Saturday, 17 January 2015

Polaris Professional Jiu-Jitsu Invitational Review - Part 1

Last Saturday, like most of you, I watched Polaris live via a stream from their official website. I thought I would give you guys my thoughts on the event as a whole and say what I liked and what I didn't like along with any improvements I would make.

Obviously, as you can tell from the title of this post, this is going to be a two part review. In this part I'm only going to be talking about the matches, and at the end I'll give my suggestions on matches I'd like to see in their second event. In the second part, I'll talk about the stream, the production, what I thought could have been done better etc.

I was initially planning to watch the event live, but we had a Keenan Cornelius seminar held at our academy and that was an opportunity I couldn't pass up! If they keep it in Wales, or keep it near enough to Wales, I'll hopefully go and see the next one. 

First off, before I go and talk about the matches themselves, I first want to say that I did have a good time watching Polaris. Did I like everything about it? No, but I would happily pay to watch the second event.

Right, let’s get into the matches. 

Max Campos vs. Darragh O'Conaill - I'm glad Polaris took the chance to showcase British BJJ in their event. I thought that was a very smart move on their part. I didn't think the match was really that bad at all. It was slow at times, but I guess that's what you get with submission only format matches sometimes. 

I thought it was a decent enough match to kick off the show, and it had its moments of excitement throughout. Hopefully, they'll continue to put British Jiu-Jitsu fighters on future shows.

Michelle Nicolini vs. Angelica Galvao - Man, I loved this match! I would say the second best of the night in my opinion. It was the same when Michelle Nicolini fought Mackenzie Dern at Metamoris 2. It was also the second best match of the night.

It's funny to think, but you don't see that many women superfights these days. I'll talk a little more about that in my next event suggestions at the end of this post. 

Anyway, I thought Angelica did an awesome job against Nicolini, seeing this is her debut as a black belt and she was against a seven time black belt world champion. I honestly thought Angelica was perhaps out of her depth prior to this match, but boy, she proved me wrong! At one point she was close to passing Michelle's guard. 

However, in the end I think you saw Michelle's experience come through and she managed to submit her around 9 minutes in with a toehold. But saying that, Angelica has nothing to be disappointed about. She did a great job! I'm pretty sure she'll be a major force in the female black belt division. 

Kit Dale vs. Victor Silverio - Individually, I'm a big fan of both of these guys and I love to watch both of them compete. On paper, it should have been a great match, but for some reason the match was quite slow and even a little boring some times. I'm just being honest here.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the worst match I've ever seen by a long shot, but it wasn't great. I think stylistically they just didn't match up very well, even though on paper I thought they would. Sometimes that's just the way it is in Jiu-Jitsu. 

Although, I must say Victor had a few nice passing attempts throughout the match, and he could have a phenomenal match with the right person. I'll talk about that at the end. 

AJ Agazarm vs. Oliver Geddes - The thing I like about AJ is he always puts on a show for the fans. I think he's fought Oliver now about four times previously, and he’s one every match. Despite that Oliver still took the match, and I think that deserves massive respect. 

The match was perhaps a little bit one sided and even included some showboating from AJ, but it was all in good fun. He really did show how good of a wrestler he was. Flawlessly executing takedowns one after another. 

Eventually, AJ submitted Oli with a bicep crush at around 11 minutes into the match. Oli, didn't really have a chance to get going in the match, but I hope they feature him on the next card, as I think he has a lot to show.

Mike Fowler vs. Eduardo Telles - Again stylistically, this match just did not click. It might be because Telles has somewhat of a weird style of Jiu-Jitsu, and he doesn't really submit a lot of his fights. Then again you hardly ever see him get submitted either. 

I'm actually a fan of Mike Fowler. I really like his half guard game, and he's very effective from that position. But Telles was able to shut his game down pretty well. Saying that though, it was a slow match, and I couldn't really wait for it to be over. 

Just like the Kit and Victor’s match, they just didn't really suit each other. I just don't think Telles' style works very well in a submission only type match. On the other hand, I think Mike's could work great if he was matched with the correct opponent. 

Pablo Popovitch vs. Eduardo Rios - This match was kind of vanilla, meaning it was just okay, but nothing spectacular. The first initial match of Popovitch vs. Lister I thought could have been fantastic. I was disappointed it didn't happen, but there's always next time. 

Getting back on track, it was a little back and forth at some points, but nothing spectacular. It just never really got going. Saying that, I don't think it ever would even if they had doubled the time. Nearly every time I see Popovitch, he wins by points. I'm not saying he can't finish, but I just don't think he's well suited to that environment.

Garry Tonon vs. Marcin Held - After experiencing two not so exciting matches, here comes Garry Tonon to save the day. Man, I'm pretty sure it's impossible for Garry to have a boring/bad match! When he's on the card, you know you're in for a good match.

I thought it was an interesting matchup that Polaris put together. Marcin is an excellent MMA fighter who I know has a great Jiu-Jitsu background, so I knew this would be a good one. 

The match was quite short (3:30) but was filled with action. Both guys went at it, being really aggressive, exchanging leg lock attempts with each other. Eventually, Garry got the heelhook, which he is particularly good at. Nothing really to complain here, other than I hoped it would have gone on perhaps a little longer, but a good, exciting match all around. 

Keenan Cornelius vs. Dean Lister - This match 100% lived up to the hype. A great main event in my opinion! Keenan definitely proved that he is one of the best in the world and he is dangerous against anyone, regardless of their past accomplishments. He is undoubtedly a phenomenal grappler.   

I mean, Dean Lister is no joke! He is extremely dangerous, especially with leg locks. He's only been submitted once in the last ten plus years. But Keenan just imposed his game so well against him, and it really showed his ability. 

For the first few minutes, it was kind of not really going anywhere, with both guys initiating scrambles and going for a few weak submission attempts. However, once Keenan got onto the kimura trap set up, it was pretty much game over. Keenan really uses that kimura trap excellently. He really neutralised Lister's strength using that position.    

Using the kimura he manages to get Lister in a reverse triangle from the back, and submit him at just over 9 minutes into the match. A brilliant finish! Keenan is only the second person to submit Dean (the first being Josh Barnett) in over ten years. I thought that was a perfect way to end the show.

Polaris 2 Recommendations  

Female Match

First off let’s talk about a female match. I think somebody who would be great in a submission only match would be Tammi Musumeci. She's a relatively new black belt and very exciting to watch. Her match in particular at this year Mundials against Michelle Nicolini was absolutely tremendous. Michelle got her in a viscous armbar, broke her arm and she continued fighting. One of the best matches of the entire tournament in my opinion. 

I would really like to see her against someone other than Nicolini, and someone she perhaps hasn't fought yet. The first person who springs to mind would be Kyra Gracie, but I doubt that would ever happen due to her focusing on MMA. 

I think Hillary Williams would be a good match against her. I really like Hillary's style of Jiu-Jitsu and I think it would match quite well with Tammi. Hillary hasn't been competing actively since 2011, so it would be nice to see her back on the mats again.   

Victor Silverio and Mike Fowler

In the matches I reviewed above, I thought both these two fighters could have great if they were matched with the right person. 

I think Victor would be a great match up for someone like JT Torres or Victor Estima. I think they will complement each other’s styles well and you could have a really fast paced and exciting match up. 

Talking about Mike, I think he could match up really well with AJ Agazarm. I think that would be kind of interesting to see how that one would play out.


When Polaris asked on their Facebook group for any suggestions for future matches, the matches I made were actually the most liked on the entire post, so people obviously liked my suggestions. They were:
  • Keenan Cornelius vs. Roger Gracie
  • Rafael Mendes vs. Marcelo Garcia
  • Gui Mendes vs. Caio Terra
  • Ryan Hall vs. Garry Tonon
I'm not really going to go into detail into those, but I would be interested in your opinion on them, so please feel free to give your opinion. Of course, please feel free to let me know your match suggestions; I'd like to hear them. 

This concludes part 1 of my Polaris Professional Jiu-Jitsu Invitational review. I hope you enjoyed and I will see you tomorrow for part 2.

Catch you later,



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