It seems like it was only yesterday that Gordon Ryan was crowned the most recent double champion of ADCC and fans were going crazy over Lachlan Giles’ amazing performance in the absolute division. Although we’re still a little while away from actual ADCC World Championships in 2021, by the end of 2020 we will already have three entrants guaranteed for every division after the first set of trials. There are very few competitors who can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be invited without fighting for it as this is usually reserved for past champions and fan-favorites. For the rest of the field, they will have to fight their way to the biggest stage through a swarm of hungry grapplers, all hunting for the same goal.
For the next edition of ADCC, these are the trials to be announced so far:
European Trials: Oct 3, 2020 – Poland
(Also open to Middle Eastern and African competitors, with a second European Trials event to follow)
North American Trials: Nov 7, 2020 – New Jersey
(West Coast trials will be held in 2021)
Asia and Oceania Trials: Dec 5, 2020 – Singapore
(A second Asian Trials event will also be announced)
Polaris Lightweight and Bantamweight champion, Ashley Williams is training hard with his twin brother Josh in the UK to prepare for the fast-paced action of the lighter weight-classes. He’s also got a nice lead-up to the European trials in the form of the Polaris Squads event which takes place just one week before. The Swansea-based grappler should get a good few rounds against top-tier opposition with less at stake before he makes a run at ADCC.
The young Kody Steele and the even younger William Tackett are putting each other through the ringer down in Austin, Texas, working on their already high-quality wrestling. The pair of instructors at Brazilian Fight Factory are also being smart about the build-up to the trials with Steele competing on Fight 2 Win 150 against David Garmo and Tackett fighting in a 4-man tournament at BJJ Woodstock on the same weekend. Tackett managed a silver medal at the last ADCC West Coast trials, although it’s unclear whether the pair will wait for the same event this year or make the journey to New Jersey for the first available chance.
Just down the road in Temple, Texas, 2-time EBI veteran Travis Moore has also started his preparation early which could be an indication of his intention to make the journey to New Jersey instead of waiting on the West Coast trials. Moore is an experienced grappler with victories on shows like Fight 2 Win, FloGrappling’s Who’s #1?, and the Onnit Invitational. He was most recently seen earning an IBJJF Pan-Ams silver medal in the Masters division to add to his collection of No gi silverware.
Back across the Atlantic ocean in France, Street Fight Training Academy’s head coach Anthony De Oliveira is getting rounds in ready for the European trials. The IBJJF European no gi champion is in with a good chance of qualifying for the finals this year after falling short in his last attempt. The Bordeaux resident won the opening round of the ADCC European trials in 2018, but lost to the eventual winner, Zaur Akhmedov in the 66kg bracket.
Across a few borders in Poland, another man who came close last time around is back at the grind too, the bronze medalist from the European Trials at 77kg, Mateusz Szczecinski. He’s kept very busy by taking seminars and training camps over the last few weeks but is still finding the time to get competition training done in the capital of Warsaw. A UWW Grappling World and European champion, Szczecinski was more than a handful last time around and shows no signs of slipping back.
Further up the northern coast of Poland in Gdansk is another bronze medalist from last year starting his journey to ADCC. Andrzej Iwat submitted three opponents in a row but fell just short in a match against the eventual winner, Perttu Tepponen, in 2018. He’s a constant competitor on the local Polish scene and wins national championships in just about every ruleset under the sun, including the ADCC Polish Nationals.
Travelling back to the USA to finish, one of ADCC 2019’s surprise entrants is getting a headstart on preparation too. Jon “Thor” Blank represents 10th Planet Allentown in Pennsylvania and impressed the organizers so much in a bronze medal effort at the West Coast trials that he got invited to the finals anyway. After a great run through the first day of ADCC 2019, he lost to Craig Jones and ended up losing in the third-place playoff against the same man who beat him in the trials, Josh Hinger.
Things are certainly heating up in the last few months of 2020 and it’s clear that gyms around the world are deep in preparation for the road to ADCC 2021. All that’s left for fans to do is wait with baited breath to see which of these men can claw their way to the top of the mountain and earn the right to compete for the biggest prize in no gi grappling.