Proffesional Jiu Jitsu continues to thrive with promotions such as Kasai, Fight to Win and ACB, one of the leading promotions in the world is British Promotion: Polaris, and this weekend it returns bringing its 7th show, headlined by UFC star and former IBJJF World champion Gilbert Burns who faces Gregor Gracie in a No Gi match up. The card is stacked top to bottom with super close match ups on paper. As always Fighters Market Europe is on hand to provide you with the preview for this weekend’s Polaris!
The Main Card
We begin at the top with the Main event, Tatami Fightwear’s Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns taking on Gregor Gracie. Although Gilbert Burns has been focusing on MMA for the past few years, he was once at the absolute top of the BJJ world winning the IBJJF World Championships in both the Gi and No Gi, beating the likes of Lucas Lepri, Leandro Lo, Lucas Leite and Kron Gracie. Also placing 3rd at the ADCC. His opponent Gregor Gracie might not have as many titles, but he is no slouch himself, placing 3rd at the ADCC and winning the Worlds Masters in the Gi. This promises to be an explosive affair and a worthy main event.
Welterweight Tournament - NOGI
Lachlan Giles vs Oliver Taza
Ross Nicholls vs Nathan Orchard
Two match ups to compete for who will get to challenge for the Polaris Welterweight Belt, both match ups look evenly matched and tough to call.
Oliver Taza, a DDS standout who’s known for his No Gi prowess, the Scramble Brand athlete has been extremely active on the competition scene winning the IBJJF World No Gi at brown belt and ACB European Gi Championships. Taza will have his work cut out for him against one of the top Australian grapplers of his generation, Lachlan Giles. A multiple time ADCC qualifier, and multiple time black belt IBJJF Pan Pacific weight and absolute Champion, Giles vs Taza will surely be close.
On the other side of the bracket we have British standout Ross Nicholls, taking on Nathan Orchard. Ross has been on a tear winning multiple sub only competitions in the UK such as the main event no time limit match up at the first Figure4 event and the Crest championships in Finland, he will have his work cut out for him against No Gi specialist, Nathan Orchard. Orchard is a black belt under Eddie Bravo specialising in the 10th planet system.
Featherweight Tournament - NOGI
Nicky Ryan vs Phil Harris
Masakazu Imanari vs Ashley Williams
Polaris 7 will also feature the elimination match ups for the featherweight championship. The first match up sees DDS prodigy Nicky Ryan, who taking on UFC veteran Phil Harris. Nicky Ryan a Renzo Gracie purple belt is very experienced in the sub only match ups despite his youthful age. Competing and beating adults on some big shows including defeating Geo Martinez at Kasai Pro, Nicky won’t be fazed by the Polaris stage. In Phil Harris, Nicky faces a much stronger and bigger opponent, Phil is no stranger to the Polaris stage and this will be his third time competing on Polaris and will be hoping to stay at 0 for losses on Polaris! Nicky should be the favourite here with his technical Danaher leg attack system, but you shouldn’t count out the savvy UFC veteran Phil!
In the other elimination match we have MMA legend Masakazu Imanari taking on the Welshman Ashley Williams. Imanari needs no introduction, his leg attacks are legendary, and has fought on Polaris twice winning his last match on the show. This is Ashley’s debut on Polaris, being an EBI veteran and an IBJJF European No Gi Champion don’t expect the stage to faze him, a classic battle between the older legend against the younger up-comer, expect fireworks.
Samantha Cook vs Venla Luukkonen – Championship Eliminator (Over 55kg) - NOGI
Two of the premier female athletes in Europe face off in a NoGi title eliminator, Samantha Cook takes on Venla Luukkonen of Finland. Both are extremely decorated and experienced athletes with Samantha, despite being a 1st year black belt taking Bronze at the IBJJF World Championships and winning her Polaris debut earlier on in the year. On the NoGi side, Samantha qualified for ADCC 2017 winning the European trial and at the ADCC she placed 4th. Venla Luukkonen is the more experienced black belt winning the IBJJF World Championships in 2014 at Black Belt, she has been a regular feature on the world podium, recently placing 2nd at the 2018 worlds. This should be an exciting matchup between two of the premier Black Belts in Europe.
The card has a massive No Gi flavour to it, and it’s more of the same in the Preliminary match ups, however for you Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fans there are two excellent match ups, with Gracie Barra’s Oliver Lovell, who won his Polaris debut in spectacular fashion taking on Elements BJJ coach Yousuf Nabi. In the other Gi match up Pedro Bessa takes on Polish Roger Gracie black Belt Dominik Debiec who steps in as a late replacement! The No Gi match ups in the prelims promise to be explosive and exciting, Tom Halpin, a black belt under Cyborg takes on Igor Terreco from Roger Gracie academy.
One match which promises to be a quick finish is Eoghan o’flanagan vs Tom Caughey. Both are solid black belts who compete mainly No Gi, Eoghan has been on a year winning sub-only tournaments all over the UK and submitting main event standout Ross Nicholls in their last meeting. Although Tom is stepping in as a late replacement, his leg lock game has been shown for a while now across the UK and we’re sure he has been training hard with his team mates at Renegade MMA for this fight!
Miha Perhavec takes on 10th Planet London’s Jamie Scott, Miha is 2-0 on polaris with some excellent submission heel hook victories, the Scramble athlete has been travelling the world but he’s still kept his winning form, taking gold at the the IBJJF Atlanta Open and in New Zealand becoming the New Zealand No Gi National advanced Champion. Jamie Scott is a Polaris veteran who lost his debut via decision, but since then won a NAGA title belt and returns hunting his first Polaris win.
Last but definitely not least on the Prelims sees Lloyd Cooper vs Kieran Davern. Lloyd has been extremely active in the past couple of years, winning the IBJJF European Championships as a brown belt, submitting all his opponents. As a black belt Lloyd has been extremely impressive, especially on the sub only No Gi scene, first winning Densetsu, a show which brought together some of the top UK grapplers in a no time limit sub only format offering a cash prize of £2000. He would also take wins at Tanko Submission Championships and various other sub only shows in the UK, most recently defeating Kingz Europe Athlete Bryn Jenkins via a brutal calf crush at the first Figure4 show. On that same show his opponent Kieran Davern looked impressive with his own submission victory, a brown belt from the famed SBG Ireland, which also boasts Connor McGregor, Kieran isn’t just here to make up the numbers and himself is very active on the sub-only scene, this matchup will surely be one to watch.
All in all, this is an excellent card put together by the organiser of Polaris, with a mix of the top international talent, quality European athletes and homegrown favourites. We can’t wait to watch it unfold, catch it Saturday 14th July at the O2 arena or on UFC fight pass.