by Jeff Meszaros
Brazilian jiu jitsu has always been an art for creative people who like to experiment and find newways to reach their goals, whether it’s new ways to make an opponent tap, or brand new events to promote the sport. And Eddie Bravo is certainly one creative guy.
Known for his innovative system of 10th Planet jiu-jitsu, he has branched out again to start his own tournament. His dream is to make jiu-jitsu as big as the NBA or NFL, and while that is still a long way off, EBI6 is a step closer with some of the best submission grapplers around and rules that encourage entertaining matches.
It’s a no-gi event with no points. If you don’t make your opponent tap, it goes to overtime. If you still can’t make them tap, a winner is chosen based on who has escaped from bad positions the quickest. Simple enough? That’s the idea. Let’s take a look at who is in the tournament.
Dean “Boogeyman” Lister: Victory Athletics
Anyone who’s been around jiu-jitsu for a while knows who Dean Lister is, and what he is: A scary dude. He was one of the first to bring high-level leglocks to jiu-jitsu, earning him the nickname “The Boogeyman” as people would disappear from tournaments rather than fight him. Even though he has suffered a few losses in the past few years, once to Josh Barnett and once to Keenan Cornelius, this ADCC champ is still a fearsome opponent. Note: Lister dropped out and was replaced by Marcello Bergo.
Fabian Bolaños: Roger Coelho Academy
Bolanos won the EBI 6 Qualifier to earn a spot in the tournament, so you know heʼs got some legit skills. Could he be a title contender? Sure. It wouldnʼt be the first time a dark horse has come out of nowhere to win at a big grappling tournament. But facing Lister in the first round is a tall order.
Gordon Ryan: Renzo Gracie Academy
Ryan comes in as a late replacement for Eddie “Wolverine” Cummings, the EBI lightweight champion who had to pull out at the last minute. But donʼt assume that makes life easier for anyone. Ryan trains with Garry Tonon at the Renzo Gracie Academy and, although he is just a brown belt, he has beaten many, many black belts at NAGA, Grapplers Quest and the ADCC North American Trials, where he got second place last year. He once beat Enrico Cocco, who is one of the few people to beat Eddie Cummings.
Jacen Flynn: Dragon Bushido Dojo
Flynn made his MMA debut in 1999 at the Bas Rutten invitational. There, he fought twice in the same night and beat Denis Kang by submission. A few years later, he beat Dean Lister. It was a split decision, but thatʼs still impressive. Now, assuming heʼs been training since then, thatʼs 17
years of no-gi grappling experience. That makes Flynn a dark horse with skills.
Yuri Simões: Caio Terra Association
Simoes won the ADCC open last year, running through opposition like a rocket-powered bulldozer. The ADCC allows heel hooks like the EBI but it uses points like the IBJJF, although pulling guard is penalized. Simoes will be right at home fighting in a no-gi tournament where leglocks flourish, but this is still his first EBI event with sudden-death overtime rounds.
Evandro Nunes: Gracie Academy
Nunes comes into EBI 6 as a representative of the Gracie Academy, but he was trained by Ryan Gracie black belt Márcio Barão who promoted Nunes to black belt in 2013. A decorated tournament competitor, Nunes has a reputation for chasing submissions at all times, but in the first round he is up against Simoes, who will come at Nunes head-on for the whole match.
Felipe Fogolin: Triunfo Jiu Jitsu Academy
Felipe Fogolin replaced ADCC monster and UFC fighter Vinny Magalhaes who pulled out with an injury. As a two-time world IBJJF no-gi champion, he has some credentials to him, but those were in the master category, which is the IBJJFʼs euphemism for “older people” and, to make things worse, he faces Gary Tonon in the first round. Note: Fogolin dropped out and was replaced by Ruben Alvarez.
Garry Tonon: Ocean County JJ & Renzo Gracie Academy
Tonon is the most experienced competitor by far, having won EBI at both welterweight and lightweight. He’s also competed in ADCC, the IBJJF and Polaris where he just fought to a draw against Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares. While he is one of the smaller competitors, he knows how to win at EBI tournaments better than anyone.
Abraham Marte: GF Team
Marte is a giant from the Dominican Republic who has won bronze at the IBJJF World Championships twice. He replaces André Galvão who withdrew to coach his team, Atos, at the IBJJF Pan Ams. Marte is likely the biggest competitor in the event but he’s also the least experienced with EBI rules, which allow leg locks that are prohibited in the IBJJF where he’s fought until now. His opponent in the first round? No-gi specialist and 10th Planet competitor
Richie Martinez. Note: Marte dropped out and was replaced by Jimmy Friedrich.
Richie Martinez: 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
While Bravo’s 10th planet jiu-jitsu students have done well at his EBI events, they haven’t dominated. What’s impressive to see is how Bravo has been totally fine with this and treats all competitors the same whether they fly his flag or not. Still, you know that 10th planet fighters want to win the event that their teacher and founder Bravo has created. Martinez is one of Bravo’s own students and came from breakdancing, where he and his brother
are B-boys. He got his black belt in 10th Planet jiu-jitsu very quickly but has proven himself as an EBI runner-up in 2014 – where he lost in the finals to Tonon. Does a rematch await? Only if they both reach the finals. And there are some huge men standing in the way.
Matheus Diniz: Alliance New York – Marcelo Garcia
Marcelo Garcia is a four-time ADCC champion and a five-time champion of the IBJJF. Diniz is his star black belt who won silver last year in the absolute division at the IBJJF no-gi World Championships and bronze in his weight class. Not bad for someone whoʼs only been a black belt for a year. Heʼs also one of the very few people to have submitted Garry Tonon.
Lucas Rocha: Gracie Barra Recife
Rocha comes from a well-known academy and has won medals at major IBJJF tournaments at each belt. He is a black belt under his uncle “Ze Radiola” who also trained both Braulio and Victor Estima as well as Otavio Souza. Rocha will need the same skills as he faces Diniz in the first round.
Bruno Bastos: Bruno Bastos Association
Bastos has competed in every jiu-jitsu tournament under the sun, from the IBJJF to the ADCC and Grapplerʼs Quest. Now, he looks to add some EBI wins to his already impressive resume. Six members of Bastosʼ family are black belts in jiu-jitsu. That gives you an idea of how ingrained jiu-jitsu is in his life. A world no-gi champion, he faces DJ Jackson in the opening
DJ Jackson: Team Lloyd Irvin
A powerful wrestler, Jackson has won the IBJJF world championships at blue, purple and brown belt and has won the no-gi world championships twice as a black belt. But the majority of his wins and losses have come by points. Itʼs hard to imagine Jackson submitting Bastos or vice versa, so this match may come down to who has the faster escapes in overtime.
Amir Allam: 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Allam replaces Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu who pulled out of EBI 6 to compete in the World Pro in the United Arab Emirates. He is no slouch, however, as a 10th planet black belt who is 265-pounds and a decent wrestler. In the first round, however, he is up against Rustam Chsiev, who is a monster.
Rustam Chsiev: K-Dojo
An ADCC bronze medallist, Chsiev puts fear into the hearts of opponents with his unbelievable takedowns and submission defense. Although he has no official rank in jiu-jitsu, Chsiev has defeated the likes of Rafael Lovato Jr., Davi Ramos and Rolumo Barral. Will he win EBI 6? Very likely no, but anyone who faces him will need sled-dog energy to defeat him and go on.