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Polaris 8: Keenan Cornelius vs. Craig Jones casual fan preview

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This weekend, the 8th edition of the Polaris Professional Jiu Jitsu Invitational goes down in Cardiff, Wales. It features a who’s who from a former UFC champion, to young prospects eager to secure their breakout performance.

With submission grappling growing in popularity year on year, more MMA fans are beginning to set their gaze towards the sport and with Polaris being live on UFC Fight Pass, this show is a perfect introduction for new viewers. With new viewers in mind, check out our casual fan preview of what to look out for at Polaris 8.

Teen Prodigy

There is something amazing about watching a star being born. Nicky Ryan, a product of the Danaher Death Squad and younger brother of ADCC champion Gordon Ryan, has been having success at a high level since the age of 14. It is now at 17, that the younger Ryan is starting to come into his own as a grappler and after submitting former UFC fighter Phil Harris at Polaris 7, he is scheduled to face off against MMA legend Masakazu Imanari.

MMA fans will know Imanari as the leg lock specialist, but Ryan’s development in the game has been tied to learning John Danaher’s systematic heel hook game and it will likely lead Ryan to fighting fire with fire. Ryan’s team mate, Garry Tonon has previously defeated Imanari and the junior member of the squad will look to follow in his footsteps.

The Judoka and the Strongman.

Daniel Strauss is not the typical grappler. A blackbelt under Roger Gracie, Strauss is as likely to be known for his denim-clad strongman feats than he is his on-mat exploits. Strauss has made a name for himself as one of the most likeable and tough athletes on the pro jiu-jitsu circuit and will be looking to build upon solid performances at Qunitet when he faces off with Olympic Gold medallist Satoshi Ishii.

To MMA fans Ishii will likely be known as Cro Cop’s two-time foe and current training partner, but Ishii’s background far eclipses the MMA bubble. Ishii is one of Japan’s most acclaimed Judokas whose storied career culminated with an impressive performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he took home gold.

Aussies on Tour

Professional jiu jitsu is truly an international sport and two names synonymous with putting Australia on the map are Lachlan Giles and Craig Jones. With two title fights on tap, the boys from down under will be looking to do their nation proud. Giles is set for a showdown with Marcelo Garcia black belt Manser Khera in a welterweight showdown that is bound to provide fire works, as Giles will be looking to make up for the cancellation of the ADCC Asia trials which he had been scheduled to compete on. Khera will be looking to win gold for Unity.

The main event sees Keenan Cornelius, the most versatile grappler in the world, facing off against Craig Jones in a rematch to decide Polaris’ 205lb champion. When the pair last met Cornelius won in a dominant fashion and Jones will be looking to gain his revenge. Jones is one of the sport’s premier leg lockers with a game that focuses highly on the kneeshield guard and inversions. Cornelius can do it all, but in his no-gi exploits his game tends to focus more on explosive wrestling and menacing top pressure.

Cornelius will likely be the favourite for the main event, but Jones has made a career out of upsets and will be looking to add another Polaris title to his resume.

Polaris 8 airs live on UFC Fight Pass on Sunday from Cardiff, Wales and limited tickets still remain available.


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