With its recent bombshell of announcing its partnership with American Grappling promotion Third Coast Grappling to co-promote their May 23rd show headlined by 'The King' Gordon Ryan, its easy to forget that Figure4Promotions have a massive event lined up for the 29th of February. Consistently raising the level of their shows, they continue to provide World Class main cards, with exciting undercard match ups. With Grapplefest 8 headlined by Europes Premier Grappler in Adam Wardzinski who takes on 10th Planet Standout Jon Blank, while the show stopping Ruotolo return and one of the most inform NoGi grapplers in Dante Leon. As always we at FightersMarket are excited to watch the event and as always we have provided our preview for the event.
Adam Wardzinski (Checkmat) vs Jon Blank (10th Planet) u90kgs Title Match
The main event of the night sees ADCC European Trials winner Adam Wardzinski take on 10th Planets Jon Blank. Adam is a highly experienced competitor winning medals in the Gi at the Majors at black belt. With ADCC taking place last year, Adam would shift his focus to NoGi where he won the European trials for ADCC, he would follow this with Gold Medals at the IBJJF European NoGi Championships and the IBJJF World NoGi Championships. In Jon Blank, he faces a man focused primarily on the NoGi side of BJJ, Jon Blank is an EBI Combat Jiu Jitsu champion along as placing third at the American ADCC trials where he submitted Roberto Jimenez. He would be invited to the ADCC after an injury where he would defeat ADCC veteran Rustam Chisiev and Murilo Santana. We see a close match between two high level athletes but we see Adam with his depth of experience at competing at a high level prevailing.
FME Pick - Adam Wardzinski
Tye Ruotolo (Atos) vs Dante Leon (GF Team) u80kgs belt eliminator match
An explosive co-main event between current IBJJF World NoGi Middleweight champion Dante Leon, taking on the young but experienced Tye Ruotolo. Dante had an excellent 2019, especially in the NoGi arena, where he defeated the lightweight legend Lucas Lepri at the ADCC, he would also take superfight wins over World Champions, Isaque Bahiense, Marcio Andre and Renato Canuto. Dante would also take Gold at the IBJJF World NoGi Championships. Tye Ruotolo would also have a breakout 2020 defeating multiple Black belt medalist at the 2019 ADCC despite being a 'blue belt' and technically still a juvenile competitor. This prodigy would end up in 4th place but would take on ADCC medalist Vagner Rocha in a super fight where he would end up with the win! At the previous Grapplefest Tye would take the win over European ADCC champion Tom Halpin in a dominant performance. At Grapplefest 8 we see Dante taking the win being bigger athlete and more experienced, however we dont rule out a Tye win.
FME Pick - Dante LeonKade Ruotolo (Atos) vs Ashley Williams (Chris Rees) u70kgs Title Match
It seems the Ruotolo's come as a pair as once again both brothers compete alongside each other on the Grapplefest mats. Kade takes on Ashley Williams for the u70kg title. Kade is a Grapplefest veteran, defeating Scramble Athlete Jeremy Skinner in a standout performance. In Ashley Williams, Kade faces an veteran who has competed across all the top Professional shows, including Kasai, Polaris and Grapplefest. Across these platforms hes defeated athletes such as the legendary Imanari, Ben Eddy, Frank Rosenthal and Richard Alarcon. He is the current Polaris Champion and a former European NoGi Champion. Another really close match up we see the surging Kade edging this one.
FME Pick - Kade Ruotolo
Ben Hodgkinson (Absolute MMA) vs Ed Ingamells u100kgs
Scramble athlete Ed Ingamells steps up as an injury replacement to take on the aussie Ben Hodgkinson. Ben is an ADCC trials winner, along with being a European Gi Medalists, hailing from an academy which boasts the likes of Craig Jones and Lachlan Giles. Ed Ingamells would seem like the underdog, but he is a European NoGi Medalist along with recently taking World NoGi Champion Jackson Sousa to a draw in a sub only superfight. While it will be a closer match up then many might be expecting we see Ben taking the win.
FME Pick - Ben Hodgkinson
Santeri Lilius (Lilius Barnett) vs Stuart Cooper (SCJJ) u90kgs
Renowned BJJ film maker Stuart Cooper takes on Finnish Black belt Santeri Lilius, Santeri recently medalled the Gi Europeans at Adult black belt. Both are experienced Superfight competitors with Stuart Cooper being a veteran of the Grapplefest mats along with being a Quintet Pro competitor. Santeri is by far the more experienced competitor being a European Bronze Medalists both in the Gi and NoGi, along with winning multiple IBJJF Opens, for that reason, we see him taking the victory.
FME Pick - Santeri Lilius
Jack Grant (AVT) vs John Maguire (10th Planet) u85kgs
A match up between two UK MMA fighters, John Maguire is a UFC veteran, with unique style, being both a 10th Planet Brown belt and a BJJ Purple belt. While Jack Grant is an up and coming MMA fighter competing on Cage Warriors. Jack is an explosive fast paced grappler who has won previously on the Grapplefest mats and is the current ADCC British Open champion. We see the younger more explosive Jack taking the win.
FME Pick - Jack Grant
Mathesz Szczecinski (Academia Gorilla) vs Eoghan O'flanagan (New School) u80kgs
A contender for fight of the night, Mathesz is a European ADCC Bronze medalist where he won 5 matches by sub, losing to Ross Nicholls by a refs decision. Along with being a Polish Open Gi and NoGi. While Eoghan O'Flanagan is a Grapplefest superfight winner while being a Polaris veteran.
FME Pick - Mathesz Szczecinski
Chris Walsh (Next Gen) vs Ellis Younger (ECJJ) u80kgs
A real clash of styles, Progress JJ's Ellis Younger is known for his explosive non stop style whether from top position or bottom. While Chris is a Polaris and Grapplefest vet, a black belt from Next Generation MMA Liverpool. Ellis recently took Gold at the IBJJF NoGi world championships in the brown belt lightweight division. Along with being a European Champion at purple. Ellis is the more active competitor and will look to push the pace.
FME Pick - Ellis Younger.