “G-IN-A-GI” rapper Ralek Gracie (I’m told he also dabbles in BJJ on occasion), aims to pit the best of the best in the Jiu Jitsu game against one another in submission only 20 minute matches- no points, no advantages, no Cecil Peoples, just a single round in which to battle for a finish. Now, while I could spend all day waxing poetic about how great it is to see Sport Jiu Jitsu’s top practitioners getting a professional stage upon which to ply their craft, that’s not why you’re here. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to make yourself the smartest white belt in the room when the guys at your gym are huddled around your Macbook tomorrow afternoon watching Metamoris II go down:
Kron Gracie vs. Shinya Aoki (No Gi)
The lack of pajamas is the great equalizer in this matchup. Much of Kron’s guard game is based heavily on controlling the lapel, and working for upper body submissions with the gi. Aoki on the other hand has had a career worth of MMA grappling to refine his posture control and positional advancement without the use of the gi jacket. Aoki’s ability to smoothly transition and control the tempo of scramble situations only further augments his natural advantage in the no-gi format. Aoki’s ability to attack from a multitude of unorthodox positions will force Gracie to defend a constaint chain of submissions; however, Kron’s submission defense should frustrate Aoki enough to force the match to a time expiration judges decision.
Braulio Estima vs. Rodolfo Viera (Gi)
Braulio is having an outstanding year thus far, most recently turning in a career defining performance at Worlds. The Gracie Barra product is a stud with sweeps from the open guard, which bodes well for him against a fighter in Viera who excels at executing takedowns and maintaining heavy top control. Veira however is not one to be deterred by active open guard players, and should be more than capable of playing the kind of strength game he displayed against Buchecha at last year’s Worlds. The Braulio hype train may be at a fever pitch right now after shocking the field at Worlds, but Viera’s top game should be more than sufficient to at least force a time limit draw in a cat and mouse game of attempting to pass Estima’s guard. Normally the inclusion of the gi would work to Estima’s advantage; however, the aggression and effectiveness of Viera’s gi-based guard passing means that he will have to be extremely careful about letting Viera gain control of his legs. As soon as Viera gets a hold of those gi pants, he’s only one bullfighter pass away from side control, and putting Braulio in serious danger.
Andre Galvao vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. (Gi)
There’s a lot of potential for some dynamic, crowd pleasing positional changes and guard play; however, don’t be surprised if this one devolves into Galvao struggling to power past Lovato’s guard for the duration of the bout. If Galvao can succeed in passing and pinning Lovato’s hips to the mat, he has the ideal combination of strength and technique to sink in some dangerous upper body submissions. Expect Galvao to angle for some heavy side control and use the gi to secure an armlock or choke from a dominant top position.
Roberto Abreu vs. Brendan Schaub (No Gi)
Schaub, an MMA fighter with no major BJJ accolades to his name, is obviously the odd man out on this card. Schaub’s only chance of winning this match up would be securing top control off of a takedown and grinding out a win on a timed point system, which Metamoris has done away with in favor of a submission only format. Abreu’s options in this fight are more or less limitless; look for him to either pull guard early and quickly work his way to Schaub’s back, or put his equally sound takedown skills to work for keylock, head and arm triangle, inverted triangle, mounted gogoplata, or upside down double secret flying panda choke to finish from and position he so chooses. What I’m getting at here is that Abreu will win; he will win soundly; and he will win on whatever terms he feels like.
Victor Estima vs. J.T. Torres (No Gi)
*No preview video is available due to the merry go round of participants in this fight*
Given the kind of luck this matchup has had, both Estima and Torres will most likely get struck by lightening then bitten by great white sharks in the hours preceeding Metamoris. Admitedly, I really had my heart set on seeing Ryan Hall put on a clinic of obscure guards, but this match is hardly a let down as far as consolation prizes go. Despite relatively even talent and technical skills, this one plays directly into Estima’s strengths, as Torres prefers to work from the security of the top and Estima excels at catching quick leg locks from bottom transitions.
Michelle Nicolini vs. Mackenzie Dern (Gi)
Women without the surname Gracie or Garcia may not always get the shine they deserve, but this is definitely a fight worth watching. Nicolini’s body of work is about as impressive as they come among female blackbelts, and her willingness to push the pace both in her guard and from the top should make this an exciting contest. At this point in time it’s hard not to have confidence in a member of the CheckMat squad coming away with a win. (You can thank me later for successfully writing something about Mackenzie Dern without referencing her appearance in swimwear)
Metamoris II takes place tomorrow, June 9th, at 4pm PST/7pm EST. A live pay-per-view stream is available at the Metamoris Pro Website for $19.95.