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The grappling world is set to be rocked by the Kasai Pro 4 grappling tournament taking place today at 6 pm in New York City. The star-studded eight-man roster will compete in round-robin brackets of four in six-minute rounds. Several superfight matches have been scheduled alongside the main tournament.
EBI champion Jon Calestine was forced to withdraw from the tournament after sustaining a back injury and will be replaced by Renzo Gracie athlete Frank Rosenthal. Rosenthal competed against Ashley Williams at Kasai Pro 3, and though he didn’t get the victory then, a win at Rise Invitational suggests that things may go better for him this time around.
Geo Martinez, a 10th Planet competitive staple, returns to competition following an impressive showing against Gregor Gracie at Quintet 3 as a part of Team 10th Planet. This marks his first appearance fighting on the KASAI stage; he was slated to compete against AJ Agazarm at Kasai Pro 3, but had to withdraw due to injury.
Featherweight phenom and Atos Academy competitor Bruno Frazatto joins Martinez as a first-time KASAI competitor. The former Brazilian National and Pan American champion enters the tournament coming from a loss to Ali Magomedov at ACBJJ 14.
Alliance black belt Gianni Grippo hopes to score a win at Kasai 4 after a loss to Calestine at Kasai Pro 3. Currently, Grippo has 51 wins and 7 losses for 2018 alone, having won every match he’s competed in since Kasai Pro 3.
Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes needs no introduction to the tournament scene. The former IBJJF World Gi and No-Gi champion makes his KASAI debut following a loss to Vagner Rocha at F2W Pro 89.
Former South American champion Kim Terra continues to represent CTBJJA on the competition stage. A late addition to the tournament, Terra was announced to replace injured competitor Ashley Williams on November 5.
Renowned light featherweight competitor Paulo Miyao joins the competition as another newcomer to the KASAI promotion. Miyao enters the competition after back to back successes at both the Miami Fall Open and the Spyder Invitational Final.
Rounding out the roster is Tristar Gym/Renzo Gracie competitor Ethan Crelinsten. A Canadian black belt, Crelinsten made waves last year by winning the ADCC West Coast Trials last year via a brutal kimura against Dimitri Salem. He most recently won this year’s ADCC East Coat Trials as well.
Multiple superfights will also take place. The first will see 10th Planet’s Jeremiah Vance take on Matheus Lutes of Marcelo Garcia. Vance, a black belt under Eddie Bravo, recently won Fight 2 Win’s Submission of the Year award. Lutes, a world champion, was originally slated to face 10th Planet’s PJ Barch before Barch had to withdraw due to injury.
The second superfight will feature Gordon Ryan vs. Matheus Diniz. Ryan’s only loss in 2018 was to Vinny Magalhaes via points at ACBJJ 13, and after winning double gold at No-Gi Pan Ams, it’ll be interesting to see if he can defeat Diniz. For his part, Diniz won the middleweight championship of Kasai Pro 2 without giving up a single point. His match with Ryan will likely provide the fireworks that fans are hoping for.
Finally, Vagner Rocha and Renato Canuto will face off in the last superfight of the evening in a rematch for the ages. Rocha and Canuto went head to head in the finals of Kasai Pro 3, and Canuto won via a single penalty after the two tied up the scoreboard 1-1. Both competitors are guaranteed to be looking for a more decisive finish this time around.
The event can be viewed on Flograppling.com for site members. The undercard fights begin at 6pm.