Polaris 26 is scheduled for November 4th, 2023 and we’ve put together a preview of every match that has been announced for the main card of the event. The headline match will see BJJ legend Craig Jones taking on UFC middleweight veteran Gerald Meerschaert, and there’s several other exciting matches booked before that. The co-main event is an even more interesting matchup, as Kendall Reusing returns from an extended layoff to defend her openweight title against Leticia Cardozo. Alongside the other incredible grapplers competing at Polaris 26, Meerschaert isn’t the only MMA fighter as Molly McCann will be facing off against Julia Scardone as well.
Polaris 26 Full Preview
Craig Jones v Gerald Meerschaert
Gerald Meerschaert holds the record for the most submissions in the UFC middleweight division and he’s definitely skilled enough to beat some grapplers at their own game. Unfortunately for him, Craig Jones isn’t just any BJJ competitor. Jones is a two-time ADCC silver medalist and is without a doubt one of the top grapplers on the planet, so Meerschaert really does have an uphill battle here. It’s not impossible, but Jones is the clear favorite to win here and he should be able to get the submission finish too.
Kendall Reusing v Leticia Cardozo
This is probably the hardest match to call in this whole preview of Polaris 26, as there’s a number of unknown factors involved. Kendall Reusing is the reigning openweight champion and is easily one of the best female competitors on the planet, but she’s coming back off a nasty knee injured suffered at ADCC 2022. She hasn’t picked an easy match for her return either, as Leticia Cardozo has only recently been promoted to black belt but has already established herself at the top of the sport. She won the IBJJF No Gi World Championship on her first attempt and we’d have to give her the slight edge just based on Reusing’s time away from competing.
Molly McCann v Julia Scardone
Molly McCann is quickly becoming one of the most popular female fighters on the UFC roster, but she’s always been known more for her striking than her grappling. Although her opponent Julia Scardone isn’t quite the highest level of competitor, she’s still a talented grappler with some impressive skills. McCann is very difficult to submit but it’s hard to imagine her beating a specialist at their own game, and the most likely outcome here is that Scardone wins a decision after a tough battle.
Tommy Langaker v Oliver Taza
This is a battle between two ADCC veterans and despite the fact that it’s about halfway down the main card, it’s actually one of the most interesting matches in this preview of Polaris 26. Although Tommy Langaker was known as a gi specialist for quite some time, he looked incredible at ADCC Trials in 2022 and is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Oliver Taza is a no gi specialist and he’s notoriously difficult to submit, whereas Langaker is known for his high submission-rate. Unless Taza can pull off the submission win, Langaker should be able to win a decision based on constant offense over the course of the match.
Owen Jones v Bart Dubbeldam
Owen Jones has only recently been promoted to brown belt in BJJ, but his belt level is very clearly not any indication of the skill that he possesses on the mats. He earned that promotion by shocking the world recently and emerging victorious at ADCC European Trials, so it’ll be fun to see him try to replicate that success in a superfight against Bart Dubbeldam. Although Dubbeldam is an experienced competitor, it seems as though Jones will be the next big grappling star in the UK and he should be able to come away with the win here.
Marcin Maciulewicz v Max Bickerton
Marcin Maciulewicz clearly impressed the matchmakers at Polaris after winning a Contenders tournament earlier this year, as he’s been invited to return at this event. It’s difficult to see where he really stacks up in the wider landscape of professional grappling because he had a tough draw in the Polaris absolute grand prix, getting ADCC world champion Giancarlo Bodoni in the opening round. This match against Max Bickerton is Maciulewicz’s chance to prove that he belongs at that level and although Bickerton is a difficult opponent, we’re picking Maciulewicz to win.
The full Polaris 26 event, including every match listed in the preview of the main card above, will be available to watch live on November 4th on UFC Fight Pass.