After the success of the first Grapple Fest by Figure4Promotions, the second instalment had a lot to live up too, the task to top the original event would take some doing however the organisation have pulled the rabbit out the hat for the sequel. Out of the blue they announced a massive international match-up between two of the premier No Gi grapplers in the world in Craig Jones versus Matheus Diniz. The Liverpool based promotion has a card brimmed with British talent topped off with one of the most exciting main events in world grappling. Now teaming up with FloGrappling, this event and the promotions future events will now be heavily featured and promoted on the premier grappling platform in the world, exciting times ahead for the British promotion.
Here at Fighters Market Europe we decided to take a deeper look into the card to give you a better sense of the match ups and which to look out for!
Craig Jones (Absolute MMA) v Matheus Diniz (Marcelo Garcia)
Both men need no introduction, Figure4Promotions have managed to put on one of the most anticipated match ups of the year. Craig Jones blew up after submitting Leandro Lo and Murillo Santana in succession at the 2017 ADCC world Championships, since then he’s become the Polaris Middleweight champion with a submission victory over Jake Shields and just recently defeated the feared Rousimar Palhares at the last Kasai Grappling. Matheus Diniz is probably more accomplished then Craig, a black belt under the legendary Marcelo Garcia, Matheus has dominated the IBJJF scene in New York, consistently winning his weight class and absolutes, he did this at the IBJJF Pan NoGi in 2015, and has had some of the most exciting performances at the IBJJF World NoGi Championships. Recently however he dominated the Kasai Pro 2 185lbs bracket without conceding a single point. Craig Jones was also in the same tournament, however they did not meet, but at Grapplefest 2, we finally get to see this match up !
Ben Hodgkinson (Absolute MMA) v Ash Amos (Tillery Combat) u100kgs
Originally matched up with Progress Jiu Jitsu’s Kameron Atakuru, Ash Amos now has to deal with Aussie Ben Hodgkinson after Kameron’s unfortunate injury. Ben is no slouch however, after a successful career at brown belt where he medalled at big competitions such as the IBJJF Europeans in the adult division and won double gold in the Australian UAEJJF National Pro. Ben is no stranger to big shows, competing on the Copa Podio events and on the NoGi side he’s competed in the Boa Super 8 tournaments. Ash Amos returns to figure 4 after defeating Cage warriors world champion Lee Chadwick via submission on the last show, a European NoGi champion at blue belt, expect some heavy pressure passing and solid takedowns!
Ross Nicholls (RGA) v Sean McDonagh (GB Derby) u80kgs
Two of the premier talents in British Grappling. Ross Nicholls, Black belt under the legendary Roger Gracie, has been on a NoGi tear recently. After winning the IBJJF British Nationals NoGi in 2017. Ross has gone on to dominate the NoGi scene in the UK along with other competitions in Europe. Winning tournaments such as the Crest championships in Finland, the NoGi Welsh Open, beating other Grapplefest 2 standouts Eoghan O’Flanaghan and Tom Caughey, becoming a NAGA Champion and English Open Nogi Champion. On the sub only superfight front Ross has been equally successful winning superfights on the previous Polaris show and on the main event of the first GrappleFest. In Sean McDonagh, Ross will compete against a fast paced all action competitor, a double European NoGi champion at brown belt, he also took 2nd place at the Pan NoGi. A recently promoted black belt, Sean has already won at one the biggest sub only stages, Polaris. This promises to be an all action affair !
Jack Grant (D-Mac) v Eoghan O'Flanaghan (NSBJJ) u80kgs
For those in the know, this match up will most likely be the most exciting of the night. Both Jack and Eoghan are known for their Hail Mary style of submission grappling. Jack Grant Is one of the top Mixed Martial Artists in the UK recently winning on the last Cage Warriors, he is also no stranger to submission only grappling match ups, beating high level grapplers such as Black belt UFC competitor Tom Breese and was the main event on the previous GrappleFest event losing after a 40 minute war to Ross Nicholls. Eoghan is a black belt from New School BJJ, an extremely active competitor himself on the sub only scene, winning his match on the first GrappleFest via inside heel hook and competing and winning on the last Polaris show. Eoghan also holds an Armbar victory over top UK black belt Ross Nicholls.
Stuart Cooper (Tiger Muay Thai) v Ben Dyson (Ippon Gym) u90kgs
Better known for his excellent grappling documentaries and highlights, Stuart Cooper is also an extremely accomplished Black Belt, training out of Tiger Muay Thai. Just recently Stuart led a tiger Muay Thai team on the team grappling event Quintet. He faces off against Ben Dyson, a black belt under Roy Dean. Ben has been travelling around the world competing all over recently from the hot beaches of Rio De Janeiro to snowy Alaska. It’ll be interesting to see how much the Polaris veteran's game has improved as he takes on Cooper.
Matty Holmes (Next Gen) v Ben Bennett (GB Bradford) u90kgs
Two of the north west’s top purple belt NoGi talents. Matty Holmes is no stranger to sub only grappling winning his match at the first GrappleFest and winning super fights on other shows such as Roll Models and a four man Bracket at Tanko Submission Championships! In that same tournament he defeated his opponent Ben Bennett in the final. Since then Ben has gone on to consistently win gold on the regional scene and will be looking for revenge this time.
Kieran Davern (SBG) v Kieran Malone (Griphouse) u90kgs
Kieran Davern is no stranger to Grapplefest winning his match at the first event, he returns after defeating one of the premier leg lockers in the UK at the last Polaris, he faces Kieran Malone from one of Scotland’s Premier Academies Griphouse !
Chris Walsh (Next Gen) v Tom Caughey (Renegade) u80kgs
Another intriguing all British matchup sees Next Gen's Chris Walsh take on Tom Caughey. Chris training out of Next Generation Liverpool, home to some of the top MMA fighters in the country such as Paddy Pimblett and Chris Fishgold, is no stranger to superfights, competing on Big shows such as Tanko Submission Championships. Tom Caughey is however the more experienced of the two, winning the IBJJF Pan Nogi as a brown belt, while at black belt he has won a NAGA belt and won superfight against Chris Walsh’s team mate Harry McKnight, and is also a Polaris veteran, so the big stage at Grapplefest will not faze him.
Maia Holmes (5 Rings Grappling) v Lucy Harrison (AVT) u65kgs
One of 3 women’s match ups GrappleFest 2 will be showcasing, here we see Maia Holmes, a European Masters 1 Champion at blue belt and a winner on the last GrappleFest show take on Lucy Harrison from AVT, a regular competitor on the regional scene training at one of the top MMA teams in the country, with one of their athletes Jack Grant also competing!
Not only content with a stacked main card, the Prelims have a number of quality match ups you should look out for, we picked out the matches you should definitely pay attention too.
At the top of the bill we see Kev Corkhill (MMA Academy) face off with Jack Sear (10th Planet London) in an u70kgs contest.
Fighters market’s own Mark Lindars takes on Tommy Everett from Absolute MMA of Australia in a 75kgs match up, Mark is fresh off winning Bronze at ADCC Ireland and we're really looking forward to seeing how this match goes down!
Another intriguing match up to watch out for is catch wrestling specialist Ian Jones of Combat Bass taking on James Bland, a BJJ Black belt from Origin BJJ.
The under card also has two other female match ups with Liverpool’s Ellie Boylan (MMA Academy) taking on Nicola Fishwick (Sukata) in an u65kg while kicking off the show we have Louise Thompson (ASW) facing off against Georgia Munnerly (Next Gen) in an u65kgs match ups.
Not content with the content already on offer from the worlds best talent to up and coming UK talent, Figure4Promotions will also be showcasing some of the top junior talent with Shea Williams Of next generation competing against Brad McDonogh (GB Warrington) in a junior u28kgs match up while Jack Rimmer (Next Gen) competes against Travis Hern (Newport MMA) in juniors u32kgs match up.