The Emerald City Invitational is returning soon with ECI 4 and the competitors have started to be announced, with the first three all looking like strong favorites to take home the title in the 155lbs division. The promotion has announced one of their competitors every few days in posts to their official Instagram account, starting with Californian BJJ black belt Joshua Cisneros. The crowning achievements of his career so far have come at the IBJJF Pan-Ams, where Cisneros managed to win the Light-Featherweight division in the gi in 2020 and returned in 2021 to earn a silver medal in the Featherweight division of the no gi edition. Cisneros has established himself as a top competitor in a short space of time and it stands to reason that he has a good chance of winning at ECI 4.
Shortly after Cisneros, Keith Krikorian was announced as the second of several elite competitors for Emerald City Invitational 4. Krikorian has been one of the most impressive athletes to come out of 10th Planet in recent years and was awarded with his black belt at the end of 2020. Krikorian came incredibly close to booking his place at the ADCC world championships when he entered the ADCC North American East Coast trials, winning six matches in a row to book his place in the final where he fell just short against 16 year-old phenom Cole Abate. He’s rebounded from that loss incredibly quickly though by winning a High Rollerz tournament and then finishing the year as the Combat Jiu Jitsu Featherweight world champion.
The final of the three competitors to be announced for ECI 4 is actually the current Emerald City Invitational 145lbs champion. Gianni Grippo defeated four elite grapplers back at at ECI 2 and won the tournament’s $10,000 grand prize in exciting fashion, so it should come as no surprise that he’s been invited back to attempt to become the promotion’s first double champion. Grippo looked as impressive as always from start to finish but there was one particular moment that stood out, when he took on Ellis Karadag in the very first round. Grippo went from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye as he ripped a brutal heelhook on Karadag and the gruesome finish quickly went viral. Every competitor who stands opposite him at ECI 4 will likely have that finish in mind and he stands a good chance of taking home another title.