Exclusive: João Gabriel Rocha to face Gordon Ryan in Feb. — learn more

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Gordon Ryan and João Gabriel will fight in the Kasai Super Series, in Dallas.

Another superfight between giants of BJJ has been scheduled for 2019, as part of an event series that will be making its debut. On Feb. 2 in Dallas, Texas, Kasai Pro, which is organized by black-belt Rolles Gracie, will be holding the Kasai Super Series, whose card will feature a superfight between João Gabriel Rocha and Gordon Ryan.

The no-gi match marks the encounter of two absolute ADCC runner-ups (João in 2015 and Ryan in 2017), and it will be under Kasai rules, with ankle locks allowed. We spoke to João Gabriel of Soul Fighters, and he gave us more details.

“Since the fight already has a date, the plan is to stay in Rio training until the end of January,” he told Marcelo Dunlop of Graciemag. “The event has plans to be held at the American Airlines Arena, in Dallas, the city I live in here in the U.S.

“What Gordon has as a weapon and that brings me the most tension, no doubt, is the heel hook. He attacks well in this position, and we traditional BJJ competitors aren’t used to using it, since it’s not allowed under IBJJF rules. In the rules I’m gonna be fighting Gordon under, you may cross inwards, spin in the opposite direction of the foot — rules similar to the ADCC. But otherwise, even if he’s good in other aspects, like finishes with the guillotine and others, I’m already used to all that, prepared for such situations.

“I will be splitting my training between Tatu BJJ, to sharpen my ground game, and Nova União in Flamengo to adjust my wrestling with my brother and the Brazilian wrestling national team, which trains over there. Lots of physical preparation as well, because the fight is set to take 15 minutes and I have to have my stamina up to par. I will be bringing other professionals along to help me, but my camp will be in those two gyms, and maybe another one during the process.”

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