The O2 arena played host to the debut of the newest english professional grappling promotion- Raw Grappling Championship. The promotion debuted with a star filled card with many of the biggest names in grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today. The event featured a eight man Grand Prix and two powerful superfights
In the first superfight American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Rafael Lovato took on the beautiful guard master Adam Wardzinski. The polish powerhouse is best known for his dominate performances in the gi but for this match he would try to translate his guard work into the no gi setting. Throughout the match Lovato showed his experience in Jiu Jitsu, not forcing any passing attempts which would allow Wardzinski to pull him into his guard system. Lovato made use of his pressure passing to put the policeman on the back foot and force a penalty. This proved the difference in the match with Lovato taking the node in this No Gi clash.
The second superfight featured a meeting of Atos Jiu Jitsu's Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa and Gerad Labinski. Barbosa has been one of the top competitors in the black belt division the past five years, winning world titles in the gi and no gi as well as many other prestigious titles. Labinski is a polish born fighter who trains often in Brazil with the legendary Leandro Lo, who Labinski received is black belt in Jiu Jitsu from. The match started quickly with Hulk showing his aggressive style from the feeting, using heavy hands to force the guard pull by Labinski. Once on the mat Labinski attempted to use the closed guard to sweep his opponent. Barbosa counter with a leg attack of his own. With just over eight minutes to go in the match Barbosa worked himself past the half guard and into an armlock attack from the mount position. From here Barbosa transitioned to the traditional armlock finish, getting the tap.
The Grand Prix final was contested between ADCC champion turned MMA fighter Yuri Simones and long time top veteran Patrick Gaudio. To reach the finals after two OT victories, defeating Jed Hue in the Quarterfinals and Taylor Pearman. Gaudio took a win vs Thomas Blancher in the Quarterfinals by split decision. The semifinals saw Gaudio walk away with the decision over Atos ace Josh Hinger. The finals would also be decided by decision with Simones getting the nod. In the third place match, Hinger defeated Pearman via guillotine choke variation.
Can’t wait to see the next Raw Grappling Championship