Is CJI Now a Better Card than ADCC? An Unbiased Opinion

Is CJI Now a Better Card than ADCC? An Unbiased Opinion

The world of competitive grappling has been buzzing with excitement and debate as the Craig Jones Invitational (CJI) appears to be rivaling the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) in terms of talent and matchups. With recent high-profile signings and intriguing match announcements, fans are left wondering: Is CJI now a better event than ADCC?

Major Recent Signings and Matchups

The most significant recent development is the Ruotolo brothers, Kade and Tye, switching from ADCC to CJI. Both will compete in the -80kg division at the Craig Jones Invitational. Kade Ruotolo, who won the 77kg division at the last ADCC, brings star power and formidable skill to CJI. His brother Tye, despite an upset in the 88kg division, has shown incredible prowess, especially in his absolute division performances.

Adding to the allure of CJI is the announcement of a superfight between UFC star Mackenzie Dern and Ffion Davies, arguably the best female grappler in the world. This match alone has drawn significant attention and anticipation from the grappling community.

The ADCC Powerhouses

Despite these exciting developments at CJI, ADCC still boasts an impressive roster. Gordon Ryan, Mica Galvao, and Nicholas Meregali are among the most notable names in the sport. Gordon Ryan, in particular, is considered the biggest star in grappling, often compared to Michael Jordan in Basketball or Leo Messi in football (soccer) in terms of his influence and draw.

Also, ADCC have invited multiple former champions to counter the growing number of their athletes moving over to CJI.

Comparing the Cards

When comparing the overall quality of the cards, it’s a close call but ADCC still has a powerhouse card. The CJI’s acquisition of the Ruotolo brothers and the Dern vs. Davies superfight are significant draws. However, ADCC’s lineup, featuring top-tier athletes like Ryan, Mica Galvao, and Meregali, still holds considerable weight. The -66 division of ADCC has kept all of their athletes since because of the weight they have a very small chance of winning CJI’s -80 kgs division.

ADCC’s female athletes have pretty much not crossed over, simply due to the fact that apart from the lone women superfight, there are are no women’s divisions.

The key factor may lie in the specific divisions. The under 80kg division at CJI, with Kade and Tye Ruotolo, is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and exciting divisions in recent history. If CJI continues to attract top talent and create compelling matchups, it could very well surpass ADCC in certain weight classes.

Latest ADCC Lineup:

MALE -66 kg (Out of 16)

  • Diogo Reis – ADCC 2022 Champion
  • Owen Jones – Europe Trial 1 winner
  • Dorian Olivarez – USA Trial 1 winner
  • Ethan Thomas – Asia Trial 1 winner
  • Gairbeg Ibragimov – Europe Trial 2 winner
  • Kennedy Maciel – Brazil Trial 1 winner
  • Fabricio Andrey – Brazil Trial 2 winner
  • Deandre Corbe – USA Trial 2 winner
  • Huaiqing Xu – Asia Trial 2 winner
  • Ethan Crelinsten – Invited
  • Kauã Gabriel – Invited
  • Ashley Williams – Invited
  • Josh Cisneros – Invited
  • Keith Krikorian – Invited
  • Gabriel Sousa – Invited
  • Diego Pato – Invited

MALE -77 kg (Out of 16)

  • Elijah Dorsey – USA Trial 1 winner
  • Kenta Iwamoto – Asia Trial 1 winner
  • Luiz Paulo Medeiros – Brazil Trial 1 winner
  • Alexandre Jesus – Brazil Trial 2 winner
  • JT Torres – Invited
  • Mica Galvao – Invited
  • PJ Barch – Invited
  • Jonnatas Gracie – Invited
  • Oliver Taza – Invited
  • Mateusz Szczeciński – Invited
  • Davi Ramos – Invited

MALE -88 kg (Out of 16)

  • Giancarlo Bodoni – ADCC 2022 Champion
  • Santeri Lilius – Europe Trial 1 winner
  • Jacob Couch – USA Trial 1 winner
  • Izaak Michell – Asia Trial 1 winner
  • Taylor Pearman – Europe Trial 2 winner
  • Charles Negromonte – Brazil Trial 1 winner
  • Pedro Marinho – Brazil Trial 2 winner
  • Lucas Kanard – Asia Trial 2 winner
  • Gabriel Almeida – Invited
  • Jacob Rodriguez – Invited
  • Elder Cruz – Invited
  • Andre Porfirio – Invited
  • Ryan Aitken – Invited
  • Chris Wojcik – Invited
  • Vagner Rocha – Invited

MALE -99 kg (Out of 16)

  • Kaynan Duarte – ADCC 2022 Champion
  • Luke Griffith – Europe Trial 1 winner
  • Paul Ardila – USA Trial 1 winner
  • Declan Moody – Asia Trial 1 winner
  • Marcin Maciulewicz – Europe Trial 2 winner
  • Cassio Felipe Costa – Brazil Trial 1 winner
  • Henrique Ceconi – Brazil Trial 2 winner
  • Michael Pixley – USA Trial 2 winner
  • Daniel Schuardt – Asia Trial 2 winner
  • Roberto Abreu “Cyborg” – Invited
  • Rafael Lovato – Invited
  • Eli Braz – Invited
  • Nicholas Meregali – Invited
  • Alex Grandy – Invited
  • Patrick Gaudio – Invited
  • Javier Zaruski – Invited
  • Kyle Boehm – Invited

MALE +99 kg (Out of 16)

  • Gordon Ryan – ADCC 2022 Champion
  • Heikki Jussila – Europe Trial 1 winner
  • Daniel Manasoiu – USA Trial 1 winner
  • Josh Saunders – Asia Trial 1 winner
  • Mark Macqueen – Europe Trial 2 winner
  • Victor Honorio – Brazil Trial 2 winner
  • Mike Perez – USA Trial 2 winner
  • Mansur Makhmakhanov – Asia Trial 2 winner
  • Gutemberg Pereira – Invited
  • Felipe Pena – Invited
  • Vinny Magalhaes – Invited
  • Vince Pezzuto – Invited
  • John Hansen – Invited
  • Roosevelt Sousa – Invited

Future Prospects

CJI’s potential to overtake ADCC hinges on further high-profile signings. If athletes like Felipe Pena, Kaynan Duarte, or Buchecha & Kron Gracie (rumored to be in talks) were to join CJI, it would significantly bolster its standing. As it stands, ADCC still has the edge in the lower & partly in the upper weight classes, but CJI is rapidly closing the gap.

The grappling world will be watching closely as these events unfold. Whether CJI can definitively claim the title of the premier grappling event remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the competition between these two events is driving the sport to new heights, much to the delight of fans everywhere who will surely both events.

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