Orlando Sanchez looks to defend his title.
ADCC kicks off in a few days and the grappling community is abuzz for this major bi-annual event. Each division houses a wealth of talent throughout the bracket. The same is for the heavyweight group, and Orlando Sanchez is back, looking to defend his 2015 title. In his way are some of the best names in the sport, hoping to snatch that title out of his hands.
Representing the United States, Sanchez is a name that many may not recognize as he’s still breaking through to mainstream status when it comes to fans of competitive grappling. Winning the 2015 ADCC title was the biggest moment of his competitive career to date, that also includes some time in mixed martial arts. The Gracie Barra competitor has wins over the likes of Leandro Lo and defeated Dean Lister and Vinny Magalhaes in his run to the 2015 title.
However, there’s a name in his division of a man that many consider one of the top three athletes in grappling today: Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida. In 2013, “Buchecha” earned a gold medal in the same division while taking silver in the absolute division. He holds the distinction of being one of two men to have 10 IBJJF world titles to his name and he’s defeated a murderers’ row of competitors including the likes of Leandro Lo, Rafael Lovato, Keenan Cornelius, Roberto Abreu and others. He’s one of the names that people are expecting to come out on top in this packed division.
Abreu is also in the bracket and will not go away easily. Abreu earned the 2013 absolute division gold medal and bronze in the 99+ kilogram group that same year. He also has a bronze in 2011 and silver in 2009 on his resume. “Cyborg” has remained active throughout the year, even though he’s stumbled on some recent hurdles at Worlds earlier this season.
Vinny Magalhaes is a name that MMA fans may recognize for his time in the UFC. He’s a former ADCC champion, winning the heavyweight group back in 2011. He also has three bronze medals to his name, two in 2009 and one in 2015. He bounces back and forth between the grappling and MMA space, remaining very active in both areas.
The rest of the field features some other names that are successful across the grappling space. American Tom DeBlass is a very popular name in the sport after spending time in both the UFC and Bellator. Tim Spriggs is another veteran of the sport whose resume boasts wins over the likes of Yuri Simoes, Joao Rocha and Keenan Cornelius.
ADCC 2017 begins Saturday, September 23 to Sunday, September 24. Viewing is available on FloGrappling.com .