by Todd HesterSimply said, the Gracie family = Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and Kron Gracie is next in line to represent the revered first family of grappling. The newly crowned BJJ World Cup and Mundial purple belt champion is set to make his Professional Submission League debut at ‘X-Mission’ Kron, the youngest son of grappling legend Rickson Gracie, is coming off of an amazing streak during recent competitions in Brazil. Within the course of two weeks, he won 11 total matches in two international tournaments, all by submission, and all but one in less than three minutes. It is not surprising that his style closely mirrors that of his undefeated father, Rickson, still acknowledged as the unofficial Gracie family champion. ‘I’m really looking forward to the competition, says Kron. I am disappointed that Bill Cooper won’t be able to fight because of his injury but I know that Andy Wang is very technical and dangerous. I hope that my dad will be able to see the match as he is not only my father but also the best trainer and coach in the world.’ Kron is known as a very minimalist fighter who plays the percentages by using very few techniques and not giving his opponents a lot of chances to reverse or sweep him. Once he gets a position he likes, he will slowly and methodically work himself into a submission opportunity. However, the vast majority of his tournament experience has come in BJJ tournaments using the gi. Since the PSL is a no-gi event, it will be very interesting to see how the young Gracie reacts to not being able to use collar chokes and gi grabs. Originally set to face Kron was the exciting young American fighter from Northern California, coached by Ricardo ‘Franjinha’ Miller of Paragon Jiu-Jitsu, Bill ‘The Grill’ Cooper. ‘The Grill’ was coming off a big win at the 2006 Grappler’s Quest U.S. Trials and had been looking forward to his rematch with Kron since an arguably controversial decision at the 2005 Copa Pacifica where Gracie was victorious. However, he was sidelined at the last minute by an injury. ‘I’ve been looking forward to this match for a long time,’ says Cooper, ‘so I was very disappointed that I got injured. People make a big deal of the takedown Kron got in our match in the 2005 Copa Pacifica to beat me, but that was a long time ago and we’ve both gotten a lot better. I really hope that I’ll have a chance to face him again in a future PSL event. We have a good rivalry and I think that is positive for the sport.’ What made people anticipate the match is that Cooper’s style is almost the exact opposite of Kron’s as he is very active, likes to execute complex moves and positions, and has a much more open style. The other very interesting factor is that Cooper has fought extensively in no-gi grappling tournaments and so has the edge in experience in this type of contest. Hopefully, the rivalry can continue at a future PSL. Stepping up to face Kron, however, is an opponent who just might be more dangerous than Cooper! Andy Wang, a BJJ black belt under Egan Innoue and Barret Yoshida who is the current BJJ instructor at the R1 Center. While Wang is a black belt compared to Kron’s brown belt status, Kron has been very active lately on the international competition circuit while Wang has been concentrating on teaching. It will be very interesting to see how the two match up on the tatame. There are a limited number of tickets still available for ‘X-Mission’ but seats are going fast. Don’t miss your chance to witness this unprecedented event LIVE and in person. The Culver City Veterans Memorial ticket office in Southern California will be open from 10 AM to 6 PM Thursday and Friday. Additional tickets are available at www.prosubleague.com, www.tix.com or by calling 323.966.5872. For those unable to attend ‘X-Mission’ there will be a LIVE PPV webcast and a FREE LIVE audiocast of the event hosted by former UFC heavyweight champion and current Pride fighting star, Josh Barnett at www.prosubleague.com. Tune in LIVE as Barnett calls the action and interviews all the key fighters.