Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back!
Hello again to all of our returning readers, and a big welcome to all the newcomers. My name is Kevin Bradley. I’m an out-of-shape pale writer with a bald spot and a Master’s Degree, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the latest edition of the Aces BJJ News Roundup!
Here we take some of the biggest bits of news from the world of combat sports for your easy ocular consumption.
We all love it when humans throw other humans like sacks of grain, so compiling as much of that as possible is an essential weekly necessity for our mental health.
And what a trove we have this week! Another Submission Underground event threw some tag-team hijinks right at our faces, a slew of new promotions came out for some competitive BJJ players, and a UFC great put down the gloves for good.
Let’s put in our mouthguards and get this party started!
The Irish Dragon Calls It A Day
Few MMA fighters get to end a career with a winning UFC record. Even fewer get to transition to an adjacent profession with equivalent success. Paul Felder, longtime UFC fighter turned commentator, is one of the few to accomplish both. The Irish Dragon was on a two-fight skid when, during UFC Vegas 27, he announced his retirement to the world.
The 37-year-old was still ranked among the best lightweights in the promotion when he made the call. “I really waited until I knew,” said Felder at the night’s post-fight press conference. Despite the recent losses, many thought the fighter would make a final run for the belt. It was that exact idea, of lasting longer than folks think you can, that Felder cited as key in making his decision.
“I don’t think I’m going to get to the belt. I think this is the first time where I finally really think after those two losses in a row, watching guys like ‘Jacare’ [Souza] break their arm, watching guys like ‘Cowboy’ [Cerrone] fight five more fights than I think they should. I’m not going to be that guy. I’ve said from the very beginning of this sport, I won’t be that guy that fights past his expiration date, and I think it’s here. I think it’s a touch early, but I’d rather it be a touch early than a touch late,” he said. Continuing, he stated that he’ll happily take the honor of being the last man to KO current champ Charles Olivera and “get the hell out of there.”
“I’ll just hold on to that knockout of Charles Oliveira and get the hell out of here. You’re never getting that one back, buddy. I knocked your ass out, but now you’re champion, and you look great doing it,” he said.
Felder will now be making a complete transition to commentary, where he has shown to excel for the last few years. His record stands at 17-6, with nine wins inside the UFC and some of the best moments of the promotion’s lightweight division.
Congrats on life, Mr. Felder. Thank you for all the memories!
SUG 23 Was Bonkers
A gem in the crown of professional submission grappling, SUG returned for their twenty-third show inside the octagon on Sunday, May 23. Headlined by franchise star player and Absolute champion Mason Fowler defending against 10th Planet export Kyle Chambers, the event featured the ever polarizing tag team championships and the main card stacked to the gills.
Carlos Condit came out victorious against fellow UFC vet and former Marine Jake Ellenberger and Freakshow Ringmaster Ringmaster Richie “Boogeyman” Martinez, submitting the always game Don Stoner in regulation. It is another excellent showing from one of the most well-assembled outfits in the game, and I can’t recommend checking it out enough.
Fowler was aggressive on the feet to start, with heavy collar ties pushing against the cage in the first 30 seconds. Chambers went down for a beautiful Imanari Roll, but Fowler quickly stepped away. Chambers sat to guard, and Fowler immediately began hunting for the pass. He nearly shot to side control, but Chambers inverted and shrimped into a technical standup to get back on his feet. A very fluid exchange from beginning to end from both parties.
Fowler returned to the heavy collar tie against the cage but this time transitioned into a double leg takedown to slam Chambers onto the canvas. From here, the champ passed half guard into a punishing side control position for Chambers. Fowler bore down like a lead weight, breaking down Chamber’s frames and stifling escapes. Moving to north-south, Fowler lifted Chambers forward to take his back to work the RNC. Though he didn’t secure his arm across the neck, Chambers soon gave up the tap to the crank awarding Fowler the W.
Another defense for the SUG Superstar in the books!
New Upper Belts In The House
And we have a few big promotions to round out the day!
First, Atos BJJ’s heavyweight brown belt world-beater and possible cousin of mine Adam Bradley received his bump to black belt this past Monday by Andre Galvao himself. The handsome Atos HQ instructor immediately set his sights on the new division he was a part of and took to Instagram to let out a few heartfelt remarks.
“I’ve met so many great people here, so many kind, driven, like-minded individuals that I couldn’t be here without. I’ve been so fortunate to meet all the right people. It’s easy to say that moving to San Diego has been the best decision of my life, regardless of what my future holds. The world is mine for the taking. The fun is just beginning now,”
Jumping over to MMA, the UFC’s “Sugar” Sean O’Malley was promoted to brown belt the same day as Adam’s move to black. The bantamweight KO artist was initiated by his head coach Tim Welch and BJJ legend Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes. The 13-1 fighter dove deep into the BJJ pool, putting on performances at shows like Grappling Industries and F2W at purple belt. Hopefully, the promotion will herald more submission wins from the O’Malley highlight machine.
Finally, we’re back to pure grappling in the big apple. Unity BJJ star Margot Ciccarelli received her black belt this past week, not even two years into her brown belt journey. Coach Murillo Santana awarded her the belt following a stellar performance at no-gi worlds, no-gi pans, and the Euros. The young phenom has been lighting a path of destruction in her wake, and now she has the green light to go after the best of the best.
A hearty congratulations to all the athletes promoted this week!
And to all you readers out there, it’s time to say goodbye. Tune in next week to see me get promoted to coral belt!
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