Gordon Ryan and Murilo Santana win super fights at KASAI Pro.
The weekend was filled with a wealth of competitive grappling action. KASAI Pro put on what some may consider the biggest event of the weekend as it featured an eight-man lightweight tournament and some intriguing super fights. At the end of the day, it was clear that this promotion is serious about its entry into the grappling industry.
The main event super fight was a rematch between Yuri Simoes and Gordon Ryan. Ryan and Simoes first competed against each other back in 2016, where Ryan was victorious under EBI rules. Since then, they’ve found success on separate paths as both men left ADCC with gold medals in their respective weight classes. The action in this super fight did not disappoint as Ryan was once again victorious with only six minutes remaining in the ten-minute bout.
Ryan spent most of the match on top, patiently looking for openings in Simoes solid game. With approximately nine minutes left, he found his way to Simoes’ back, but that did not stop the Ricardo Vieira black belt from fighting. The situation became direr when Ryan found a way to trap one of Simoes’ arms. The submission came shortly after that moment, giving Ryan a huge victory to close out his spectacular 2017.
Gordon Ryan: unstoppable.
Craig Jones and Murilo Santana, two other ADCC veterans, also met in a super fight rematch. This time, it was Santana coming out on top; but this was due to an error on Jones’ behalf.
Jones swept Santana twice to get his points, while Santana had a sweep of his own to get on the board. With only thirty seconds left in the match Jones had a 4-2 advantage. However, he was called on a stalling penalty that gave Santana two points. Earlier in the match Jones was penalized for talking to the ref, so the final score was 4-4 with 0-2 in penalties, giving Santana the victory. This is a budding rivalry that deserves another match in the near future.
The lightweight tournament featured some action-packed bouts across the entire draw. In the end, it would be Renato Canuto to come out on top as the first KASAI Pro lightweight champion.
Canuto pushed the pace in all of his matches and allowed him to earn victories over both Garry Tonon (4-0) and Mansher Khera (10-0). He earned a draw against AJ Agazarm, but the two victories were enough to push him through to the final.
Renato Canuto’s passing is mental! WOW! @kasaigrappling
He defeated Celso Vinicius in the finals via a split referee’s decision after the bout went to overtime. Canuto wasn’t the only individual celebrating as his wife, Raquel Canuto, was also successful in her bout against Caitlin Huggins.
With a twist on the tournament format and rules, KASAI Pro offers a clear alternative in the growing grappling space. After Saturday’s event it will be interesting to see what the promotion puts together for the future. All matches are available for replay via FloGrappling.com.