This Friday, Fight To Win Pro returns for its second show of 2017, and it might just have one of the best line ups you’ll see this year. The main card is stacked from top-to-bottom with world class talent and matches that are sure to catch the attention of any grappling fan.
In the main event, Gracie Barra’s Edwin Najmi will take on Claudio França black belt, Nathan Mendelsohn for the Gi welterweight title.
Najmi’s original opponent was due to be DJ Jackson, however the Team Lloyd Irvin competitor had to withdraw. In his place steps Mendelsohn, who showed last week when he beat Igor Estrella at Fight To Win Pro 23 that he’s no walkover.
Mendelsohn will have his work cut out for him against Najmi – a Pan-American champion who placed second at last years world championships, who has burst onto the BJJ scene in the past couple of years and proven himself to be one of the very best competitors in the world. Lookout for Najmi’s flying triangle in this match, a technique he’s used to great effect throughout his competition career and one he has an impressive finishing rate with.
The co-main event is a No-Gi heavyweight title match between Joao Assis and Jeff Monson, in what could be a match that ends very quickly based on their previous meetings.
Assis is a former world No-Gi, ADCC and NAGA champion who is known for his footlocks and guillotines. An accomplished grappler, Assis has been a feature of grappling competitions in the US for over a decade and has built an impressive resume of wins in that time. Assis also holds a win over Monson back in 2010 and became the first person to submit him in 10 years with that victory, something Monson will be wanting to rectify in this outing.
At 46-years-old, it’s a wonder that Monson is still competing at his age, his methodical and wrestling heavy style of grappling could be the reason he has continued to compete with some of the best in the world for so long. Monson himself has a decorated career including ADCC titles, however it’s hard to look past Assis in this match up, who will be a mere 13 years younger than Monson on fight night.
Fresh off his loss to Antonio Carlos Jr last week at Submission Underground 3, Garry Tonon will look to make amends in a middleweight No-Gi title match against another Gracie Barra competitor, Gabriel Arges, who is a world champion in the Gi as well as being an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner.
Tonon’s loss via flying triangle last Sunday will no doubt be eating away at him and he’ll be desperate to make amends with a strong performance and a win over one of the in-form black belts in the world right now.
As mentioned above, Arges is in the form of his life and is picking up titles left, right and centre, beating some of the world’s best along the way. How Arges deals with Tonon’s leg lock game will be key here, if he manages to stay away from those attacks, it could be another title heading Arges’ way in 2017.
The fourth title on the line for the show is a Gi middleweight match between Thomas Cronin of Carlson Gracie and Jaime Fletcher from CSW.
Cronin, a world champion at the lowers belts, has previously competed at Fight To Win Pro 8 against Kurt Osiander where he won by decision. Coming from the Carlson Gracie lineage, Cronin will no doubt have a crushing top game that is a trademark of the Carlson Gracie team.
Jaime Fletcher is a BJJ black belt under Rigan Machado but has trained extensively at CSW with Erik Paulson, where he would have picked up some unusual submissions and attacks owing to Paulson’s catch wrestling style of grappling. Both of these competitors come from camps known for their aggressive style of grappling, so expect both to push forward and look for the submission throughout.
Less than a week after his decision loss to Dillon Danis, AJ Agazarm is back competing in a Gi match up with Paragon’s Bill ‘The Grill’ Cooper.
Both these competitors have been doing the rounds on the Submission Grappling circuit recently with mixed success. Both have also been around the Jiu Jitsu scene for a long time and are considered two of the very best American black belts competing right now. And whilst most of their recent matches have been No-Gi, they’re both more than competent in the kimono.
As ever with any match featuring Agazarm, expect endless amounts of trash talk throughout, something that is fast becoming his trademark over his actual Jiu Jitsu.
Cooper is an exciting and unorthodox competitor who has only recently returned to the Jiu Jitsu scene after some time away dealing with personal issues. A win over Agazarm would be the perfect way to show the world he’s back on form.
The rest of the card is as follows:
148lbs Black Belt No-Gi: Chad Robichaux (Carlson Gracie BJJ) vs. Cleber Luciano (Cleber Luciano BJJ)
180lbs Black Belt Gi: Noah Tillis (Tillis BJJ) vs. Brian Mendez (Ribiero Jiu Jitsu)
140lbs Black Belt No-Gi: Chad George (CMMA) vs. Rey De Leon (10thPlanet)
185lbs Black Belt Gi: Jason Youseph (Carlson Gracie BJJ) vs. Ryan Robinson (Gracie Barra)
240lbs Black Belt No-Gi: William Wheeler (Wheeler Bros BJJ) vs. PJ Montano (CSW)
195lbs Black Belt Gi: Omar Sabha (Brazilian Top Team) vs. Rodrigo Antunes (Paragon BJJ)
180lbs Black Belt No-Gi: Fernando “Hunter” Machado (CMMA) vs. Felipe Fogolin (Cleber Luciano BJJ)
150lbs Brown Belt No-Gi: Darby Faulkner (Checkmat) vs. Marvin Castelle (10th Planet)
175lbs Brown Belt Gi: Kauan Barboza (Carlson Gracie BJJ) vs. Drew Sklov (Street Sports)
Middleweight Brown Belt Gi: Catherine Fuhro Perret (Checkmat) vs. Tara White (Carlson Gracie BJJ)
140lbs Brown Belt No-Gi: Cole Franson (Tinguinha BJJ) vs. Ricky Lule (10th Planet BJJ)
195lbs Brown Belt No-Gi: Sid Skrob (Electric Jiu Jitsu) vs. Kevin Crane (Morumbi Academy)
180lbs Brown Belt No-Gi: Joshua Smith (Checkmat) vs. Morgan Smith (Gracie Academy)
175lbs Purple Belt Gi: Connor Donaldson (Gracie Barra) vs. Sam Hand (team Avalanche)
140lbs Purple Belt Gi: Abner Cifuentes (GFT) vs. Eric Medina (Jean Jacques Machado)
185lbs Purple Belt No-Gi: Andrew Lopez (Checkmat) vs. Wes Jarrell (John Morgan BJJ)
210lbs Purple Belt Gi: Tyson Blair (Gracie Barra) vs. Clarence Chaney (New Breed Academy)
125lbs Purple Belt No-Gi: Hunter Robichaux (Carlson Gracie) vs. Albert Tapia (10th Planet)
160lbs Purple Belt Gi: David Fraser (Gracie Barra) vs. Myles Moudy (Electric Jiu Jitsu)
155lbs Purple Belt Gi: Steven Calderon (Rodrigo Gracie BJJ) vs. Richard Arreola (One Jiu Jitsu)
165lbs Purple Belt No-Gi: Brian Travis (Gracie Barra) vs. Andrew Murilllo (10th Planet)
155lbs Blue Belt GI Teen: Joao Capociama (Checkmat) vs. Tainan Dalpra (AOJ)
140lbs Blue Belt Gi Teen: Juno Lucero (Alliance) vs. Liam Moss (AOJ)
150lbs Blue Belt Gi Teen: Andrew Kisselburg (Nino Schembri) vs. Jacob Kassama (AOJ)