Folks, I know I usually have a big how-to-do for an intro for the Aces BJJ News Roundup to really set the scene. But after this crazy week, I need a cigarette and a nap. We got to see the dramatic crowning of a new UFC champion after one of the most spine-tingling matches of recent memory.
Charles Oliveira is poised to establish a new dynasty in the lightweight division, and his gigawatt smile is currently powering every children’s hospital in Brazil. If that wasn’t enough, we had the IBJJF Pans to give us some pure grappling goodness (even if Aces Chief Editor Kevin Gallagher got screwed by some a ref). Some of the best grapplers alive competed for jiu-jitsu supremacy, and the matches certainly entertained. And the MMA world cemented its mainstream legitimacy further, with Conor McGregor being named the highest-earning athlete of the year (by selling a whiskey company, but still!)
My heart rate is a rollercoaster, but I’ve got just enough gas in the take to cross this finish line.
Let’s do it!
Charles Oliveira Wins UFC Title
Charlie Olives, hero of the favela, has captured gold and won all of our hearts. Aiming for the vacant lightweight belt, Oliveira faced a newly imported Michael Chandler in a title fight for the ages. The main event of UFC 262 had thrills aplenty despite its sub-six-minute runtime.
Fresh off of his first UFC win against Dan Hooker at UFC 257, Chandler was, in the opinion of some, fast-tracked into a title shot by management. The former Bellator Champion was incredibly marketable, with a dynamic backstory and English as his primary language. Unfortunately for the establishment, Do Bronx didn’t care.
Round one was an absolute firecracker, containing the full range of MMA as a sport. Oliveira followed up a striking exchange with a takedown, but Chandler countered with a deep guillotine attempt. Arm in, Oliveira was eventually able to fight out despite the squeeze and throw down in a scrabble. Chandler gave up his back, and Oliveira established tight back control with two hooks before locking in a body triangle. Remarkably, Chandler defended submissions and strikes for the entire ride time, exploding out and turning around into guard. Oliveira threw up multiple submission attempts against the former wrestler, but Chandler disengaged appropriately and continued to throw strikes. Returning to the feet, Chandler was able to drop Oliveira before the round ended, nearly finishing the fight.
In the intermission, many felt the winds blowing firmly in Chandler’s favor. He ended the round very strong and looked to be the fresher fighter by a slim margin. The crowd waited on the edge of their seats for the second round to kick off.
But lo, Chandler’s narrow lead would be emphatically demolished. Six seconds into the round, Oliveira fired off a picture-perfect left hook that literally rebooted Chandler. Stumbling to the floor, Chandler moved to escape the barrage from Oliveira. But the Brazilian was a tidal wave, descending onto Chandler like a force of nature. Blow after blow landed, and not even 20 seconds into the round, the ref called the match.
Still a maelstrom of energy, the ecstatic Oliveira leaped out of the cage and ran laps around the arena. His huge grin blinded the audience as he went hugging and laughing with various friends and acquaintances throughout the crowd. So great was his joy that even the most die-hard Chandler fans couldn’t help but crack a smile. It was a wonderful moment and a strong indicator of the type of Champion Oliveira will be.
This win brings Oliveira to a 31-8-0 record and Chandler to a 22-6-0.
The now heel hook enabled IBJJF Pan Championships took place this weekend, and while it was great to get back to normal, the growing pains were on full display. 10th Planet competitor and swell guy PJ Barch was plagued by ruleset confusion that hampered his medal run, dropping a point loss to Josh Bacallao before we could see him shine. DDS member Oliver Tazza got penalized by a ref for pulling a hand-over-mouth move sub-only style and was heavily penalized, which cost him the tournament early. It was a bit slip-shot, but with the year we’ve all had, a few mistakes aren’t too shocking.
But man, if we didn’t have some incredible matches. Anyone in for a treat needs to go check out Gracie Barra North America’s Head Honcho Flavio Almeida taking on Super Apostle Jake Watson to catch some amazing technique.
Elizabeth Clay dominated the Women’s absolute and secured by her final submission victory against GB Superstar Kendall Reusing. Clay’s renowned guard game was clutch, locking down and threatening the guillotine early on. As Reusing postured up near the seven-minute mark, Clay locked in a sweep with an arm crusher to get the win in mount.
It was a wall-to-wall showcase of BJJ that could barely fit in the building and an absolute joy to watch. Congrats to all the competitors for their incredible performances!
Conor is a Rich Man
It’s red panty night, baby.
According to Forbes.com, Conor McGregor is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Topping a list he’s been featured on in past years, McGregor finds himself above names such as Christiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Tom Brady, and LeBron James.
Though he doesn’t have the UFC to thank exclusively for his wealth, the Irishman sold his stake in the Propper 12 whiskey company for a reported $150 million, and another eight million came by way of endorsements and brand deals. McGreggor cleared 22 million in his losing effort against Dustin Poirier in January. In a year of pain and doubt for the combat sports world, McGregor came to be not only the top earner but the only MMA star to make the top ten list.
So there you have it, a cavalcade of excellent matches across multiple sports topped off by a bearded whiskey salesman getting paid big bucks. All in a day’s work for us here at the Aces office! Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch you at the next one.
Aces BJJ Blog staff writer and BJJ Blue belt under Edward “Scissor Hands” Berberich of Soulcraft BJJ. Kevin has been training BJJ for four years and complaining about Star Wars for over 20. Follow him on Instagram @kbrads_bjj