(Credit: Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting)

The ADCC 2017 Championships kicks off on Saturday in Espoo, Finland and has gathered the best grapplers in the world to compete for the title of ADCC champion. An ADCC gold medal which is without a doubt the highest accolade in No-Gi grappling and the names that have won the competition in the past are names that are enshrined in Grappling folklore. 

In the lead up to the tournament, we will be previewing each division and picking our winners, dark horses and ones to watch. 

First up is the -66kgs division;

Champion; The lightest division in the competition features a returning all time great and current champion in Rubens ‘Cobrinha’ Charles who will be expected to defend his title in a division packed with young talent, but lacking in elite quality in comparison to the other divisions at the tournament. At the grand old age of 38, this could be Cobrinha’s last outing at an ADCC tournament and the 2x ADCC champion will be looking to cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

Contenders; AJ Agazarm, Paulo Miyao and Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes are the biggest threats to Cobrinha’s crown, so expect them to put in big performances throughout the tournament. It is, however, very hard to see how any of them beat Cobrinha should they meet him during the tournament. Out of the three names mentioned, Miyao probably has the biggest chance of taking the crown and has previously had close battles with Cobrinha in IBJJF tournaments.

One to watch; 23-year old Ethan Crelinsten is a product of John Danaher and Firas Zahabi: two of the greatest minds in modern martial arts. As per any John Danaher student, Crelinsten possesses a dynamic and exciting leglock game in addition to some of the best back takes and control in the business. Crelinsten comes in to this after winning the ADCC North American trials, snapping an arm along the way, and for a young grappler, he has a lot of hype around him, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure against some of the biggest names in the sport.