Grappling Report: Elisabeth Clay brings home another double gold at American Nationals
A rundown of the biggest headlines and news from the world of competitive grappling.
Elisabeth Clay is on an utterly incredible run in 2021 and extended it even further by taking home gold in both her weightclass and the absolute division at the IBJJF American Nationals. Her relentless leg attacks were on full display as she finished several opponents with straight ankle-locks, just a matter of weeks after she submitted all six of her opponents on route to a double gold at the IBJJF no gi Pan-Ams.
Elsewhere at the event, AOJ’s Jessa Khan took home gold in the Light-Featherweight division, as did Pedro Dias in the men’s bracket of the same weightclass. Fellipe Andrew then replicated Clay’s feat by taking home gold at Ultra-Heavyweight, and in the absolute division. He had to overcome stiff challenges from Gracie Barra’s Austin Baker and Legion Jiu-Jitsu’s recent addition Bruno Lima in the respective finals.
‘Tex’ Johnson pulls off surprise upset against Lucas Barbosa at F2W 174
He wasn’t able to get the finish, but Aaron ‘Tex’ Johnson did put on a solid showing at F2W 174 in the headline match against Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa. Tex is more than capable of overcoming the odds, as he has done so many times before against some of the biggest names in the sport like Gordon Ryan, Tom DeBlass, and Rafael Lovato Jr. This time it was multiple-time IBJJF world champion Barbosa who was on the receiving end.
The co-main event saw two female IBJJF no gi world champions come together to deliver fireworks. Marcio Cruz product Amanda ‘Tubby’ Alequin took on Zenith Jiu-Jitsu’s Raquel Canuto and pulled guard very early in the match. From there, Canuto worked a crushing top game that kept Alequin from ever mounting much in the way of offense. Eventually Canuto managed to expose her opponent’s back and secure a triangle choke for the finish.
Felipe Pena defends title against Patrick Gaudio at BJJ Stars 6
Felipe Pena rose to the top of a field of elite competitors back at BJJ Stars 5 to win the promotion’s Heavyweight title and was set to defend it at their most recent event. In the build-up, Pena had some choice words for old rival Gordon Ryan and seemed excited at the prospect of facing ADCC veteran Patrick Gaudio. While the pair exchanged sweeps early, ultimately he wasn’t able to stop Pena from securing the lapel choke from the back.
The most exciting moment came just prior to the main event, where there was a huge amount of controversy surrounding the match between Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa and Matheus Diniz. Barbosa used takedowns to lead on points before Diniz scrambled finish a choke as the buzzer sounded, only to find that Barbosa had actually been put to sleep in the process, yet was still awarded the victory as the ref decided he went out after the match ended.
Orlando Sanchez and Sean Strickland give their sides of recent altercation
Just recently, ADCC world champion Orlando Sanchez and UFC veteran Sean Strickland got into a fight with one another over alleged ‘dirty’ techniques that the former used in a training session. The technique in question was a shoulder-cranking counter to a lazy underhook famously used to great effect by Jon Jones against Glover Teixeira in his Light-Heavyweight title-defense.
When the video surfaced, the internet was ablaze with debate over whether Sanchez was in the wrong for applying the technique or Strickland was for his reaction to it. Now, Sanchez sat down with FloGrappling to give his version of the events leading up to the sparring match while Strickland posted to social media to take aim at fans who were vocally critical of his response to the shoulder-crank.
‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung was awarded his BJJ black belt in the cage after putting on a grappling clinic against Dan Ige at UFC Vegas 29.
Olympic Judo champion Kayla Harrison got yet another first-round submission at PFL 6 to take her record to 10-0, and book her place in the promotion’s tournament finals.
Dave Camarillo spilled the beans and named the three best grapplers that he’s ever shared the mats with out of hundreds of elite competitors across Judo, MMA, and BJJ.
Some fantastic footage was released of Gordon Ryan and Georges St-Pierre training together under John Danaher in Puerto Rico, courtesy of all three of the men involved.