Cole Abate is the 16 year-old Art of Jiu-Jitsu prodigy who made a huge impact recently when he emerged victorious at the North American East Coast ADCC Trials. This wasn’t his first taste of elite competition however as he has been competing at the highest level of kid’s competition for almost a decade and had already started making the transition to adult divisions at the WNO Championships, although he wasn’t able to achieve victory there. He recently sat down with The Grappling Hour to discuss how he managed to pull off such an amazing feat at a young age, and he actually took the time to break down each of his last few matches against veteran competitors.
First up for Cole Abate to break down was his quarter-final matchup at the ADCC trials against Estevan Martinez, the 2021 IBJJF no gi world champion who was affectionately nicknamed ‘The Giant Slayer’ for good reason:
“Estevan is a really great competitor. You see him fighting against some huge guys in the absolute. And one of his main attributes is being able to move and escape positions, and really just be dynamic the entire fight and force his opponents to get to positions that they’re not used to and defend attacks that are more unorthodox. With him, I knew I just really had to slow him down at the beginning and knowing that I was bigger than him, I would be stronger in the fight. And I knew that he was more comfortable when it was loose, when there was no engagement… So I really just had to lock him down, slow him down, make him tired, and feel my strength… I was just more aware in that fight and tried to really play it safe whenever it came to him getting free and jumping around. but I was able to take his back and score against him, as well.”
After victory against Martinez, Cole Abate moved on to the Semi-Finals of the ADCC Trials against Deandre Corbe, the Canadian grappler who had just managed to upset one of the favorites to win the division, Edwin ‘Junny’ Ocasio:
“Going into that match against Corbe, I knew he would be very strong, he’d be very physical… I would be moving on top and trying to pass the guard. I actually passed his guard before the points started… I was in the side control and went straight to knee on belly to score the points for that, just to solidify it. I let him recover the guard… so that I could pass again. I stayed moving on top. Towards the end of the fight I think he tried to stand up and take me down, but I just maintained good distance, kept my hips back and got the win with two points.”
This performance then booked Cole Abate his place in the final of the 66kg division of the ADCC Trials where he took on one of the most recent 10th Planet black belts, Keith Krikorian:
“I think a lot of people counted him out in going to the finals… He was one of those guys that we were aware of since the beginning of the tournament… He’s got good wrestling, he’s got good leg locks, so you really have to be on your toes the whole fight… With it being the finals and you getting negatives for pulling guard, I really just wanted to feel out his wrestling… I felt his grips on the feet. He seemed very experienced on his feet, good wrestling, good level changes, good stances. So what I did is I was able to open up a shot. I got pretty deep on a single leg. But instead of taking the risk and going for the takedown right away… I used that as a chance to pull to my guard without taking a negative point… I was playing my guard for the first half of the match. Was able to get under his legs and sweep him and get on top. As soon as I got on top that was right when points started so I was like okay now it’s time to rack up points. So I passed pretty quickly as soon as I got on top. I was able to make him expose the back at one point, was able to get to the back… Was able to get to very dominant positions in that match and solidified my spot in ADCC next year.”
The full interview with Cole Abate on The Grappling Hour where he details all of his victories on the way to winning ADCC Trials and earning a place at the 2022 World Championships, is available on their official YouTube channel: