UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 is booked for June 29th, 2023 and the promotion has put together a fantastic card that we’re going to break down in this preview. Each of the first three professional grappling events that UFC Fight Pass have put together have delivered plenty of action, but this time they’ve really pulled out all the stops. The card is stacked from top to bottom with exciting young prospects and some of the best grapplers on the planet, including an 8-man absolute tournament with a $30,000 grand prize. There’s bound to be a ton of action in the tournament, and just as much in each of the superfights booked for the event as well.
UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 Full Preview
There is a lot to look forward to in this preview of the absolute tournament at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4, but picking a winner is incredibly hard to do. Just like any other tournament without weight classes, the obvious favorites are going to be the heavier athletes. Nicky Rodriguez stands out as the most accomplished of the bigger competitors who’ve entered the division, but his teammate Haisam Rida and Dan Manasoiu will both present a tough challenge. It’s going to require a significant upset for anyone else to make the final outside of these three men, and Rodriguez is the safest bet to walk home with the grand prize.
Felipe Pena v Craig Jones
This match will be serving as the main event of UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4, and it’s also the closest match to call in this preview. Felipe Pena is an ADCC world champion and a double IBJJF world championship gold medallist, so he’s a tough competitor for anyone to beat. Craig Jones on the other hand is probably the sport’s most famous silver medalist, having stood in second place on the podium of the 88kg division at ADCC 2019 and the 99kg division at ADCC 2022. It’ll be a tough match for both men stylistically and it’s hard to imagine either one of them submitting the other in regulation time. Given that UFC Fight Pass Invitational matches tend to use EBI rules, this match could really go either way once it goes into overtime.
Anthony Smith v Glover Teixeira
These two men have previously fought in their UFC careers and although Glover Teixeira won that fight, there wasn’t a whole lot of grappling on display. Both he and Anthony Smith have been known to display some fantastic Jiu-Jitsu in MMA over the years, racking up an astounding 24 submission wins between them. Both of them have plenty of experience on the mats and although neither one of them is going to give up easily, the most likely outcome here is that Smith takes the win.
Nicholas Meregali v Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu
This match between Nicholas Meregali and Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu is an interesting one, because Meregali certainly has the advantage in age and recent form but Cyborg has so much more experience in no gi competition. The match between the two was actually announced as Meregali’s return to no gi competition after deciding to spend the first half of 2023 dominating in the gi instead. Cyborg will undoubtedly put on a great fight and this will probably look like Meregali’s hardest match of the year so far, but in the end he’s probably still going to win this one.
Roman Bravo-Young v Alex Perez
Roman Bravo-Young is one of the most impressive wrestlers of his generation, a two-time NCAA Division I champion and a five-time All-American. He’s actually making his BJJ debut at this event, taking on UFC flyweight contender Alex Perez. If this were virtually any other grappling ruleset then Bravo-Young would be the obvious choice, but chances are that Perez actually has significantly more experience with submissions than him. The only surefire path to victory Bravo-Young would have is if the match was contested under an IBJJF or ADCC points-based ruleset, where he could score takedowns and maintain top control. With EBI overtime in place, chances are that Perez is able to beat him there even if he isn’t able to submit him in regulation time.
Helena Crevar v Emily Fernandez
This is the only women’s BJJ match in this preview for UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4, and it’s also the biggest battle between youth and experience on the card. Helena Crevar is unstoppable at her own age and weight, and has even found a lot of success competing against in adult and absolute divisions. While Emily Fernandez definitely has more experience at this level, she’s only been a black belt for about a year by the time they step on the mats. Crevar has been beaten by top competitors in the past and there’s plenty of women out there who would be firm favorites against her, but Fernandez looks pretty evenly-matched with her. This one should be close, but we have to give the edge to Crevar based purely on her recent wave of success at ADCC Opens.
The full UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 event, including all of the matches in this preview, will be available to watch live on June 29th, 2023 on UFC Fight Pass.