The biggest tournament in grappling history is just around the corner, and athletes from all over the world will compete in five different divisions to win the most prestigious title in submission grappling. Athletes will be spread over five male and two female categories, and we can say that all classes are very stacked and full of elite grapplers.
One division that will be worth watching is the -66kg male category. Over the years, this division was dominated by athletes such as Royler Gracie, Leo Vieira, Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, and Rafael Mendes, with Augusto Mendes winning the gold in 2019. This year the defending champion Augusto Mendes, will not compete, so we will crown a new champion and potentially the new king of this division. Let’s look at some favorites to win the gold this weekend.
Can Cole Abate Become the Youngest ADCC Champion Ever?
One athlete that will be hunting for the gold is Cole Abate, the 17-year-old phenom from Art of Jiu-Jitsu. Cole won the ADCC US Trials at only 16 years of age and will try to win the gold at the main tournament this week. Recently, Cole has beaten some of the biggest names in grappling, such as Geo Martinez, Keith Krikorian, Jon Calestine, and Estevan Martinez. At only 17 years of age, he will be the youngest competitor in the tournament, and he has the chance to surpass his professor Rafa Mendes and become the youngest ADCC champion in history.
Cole Abate’s trademark AOJ style includes a lot of berimbolos, side-to-side passing, crab rides, and false reap leglock entries. Additionally, he is a great athlete and will have a considerable size advantage over some competitors. Whether he can win or not, we will definitely see some great jiu-jitsu from this young phenom!
Will Garry Tonon Finally Become an ADCC Champion?
If you want to watch exciting jiu-jitsu combined with devastating submission attacks and high-level wrestling, you should not miss any match that includes Garry Tonon. At this year’s ADCC, Garry will be making his 5th appearance, competing in a lower weight class than usual. He will bring a lot of experience, and his style is excellent for the ADCC ruleset.
In his previous ADCC, Garry won the bronze medal losing a close semifinal match to JT Torres, the reigning -77kg division champion. He has fought against some of the best grapplers in the world, such as JT Torres, Kron Gracie, Lucas Lepri, Dante Leon, and he had one of the most exciting matches of the year against Renato Canuto. If Garry can adapt to a lower weight class, he will be one of the favorites to win the division.
Will We See a New Brazilian Champion?
As mentioned before, the -66kg has been dominated by Brazilians over the years. Every champion in this category was from Brazil. This year, Brazil will bring its best young talents to compete for the gold. Athletes like Kennedy Maciel, Diego Pato, Ruan Alvarenga, Fabricio Andrey, and Diogo Reis have great chances of winning gold. The division’s dark horses are the Manaus-born grapplers Diogo Reis and Fabricio Andrey. Training under Melqui Galvao (father of Mica Galvao), these two have had excellent results in both gi and no-gi competitions and have previously won the Brazilian Trials. Additionally, Kennedy Maciel is one of the favorites to win, as he previously won the silver medal in 2019. He will look to continue in his father’s footsteps and become an ADCC champion this year.
As many elite grapplers can surprise everyone in this division, this will be one of the most difficult to predict accurately. Nonetheless, here is our prediction for the weekend:
- Garry Tonon
- Fabricio Andrey / Diogo Reis
- Cole Abate
I hope you have enjoyed this article. My name is Milos, and I am the owner and head coach of Fort Jiu-Jitsu! Feel free to check us out!
A Black Belt under the legendary Renzo Gracie, Shawn Williams is one of the great BJJ instructors of a generation.
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