The UK jiu-jitsu scene has grown steadily as the sport matures, as evidenced by the professionalism of recent super fight events which have provided excellent grappling-based action.
Since 2017, GrappleFest has brought together the best jiu-jitsu athletes from around the world to take part in their shows in Liverpool. GrappleFest alumni include Marcio Andre, Ffion Davies, Craig Jones, Matheus Diniz, Lachlan Giles, Tayane Porfirio and many other elite contestants. GrappleFest 10 took place on Saturday, November 20e with several professional fights in different weight categories.
Dante Leon retains 77kg GrappleFest belt, pushing pace against Oliver Taza
In the main event, Dante Leon of Pedigo Submission Fighting faced off against 2021 ADCC European Trials champion Oliver Taza. Taza pulled the guard very early in the game and Dante went straight into his passing game. Most of the match went on with Dante trying to make his way through Taza’s half-guard. With around 8:30 a.m. to go in the game, Dante changed direction on a guard pass and almost consolidated lateral control, but Taza fought to regain his guard. The closest submission to the match came right at the end, as Dante countered Taza’s bottom hook with a forward headlock, diving past the legs in an effort to complete a choke. Taza defended well, but the constant pressure and attempted submission was enough for Dante Leon to win by decision, retaining his 77kg belt at GrappleFest.
Ruotolo brothers continue to marvel with unique styles of jiu-jitsu
Kade and Tye Ruotolo returned to GrappleFest for the third time this weekend. They competed in the 7e and 8e editions of the event, where Kade defeated Jeremy Skinner and Ashley Williams while Tye claimed a victory over Thomas Halpin and gave up a decision to Dante Leon. Each of them only lost in 2021 and both had big wins at the 2021 WNO Championships.
Kade’s opponent this weekend was Keith Krikorian, a 10e Planet Black Belt competes very frequently, having recently placed second in the 66kg division at the ADCC East Coast Trials. Kade also took part in the trials, winning the 77kg division after seven games. Krikorian started the game by shooting the guard and looking for leg locks, a strategy he used with great success during the ADCC East Coast Trials. Kade seemed well prepared for this strategy, as he managed to get past Krikorian’s guard just over two minutes into the game. The remainder of the game saw Kade attempt to get past the guard and remove Keith’s back from the tangled legs. He found success with around 2:25 left in the game, countering Krikorian’s 50/50 position and taking his back. Kade’s passing and back attacks earned him the decisive victory over Krikorian.
Tye Ruotolo faced off against Nick Ronan, a Matt Serra black belt who specializes in the leg lock game. On the feet, Tye used his wrestling to hit several double-legged eliminations throughout the game. Once he hit the mat, Tye started using his unique passing style, stepping on Ronan’s ankles and using dynamic side-to-side movements to get around his opponent’s legs. The best moment of the match for Ronan came with a Kani Basami guard shot straight into a leg locking attack, but Tye was able to break the stance and ultimately counter the tangled legs to reach Ronan’s back. Tye’s eliminations, guard passes and recoveries earned him the unanimous decision victory, his second victory under the GrappleFest banner.