From a “MMA perspective” the 2009 ADCC Worlds wassurprisingly packed with MMA vets and is anticipated to lead to more. Looking at this event from a MMA perspectivecan be very deceiving as for instance Xande Ribeiro won the -99kg division andtook silver in the absolute division but to MMA fans he is only known as 2-0 inSengoku, not a UFC vet or champion in a show with distribution. This results in the casual fan focusing onthe ten UFC vets that competed such as Jeff Monson or Ricco Rodriguez instead ofrelatively unknown absolute division and -88 kg champion Braulio Estima or thedramatic and exciting Pablo Popovitch vs. Marcelo Garcia match in the -77 kgdivision. Overall 47 competitors had MMAexperience, several of which did very well.
Getting the bad news out of the way leading up to this event UFC championGeorges St. Pierre and UFC vet Nathan Marquardt along with rumors of FedorEmelianenko got the MMA fans talking however Fedor in Strikeforce, Marquardthaving just fought in UFC, and St. Pierre out with a groin injury resulted inall three being out. Conspiracytheorists are bound to speculate UFC pulled their fighters but that is not trueas for instance Tom Lawlor competed and he is scheduled to fight in UFC 106November 21st.
The biggest news from a MMA angle revolves around Strikeforce. Defending +99 kg champion and UFC vet FabricioWerdum was supposed to fight Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce HW title inAugust but Overeem had to pull out and Werdum instead defeated Mike Kyle liveon Showtime. At the 2009 ADCC WorldsWerdum returned to win gold again in the +99 kg division along the waydefeating three other competitors with MMA experience. Also this weekend Strikeforce women’s 145pound champion Cristaine “Cyborg” Santos won bronze in the women’s +60 kgdivision.
Since the casual MMA fan is only interested in UFC and maybe WEC that angle hasto be addressed. At +99 kg Werdum wongold while Jeff Monson who once fought for the UFC heavyweight title made it tothe semi-finals. At -88 kg theaforementioned Tom Lawlor and UFC vet/Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago both lostin the first round while Jeff Curran lost in the first round at -66 kg. At -99 kg four UFC vets competed with DeanLister, Anthony Perosh, Vinny Magalhaes, and Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz taking tothe mats. In an interesting ladderbattle Cruz defeated Perosh before losing to Magalhaes who in turn was defeatedby the aforementioned Xande Ribeiro but took home bronze. Whether fans think of Lister as former KOTCchampion/TUF coach/4-2 in the octagon or 2005 ADCC superfight champion on thisweekend Lister made it to the second round before losing to GloverTexieira. Being a former UFC championRicco Rodriguez drew special attention from the MMA fans however lost in thefirst rounds of the -99 kg division and the absolutes, the absolutes beingnoted for his loss to, you guessed it, Xande Ribeiro. As far as other UFC vets in the absolutedivision Monson also lost in the first round while Magalhaes made it to thesemi-finals before losing to eventual champion Braulio Estima.
The real angle for serious MMA fans is that of the emerging stars. Lister and Rodriguez were the absolutedivision champions and Werdum the +99 champion before entering the UFC while2007 division champions Demian Maia, Marcelo Garcia, and Rani Yahya allcompeted in MMA following those wins. Tofurther illustrate the point just two weeks after the 2007 ADCC Worlds severalcompetitors fought MMA in the Gracie Fighting Championships including 2005 -87kg champion Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza who this weekend won the superfightagainst 2007 absolute division champion Robert Drysdale, himself an amateur MMAvet. Jacare is arguably the biggest nameto the MMA fans in Japan from the ADCC scene as he fought for the DREAM titleagainst Jason Miller, a fight that was ruled a “no contest”.
So who from this year should the MMA fan be watching for? Buy the DVDs when they come out and see foryourself. In the meantime a gallery inprogress of the competitors with MMA experience is posted at http://malarky.udel.edu/~keith/2009/ADCC/ADCCMMA.htm.