Kieran Kichuk wins stacked ECI 155 lb. bracket
Although Emerald City Invitational is a relatively new grappling promotion, it has quickly become one of the most entertaining and action-packed jiu jitsu events for both competitors and spectators. In their 145 lb. event in August 2021, Gianni Grippo put on an incredible performance and won $10,000, setting the stage for future events at various weight classes. Competitors in the 155 lb. bracket included 145 lb. champ Gianni Grippo, Jordan Holy, Jon Calestine, Pedro Serrano, Gabriel Sousa, Adam Benayoun, Josh Cisneros, and Kieran Kichuk. Some of the best up-and-coming female grapplers also had main card super fights. Jaidyn Mueller took on Chrissy Briggs and Izabella Frezzo faced Lauren Sears in matches that were some of the most action-packed on the card.
The standout of the event was Team Lloyd Irvin’s Kieran Kichuk. In the first round, Kieran beat Ares Jiu-Jitsu standout Josh Cisneros. Despite being behind in the regulation period, Kieran was able to last until the overtime period where he submitted Josh with a rear naked choke. He faced ECI 145 lb. champion Gianni Grippo in the semis. The regulation period was close, but it was in OT where Kieran was able to shine again, this time submitting Gianni with an armbar from a kimura trap.
Kieran again went to overtime in the final against Adam Benayoun. Benayoun had beaten Gabriel Sousa and Jon Calestine to advance to the final and was looking sharp with Ryan Hall in his corner. This time the match came down to control, as Kieran was able to secure more ride time than Adam from the back position in overtime. The win earned him $10,000 and the Emerald City Invitational 155 lb. crown.
Jaidyn Mueller and Izabella Frezzo impress in main card super fights
In addition to the 155 lb. tournament, Emerald City Invitational also put on a series of super fights. Two of the most action-packed super fights were matches between Jaidyn Mueller and Chrissy Briggs and Izabella Frezzo and Lauren Sears. Jaidyn Mueller has been training under Tom DeBlass and has shown tremendous improvements to her game since relocating to train at Ocean County BJJ. She set the pace of her match with Chrissy, using her passing and back taking skills in regulation. In overtime she finished Chrissy with a beautiful kimura from a triangle. Izabella Frezzo also impressed with a triangle armbar finish, beating 10th Planet standout Lauren Sears in an exciting match.
155 lb. tournament results:
Jon Calestine def. Pedro Serrano via escape time in OT
Adam Benayoun def. Gabriel Sousa via rear naked choke in OT
Gianni Grippo def. Jordan Holy via rear naked choke in OT
Kieran Kichuk def. Josh Cisneros via rear naked choke in OT
Adam Benayoun def. Jon Calestine via ride time in OT
Kieran Kichuk def. Gianni Grippo via arm bar in OT
Kieran Kichuk def. Adam Benayoun via rear naked choke in OT
Main card super fight results:
Jaidyn Mueller def. Chrissy Briggs
Izabella Frezzo def. Lauren Sears via arm bar from triangle
Frank Rosenthal def. Ellis Karadag via outside heel hook
Alan Sanchez of 10th Planet wins stacked welterweight tournament
The first EBI since 2018 did not disappoint. Not only did we see many of the sport’s top no-gi grapplers compete, but we also saw upsets and dramatic submission finishes. Nathan Orchard, David Garmo, Oliver Taza, Pablo Lavaselli, Alan Sanchez, and John Combs all put their skills to the test and the results were far from what most grappling fans expected.
Alan Sanchez put on the best performance of the event, showing submission, defense, and positional skills throughout all his matches. In his first match he submitted Danny Stolfi with an inside heel hook. He followed that up with a dead orchard submission of John Combs, who was heavily favored on that side of the bracket. He then went on to face the surging Pablo Lavaselli, whom he ended up beating in overtime via ride time.
The win over Lavaselli set up a showdown with New Wave Jiu-Jitsu’s Oliver Taza, a recent ADCC European Trials champion with a devasting leg lock game. Sanchez went back and forth with Taza in regulation, exchanging positions and defending his leg attacks. It was in overtime where Sanchez really showcased his abilities as he won the match via ride time. He was able to not only defend Taza’s back attacks, but he was also able to maintain the back position on Taza, who has excellent defensive skills in his own right. Sanchez’s win over Taza will surely help him climb the rankings as one of the top 170 lb. no-gi grapplers in the world.
Full results for EBI 19 can be found below:
Round of 16
Oliver Taza def. Mikey Gonzalez via inside heel hook from back step
David Garmo def. Vinicius de Jesus via inside heel hook
Oscar de los Santos def. Osvaldo Canamar via triangle
Nick Ronan def. Omer Emanoely via ride time in OT
Pablo Lavaselli def. Nathan Orchard via kimura
Aaron Harris def. Khalil Fadlallah via armbar in OT
Alan Sanchez def. Danny Stolfi via inside heel hook
John Combs def. Ivan Leyva via arm in guillotine
Oliver Taza def. David Garmo via ankle lock
Nick Ronan def. Oscar de los Santos via inside heel hook
Pablo Lavaselli def. Aaron Harris via rear naked choke
Alan Sanchez def. John Combs via dead orchard
Oliver Taza def. Nick Ronan via ride time in OT
Alan Sanchez def. Pablo Lavaselli via ride time in OT
Alan Sanchez def. Oliver Taza via ride time in OT