This Friday night Polaris Professional invitational returns with a world class card for all you grappling aficionados. Live in London and on UFC fight pass, sponsored by our own lifestyle brand Bearfoot, this promises to be an exciting night of world class grappling, with multiple world champions displaying their jiu jitsu. As always Fighters Market Europe is on hand to provide you with another in depth preview into the card and whet your palette for Friday night.
Jake Shields vs Rafael Lovato Jr.
Starting off with the main event, sees two legends of grappling mix it up, Jake Shields better known for his MMA career takes on multiple time world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. Jake has used his world class Grappling skills to dominate multiple opponents in the MMA arena, which has taken him to the heights of a Strikeforce World Championship and UFC title fight. In terms of grappling credentials, Jake is an NCAA All-American wrestler, and a ADCC Bronze medallist, he has defeated world champions such as Gilbert burns and Leo Santos and already has a Polaris win under his belt. However, Jake will have his work cut out for him against Rafael Lovato JR, who has won world titles in both Gi and NoGi competitions, with an ADCC silver medal in his trophy cabinet. Lovato Jr has also begun an MMA career, fighting on Bellator, winning all 5 of his fights, with a record of 9-0 in total. With their top-heavy styles and solid wrestling base this match up promises to be tough and bruising.
Ffion Davies vs Gezary Matuda – TITLE FIGHT
Rookie Black belt Ffion Davies takes on seasoned veteran Gezary Matuda in what promises to be an exciting match up. Since being promoted to black belt after an extremely successful brown belt career which included a ADCC trials win and an IBJJF World Championship, Kingz Kimonos athlete Ffion has been on tear, winning the IBJJF World NoGi Championships, and then following that with a European Gi title! Just recently Ffion defeated current World Pro champion Bianca Basilio at the UAEJJF London Grandslam. In Gezary Matuda Ffion faces a huge task, Gezary is a multiple time World Champion in the Gi and a previous Polaris Superfight winner. While Gezary is a lot more experienced at Black belt, Ffions pressure game, intensity and athleticism should make this a close and exciting match up.
Ross Nicholls vs Vagner Rocha - #1 Contender Match
Our pick for fight of the night sees Tatami Fightwear Athlete, and our athlete of 2018 Ross Nicholls take on Vagner Rocha. Ross Nicholls has been red hot, winning multiple super fights in 2018, beating opponents such as Gianni Grippo and securing his place at the 2019 ADCC. Vagner Rocha presents a totally different style with his intense and aggressive style. Vagner has won multiple ADCC trials and won a Bronze medal at the previous ADCC. Vagner is also a Polaris super fight winner. With the streak Ross is on, and the specific Polaris ruleset, anything can happen, but whats for sure, this will be a nail biter.
Tom Halpin vs Ethen Crelinsten
DDS standout Ethen Crelinsten takes on Irelands Tom Halpin, in a matchup which will most likely end up in a leg lock battle, with both Tom and Ethen being well versed in the leg game. Ethen comes into this match the more accomplished with ADCC trial wins, and a World NoGi Silver medalist. Tom is no slouch however with multiple black belt gold medals and a third place at the European NoGi championships.
Darragh O’Connail vs Mike Perez
ECJJA head honcho Darragh O’Connail takes on Atos stand out Mike Perez, while Darragh is known for his technical guard game, expect Mike Perez to push the pace with his wrestling and top pressure. This will be a real clash of styles, both are extremely experienced, with Darragh being the current European NoGi Champion, and an ACB super fight win. Mike Perez has multiple world NoGi titles at the coloured belts and is also an ADCC trials winner. With both always hunting for the finish, it’s fair to say, don’t blink!
Santeri Lillius vs Eduardo Teta Rios
Kicking off the show sees two previous Polaris Veterans clash, both are experienced competitors, Eduardo has taken multiple medals on the European scene including multiple NoGi European titles and a European Gi title. Teta Rios’s younger opponent Finland’s Santeri Lillius has medalled multiple time at the Europeans at the coloured belts. This promises to be an extremely tactical match, and one tough to call.
As expected, the match makers have put together a world class Preliminary card, which in all seriousness could stand alone as its own show, with the talent on show. The prelims which start at 6pm which will be available for free on social media has a solid mix between World and European talent along with all British match ups such as Jamie Hughes vs Arya Esfandmaz and Ed Ingamells vs Ash Amos. Progress Jiu Jitsu’s Marcus Phelan takes on Chris Newman of Checkmat, Marcus, a European NoGi Champion is no stranger to big shows, having competed on Copa Podio and Grapplefest, Expect a high pace from both athletes. Other athletes to keep your eyes on include Freddie Vosgrone who has been on a roll on the NoGi sub only scene, winning multiple ‘superfights’ along with submitting big names such as Miha Perhavec. Most of the matches on the card are NoGi Polaris Pro rules, however there are a couple of Gi matches on the Prelims which will be interesting watches, one such match is Nobuhiro Sawada vs Pedro Dias, both are consistent medallists at the biggest competitions, with Sawada taking gold at the World NoGi championships and Winning the UAEJJF Tokyo Grandslam. Pedro is also highly accomplished, winning the Europeans twice at brown belt and placing at the Worlds at brown belt, while at Black belt he has taken third at the Europeans and multiple UAEJJF Grandslams.
At the top of the preliminary card we have two highly anticipated match ups, with Sub only NoGI specialist Eoghan O’Flanagan takes on one of the best European Prospects in Tarik Hopstock. Tarik is a lot more accomplished on the competition scene, being a European Gi and NoGi champion at Purple belt along with a World Gi and NoGi Medalist at purple. While at brown belt, Tarik has also taken gold at the European NoGi championships and won the tough Copa Podio Iron Brown belt competition. With the Polaris Pro rules, which Eoghan has already won competing in, anything can happen, so expect a close match up! Finishing off the preliminary card, Progress JJ athlete and the creator of Yoga for BJJ Sebastian Brosche takes on Tommy Langaker in a gi match up. While it can initially look like a mismatch, with Tommy being on fire since being promoted to black belt, taking second place at the IBJJF World Championships last year and this year taking second place at the IBJJF Europeans. While also being crowned Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix champion. Sebastian cannot be counted out as a world champion, weight and absolute at purple belt, and a serial medallist at Brown belt at some of the biggest competitions in the world, with his crazy flexibility and Langaker’s intensity, this should be an explosive finish to the preliminary card.