On Saturday, February 2, 2019, The Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas will host the first KASAI Super series event. This will be the first event KASAI have hosted a show outside of New York, and will feature a number of super fights in place of their regular tournaments.
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Gordon Ryan versus Joao Gabriel Rocha
Headlining this event will be ADCC Champion and IBJJF No Gi Double Gold World Champion Gordon Ryan versus 2015 ADCC Silver Medalist and IBJJF Gi World Championships Silver Medalist, Joao Gabriel Rocha. In addition to this awesome clash of super heavyweights (up to 221 pounds), the other feature matches include:
- Gordon Ryan vs. Joao Gabriel Rocha
- Marcio Andre vs. Renato Canuto
- Dante Leon (replacing injured Vagner Rocha) vs. Matheus Lutes
- Tom DeBlass vs. Bruno Bastos
- Aaron “Tex” Johnson vs. Ricardo “Demente” Abreu
- Raquel Canuto vs. Chelsah Lyons
Gordon Ryan was born on July 8th, 1995 in Monroe, NJ. At the age of 15, he began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Tom deBlass. A few months after he began, Gordon met Gary Tonon, who was a newly promoted brown belt and already regarded as a top grappler. The two became good friends, and when Garry began coaching at the Brunswick BJJ academy, Gordon joined his classes.
Both Gordon and Gary would start travelling to New York City (Manhattan) regularly to train under one of Garry’s mentors- John Danaher. Under Danaher’s tutelage, both would experience great success and become dominant champions. As a brown belt, Gordon won the IBJJF No Gi World Championships in 2015. He was promoted to black belt in February 2016 by Garry Tonon, in a ceremony with Tom DeBlass, John Danaher and Ricardo Almeida presiding.
ADCC World Champion
In September 2017, Gordon solidified his status as one of the best no gi grapplers in the world as he had an amazing run at ADCC World Championships, taking gold in his 88 kilogram weight category, and placing 2nd in the absolute division.
During his awesome ADCC run, in his weight category (88kg), he defeated Dillon Danis by ref’s decision, tapped out Romulo Barral by Rear Naked Choke, defeated Alexandre Ribeiro by ref’s decision, and tapped Keenan Cornelius in the finals by mounted guillotine.
In the absolute weight class, he tapped Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu by inside heel hook, tapped Craig Jones by armlock, and tapped Mahamed Aly by heel hook. In the finals, he would face his lone defeat of the tournament, losing to Felipe Pena, 6-0.
Other Notable Wins
After his success ADCC run, Gordon continued his winning ways, tapping our Ralek Gracie in Metamoris, defeating Craig Jones in EBI 14, and tapping Yuri Simoes by Rear Naked Choke in Kasai Pro. Additionally, Gordon was dominant in the Quintet 3 Tournament, where he lead Team Alpha Male to victory with submission wins over Josh Barnett, Marcos Souza, Craig Jones, and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro.
Most recently, he had an amazing run at the IBJJF World No-Gi Championships, where he won double gold- in his weight class and in the absolute division. In winning the championships, he defeated the likes of Yuri Simoes, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Patrick Gaudio, and Jackson Sousa.
Main Achievements at Black Belt
- IBJJF World No-Gi Champion (2018) – Weight and Absolute
- ADCC Champion (2017) – Weight
- ADCC 2nd Place (2017) – Absolute
- IBJJF Pans No-Gi Champion (2018) – Weight and Absolute
- Quintet 3 Champion (2018)
- EBI 6 OW Champion (2016)
- EBI 8 MW Champion (2016)
- EBI 11 WW Champion (2017)
- EBI 14 OW Champion (2017)
João Gabriel Rocha
João Gabriel Rocha is one of the most accomplished super heavyweight competitors. He was the IBJJF World Championships Runner-up in 2012, 2015, and 2018. Additionally, he was a World Champion as a brown belt, as well as an ADCC Silver Medalist in 2013.
Joao was born on July 11th, 1991 in Jacarepagua, Brazil. When Joao was still a toddler, he was enrolled in a summer camp which included jiu jitsu in its activities, taught by main IBJJF referee Alvaro Mansur. When Joao’s parents saw how much the toddler enjoyed the jiu jitsu exercises, they enrolled him in an academy. Joao earned his juvenile belts under Marcos Carvalho, and from green belt onward, he trained under Leandro Escobar and Rafael Barbosa, of the Soul Fighters team.
As a brown belt, Joao competed in the professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu event, the Copa Podio. Although he was still a brown belt competing against some of the best black belts, he was able to win two of his five matches, and was promoted on the same day- January 13th, 2013.
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In addition to being an excellent competitor, Joao is known to have fought and defeated cancer. He was diagnosed in early 2014 with cancer, and did not train again until November of that year. In a Gracie Mag interview, he states, “…then the worst part by far were the two months of chemo; it was three liters of chemo injected into my veins daily, and I would feel my entire body burn inside. I took on each cycle, each session, like a fight for a gold medal, and the suffering like it was those ten final seconds of the fight, where I needed to withstand everything, give it another try to win. I was sure I would beat the disease. Never did the idea of death shake me; in my mind all there was were upcoming BJJ plans- how and when I would resume training, what championship I was going to compete in next. I kept a very healthy mind, with the help of jiu-jitsu.”
Main Achievements at Black Belt:
- IBJJF Pan American Champion (2018/2017)
- ACB JJ +95 KG Champion (2018)
- CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (2013)
- ADCC Silver Medallist (2013)
- IBJJF World Championship Runner-up (2018/2015/2012)
- IBJJF Pan American Championship Runner-up (2017*)
Kasai Elite Grappling Championships is a “premier competitive professional and amateur Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) promotion, commited to hosting live events featuring the most talented male and female grapplers from around the globe.” This exciting promotion was founded in 2016 by various world famous names in the business and grappling world. Among the executive team are Rolles Gracie, Kasai’s president, who is a fourth degree BJJ blackbelt, and son of legendary Rolls Gracie and Rich Byrne, Kasai’s Chief Executive Officer, who is also the President of Benefit Street Partners and CEO of Business Development Corporation of America and Benefit Street Partners Realty Trust- and a black belt in BJJ as well. Rounding out the executive team are Ken Gelman, Kasai’s Chief Operating Officer, who founded G-Funk Sports and Entertainment- with clients including NFL Digital Media, ESPN, National Hockey League, Warner Home Video, and more, and Kenny Florian, Erik Owings, and John Cholish- experts in the BJJ and grappling community.
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