Gianni Grippo took home the grand prize at the second Emerald City Invitational but it was the heelhook he pulled off against Ellis Karadag in the opening round was the most memorable moment of the whole event. Karadag is a highly competitive brown belt and didn’t look out of his depth against one of the best lighter weight athletes on the planet to begin with, but he didn’t last long at all. He found himself in butterfly ashi garami with Grippo taking top position and for the briefest of moments it seemed as though Karadag forgot about the positioning of his right foot.
It was then that Gianni Grippo recognised the potential to attack the heelhook from that position and he pounced on that opportunity with one of the most ferocious finishes that the sport has ever seen. From the moment that he reached behind him to secure the grip and expose the heel, it was less than a second from then until he had Karadag frantically tapping out. This isn’t entirely new ground for Grippo as this was the second heelhook finish he’s ever managed but it’s certainly not the kind of game that he plays very often, so that could’ve helped lull Karadag into a false sense of security in that position.
This was undoubtedly the highlight of the entire tournament and has quickly garnered some controversy from some fans who believe that the speed at which the submission was applied was unwarranted. Realistically, the position from which Grippo attacked meant that he had very little control over the upper portion of his Karadag’s leg and had he attempted to sit back and apply the submission gradually, it’s likely that Karadag could’ve escaped, or he certainly would’ve had a much better chance to do so.
The full Emerald City Invitational 2 event replay will be available to watch on FloGrappling, click here to subscribe and watch.