ADCC 2022 was packed with exciting matches. We also saw major upsets where relatively less-known competitors beat more seasoned and well-established grapplers.
Some of the new entrants to ADCC had already been more known than others due to widespread coverage via FloGrappling. Nicholas Meregali, the Manaus boys (Mica Galvão, Fabricio Andrey, and Diogo Reis), Giancarlo Bodoni, and PJ Barch belong to this category of competitors, for example.
Some grapplers had been less known to the BJJ community as a whole, though they were probably known among their own local community. Folks like Haisam Rida, Kenta Iwamoto (though this ADCC was not his first), and Mateusz Szczecinski belong to this group of competitors.
Some of them did really well, and two athletes particularly caught my attention: Brianna Ste Marie from Canada and Eoghan O’Flanagan from the UK. Perhaps some of you might know about them well, but I’ve been living under a rock… so while I knew of them, I didn’t realize they were that good until I saw their matches at ADCC 2022.
Brianna beat former ADCC bronze medalist Elvira Karppinen and former ADCC champion Bianca Basilio. Brianna’s jiu jitsu is methodical and basic, and I was impressed by how solid her basic techniques were. She wasn’t able to beat Ffion Davies, but I’m sure she will come back again as a better player than before. If you like using positions and techniques like the half guard, the closed guard, and Kimura, you should pay attention to Brianna.
Eoghan O’Flanagan beat a BJJ legend that is Xande Ribeiro and Mason Fowler. Eoghan is known for his leg locks and creative leg lock entries, including the false reap. His match against Xande particularly impressed me partly because I didn’t think he would if he couldn’t make his leg lock game against him. But I was wrong. Eoghan is not just a leg-lock-only guy, but he seems more well-rounded than I had thought. Eoghan almost caught Xande with armbar and eventually scored against Xande, setting up a sweep from leg entanglements. He got counter-leg-locked by the eventual winner of the division Giancarlo Bodoni and later by Vagner Rocha in the third-place match. But I definitely got more curious about Eoghan.
By the way, he has this podcast series with his buddy. He says things like he doesn’t have a coach but uses YouTube videos and BJJ Fanatics instructionals for technical guidance, trains primarily at open mats, and so on. So, there you go. If you use your resources well enough and train smart, you could become just as good as Eoghan and beat someone legitimately good like Xande Ribeiro.
I think the fact that Eoghan achieved his feats without moving to a famous team or something like that is impressive and can inspire many of us. Because you are probably in a good enough training environment or at least have access to such a training environment, you have access to resources that could help you improve your understanding of BJJ and grappling in general.