FIVE Grappling cancelled all of their upcoming tournaments in lieu of holding their Super League tournament, which was much more exciting than most of the matches in recent Metamoris events but still contained more stalling than EBI and is aiming at but did not carry the gravitas of ADCC. Tonon and Miyao delivered.
The format was two eight person tournaments, one no-gi for the men and in the gi for the women along with two high level superfights. The tournaments carried significant cash prizes for both men and women, equal prize money for each division with 10,000 dollars for first, 5k for second and 2.5k for third. The ruleset for the tournament was similar to an IBJJF ruleset in respect to points, but no advantages were awarded and all matches were 6 minutes long, some going to referee’s decision. The superfights had a 10 minute clock and were submission only in regulation but then would go to a 6 minute overtime with the tournament ruleset.
The no-gi tournament was exciting and highlighted Joao Assis who took third, Yuri Simoes who took second and Tim Spriggs who took home the 10k prize. Most matches went to the wrestling dominant player and ended in the decision, although we did see some beautiful wrestling, especially between Simoes and Spriggs in the finals, this was not a format for submission hunters, to truly get that we need to remove the point element.
This format showed it’s flaw especially in the women’s gi division, with the exception of Mackenzie Dern who is clearly in a league of her own. Dern made quick work of all three opponents with a rear collar choke, knee bar and toe hold in the finals, Dern was not concerned with points and epitomized the spirit of the art. A few matches ended in submissions but even the ones that did were very stagnant for a long period of time, this format plus the gi grips tempted all kinds of stalling.
The highlight of the event was the superfights, we had Keenan Cornelius vs Otavio Sousa and Garry Tonon vs Joao Miyao, two big named but very different matches. Cornelius vs Sousa was a wrestling dominated match despite the submission only format, personally I would have liked to see the Keenan that had caught my eye in previous events with intricate and dynamic guard games, he chose not to show us that this time around.
Tonon vs Miyao had our whole viewing party on the edge of our seats. Miyao pulled guard and of course implemented his relentless berimbolo attacks with Tonon playing between diving attacks and going for the legs, this was as exciting as we hoped. Although Miyao got very close to the back several times, Tonon’s principles of defense kept him off and allowed him to achieve some very deep inside and outside heel hooks that would make any orthopedic surgeon cringe but Miyao kept persisting for the back. One of the decisive points for this match was in the overtime where Tonon and Miyao both pulled guard and Tonon scored by coming up first (a FIVE specific rule), Miyao’s coach enacted the “coach’s challenge rule” where they can look at the replay for a reconsideration of score but the points remained. Miyao scored a sweep in overtime bringing it to an even 2 and 2 but Tonon’s constant submission attempts got him the match. This rematch had been a while coming and Tonon considered their first match unfinished because there was no submission, it looks like Tonon still has some unfinished business.