The first ever Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship took place on November 12th, 2017 and although not many would have predicted it at the time, it had a massive impact on the landscape of professional grappling. Not only is there still regular Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship events to this very day, but the ruleset is used on a regular basis in many different promotions. It’s hard to imagine a world without Combat Jiu-Jitsu today but for those who have been watching professional grappling for a decade or so, this was simply the way things were back then.
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First Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship
The Combat Jiu-Jitsu ruleset was originally created by ADCC veteran and 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo, and it first appeared before the World Championship did. Strikes to the head and body are permitted but they must be done with an open hand, and only when the opponent is on the ground. Up until this point, there was only Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. If competitors wanted to compete with strikes then they simply transitioned to MMA, and there was no real middle-ground in between the two sports. That’s the gap that Bravo filled with Combat Jiu-Jitsu, and it’s the main reason that it’s a popular ruleset for MMA veterans and elite grapplers alike.
The very first Combat Jiu-Jitsu tournament was actually at EBI 11 on March 5th, 2017 and it proved popular right from the start, which is why the World Championship came about. While the wheels were in motion to book the first World Championship event, it continued to be a fixture at EBI events. EBI 12 and 13 also featured Combat Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and by the time that this event came around; with Nick Honstein, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, and Richie Martinez winning those respective events. There was clearly appetite to watch grappling matches where strikes were allowed on the ground, so Eddie Bravo decided to start the second venture of his career as a promoter.
Now that the ruleset had been tested in a live setting and it was clear that fans would be interested in the idea, it was time to put together the lineup for the first Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. The later editions of the event feature sixteen-person brackets but this first edition featured two eight-person brackets instead. The weight classes chosen for the debut World Championship were bantamweight and lightweight, featuring a combination of experienced competitors and new blood. This was thanks to the fact that EBI 11 already featured bantamweights and none of the previous Combat Jiu-Jitsu tournaments took place at lightweight.
Naturally the two finalists from EBI 11, Chad George and Nick Honstein, were invited back once again and the rest of the bantamweight lineup featured a mixture of new and old faces. Nathan Trepagnier and the legendary Baret Yoshida were also competing, as were MMA veterans Sidemar Honorio and Nick Pace. JM Holland and Sheridan Moran also returned from EBI 11 as the only other competitors with Combat Jiu-Jitsu experience, but the most likely winner here looked like it would be Yoshida or either of the two finalists from EBI 11.
The lightweight division was far harder to predict in advance, but it featured some very big names in the world of professional grappling. Nathan Orchard was one of the favorites in the lineup and the other was Vagner Rocha, who was known more for his time as a UFC fighter despite a bronze medal at ADCC earlier in the year. Fellow UFC veteran Tyson Griffin was also competing and there was a ton of MMA experience in this division, with Rafael Domingos, James Gonzalez, Samson Phommabout, Mikey Zindler, and Jason Hayden all having spent some time in the cage.
First Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship Full Results
Ben Eddy defeats Wilson Reis via Submission – Armbar
Elias Anderson defeats Denny Prokopos via Decision – Ride Time in EBI Overtime
Rey de Leon defeats Laird Anderson via Submission – Rear-naked Choke in EBI Overtime
Chad George defeats Nathan Trepagnier via Submission – D’arce Choke
Sheridan Moran defeats Baret Yoshida via Decision – Ride Time in EBI Overtime
Sidemar Honorio defeats JM Holland via Submission – Armbar in EBI Overtime
Nick Pace defeats Nick Honstein via Decision – Ride Time in EBI Overtime
Chad George defeats Sheridan Moran via Submission – Rear-naked Choke in EBI Overtime
Sidemar Honorio defeats Nick Pace via Submission – Kneebar
Chad George defeats Sidemar Honorio via Submission – Rear-naked Choke in EBI Overtime
James Gonzalez defeats Tyson Griffin via Decision – Ride Time in EBI Overtime
Nathan Orchard defeats Samson Phommabout via Submission – Rear-naked Choke
Jason Hayden defeats Rafael Domingos via Submission – Heel Hook
Vagner Rocha defeats Mikey Zindler via Submission – Rear-naked Choke
Nathan Orchard defeats James Gonzalez via Decision – Ride Time in EBI Overtime
Vagner Rocha defeats Jason Hayden via Submission – Armbar
Vagner Rocha defeats Nathan Orchard via TKO – Strikes
The full event replay of the first Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship event is available to watch on Eddie Bravo’s official YouTube channel: