Eight-man tournament features Craig Jones, D.J. Jackson and more.
As with any event in combat sports, the addition of big names makes the showcase much more exciting for mainstream and hardcore fans alike. In an effort to “one-up” themselves, KASAI Pro has scheduled a massive second event that brings out many of the best competitors in the sport, while giving fans bouts they’ve longed to see.
Set for April 14 from the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York; KASAI Pro 2 doesn’t miss a beat following the promotions first event back in December of 2017. There’s so much to talk about with this card that it’s difficult to pick a place to start.
The main event pits the surprise champion from last year’s event, Renato Canuto, against multiple-time champion, Eddie Cummings.
Canuto wasn’t expected to come out of KASAI Pro 1 as the champion, but he shocked a myriad of people when he defeated Garry Tonon, Celso Vinicius and Mansher Khera in the same day. Along with that ,he and AJ Agazarm battled to a draw. Canuto is a well-known name in the sport as he’s won multiple IBJJF events including gold at the 2017 No-Gi Worlds.
Canuto has a tough fight ahead of him in the uber-experienced Cummings. Cummings has a wide range of victories across multiple organizations such as Polaris, the Eddie Bravo Invitational and Grapplers’ Quest. His resume includes wins over the likes of Baret Yoshida, Nathan Orchard, Joe Soto, and more. Cummings is one of the first members of the Danaher Death Squad to break through to champions’ status. He’s dealt with injuries and other setbacks so it will be compelling to see how well he competes back on the big stage.
The second super-fight of the evening is one that many have clamored for and a while back didn’t seem like it would occur. Three-time EBI Champion, Geo Martinez, is prepared to face off against one of the young, surging stars in grappling; Nicky Ryan.
Ryan, the younger brother of ADCC Champion Gordon Ryan, has been calling out for the opportunity to face Martinez for the better part of a year. The teenage athlete has competed for some of the biggest promotions in the sport, including ADCC and Fight to Win Pro – but the big fight against Martinez seemed to be just beyond reach. That was until KASAI Pro came along to make this matchup.
Martinez comes into this bout with a wealth of experience in his pocket including wins over Rafael Domingos, Jeff Glover, and Eddie Cummings. This is a match that will keep everyone talking as the hype builds closer to match time.
AJ Agazarm continues to show face at the biggest grappling events in the sport and he’s paired off against Marcos Galvao for the third super-fight of the day.
The 2017 ADCC Silver Medalist is one of the more popular competitors in the sport for his brash personality and his ability to get exciting matches out of nearly any opponent. He’s coming off of a strong performance at IBJJF Pans and an exciting match against Ben Henderson at Polaris 6. But in Galvao he’s facing a former champion who may not be known across the grappling circuit, but he has the abilities to threaten nearly any opponent on the mat.
As if that’s not enough, KASAI Pro 2 features an eight-man tournament to crown the organization’s first middleweight champion. This group features some of the top name and it’s tough to pick a favorite from a group that features: Craig Jones, DJ Jackson, Richie Martinez, Matheus Diniz, Dante Leon, Nick Calvanese, Michael Perez and Felipe Mota.
When looking at this list it’s understandable why Jones may stand out as the favorite. He’s coming off of a strong run at ADCC where he submitted both Leandro Lo and Murilo Santana but it was his win against Jake Shields at Polaris 6 that shocked people even more.
But no one should overlook Team Lloyd Irvin standout, D.J. Jackson. Jackson is a multiple-time champion for IBJJF and other organizations throughout the sport. His resume includes wins over Garry Tonon, Vagner Rocha, Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, Caio Terra, and others. With a list like that it’s dangerous to under estimate Jackson, especially when looking at the rule set employed by the KASAI Pro event.
Richie Martinez and Matheus Diniz are two other names of competitors that can walk out with the title around their waist.
As if this wasn’t enough, KASAI Pro 2 also includes an eight-fight undercard featuring a wealth of talent from the North East. This event will be available for both live and replay streaming via FloGrappling.com.