OTM’s Top Submission Grapplers: December

The OntheMat Editors Poll will help keep track of the very best active Professional No-Gi Submission Grapplers. As there are so many different organizations and events in which grapplers can participate in, it is difficult to decide a true #1. Thus we are announcing the OntheMat Editors Poll to help keep track of the very best Professional No-Gi Submission Grapplers. This list is purely subjective, but highly informed, and will be updated from month to month. The best example we have currently of a world champion would be the ADCC (Abu Dhabai) Submission Grappling Championships thus we will use their weight classes for simplicities sake. AS it currently stand, the champions of the last ADCC are all considered to be the best grapplers in world in their respective categories. The list of World’s Best Grapplers has not changed this month. As a reminder they are: World’s Best Grappler’s 67K: Leo “Leozinho” Viera 76K Marcelo Garcia 87K Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza 99K Roger Gracie 99K and over: Jeff Monson Coming up in 2007 there will be much more scrutiny in the rankings, we will expand the list, and competitors will need to be much more active in submission grappling itself in order to maintain their ranking. The current cutoff is that the athlete must have been involved in some kind submission grappling match since ADCC 2005, which is a substantial period of time. The Best Submission Grapplers in the United States List has some notable changes, and we’ve done enough research to come up with a top five per weight class this month: 67K 1: Jeff Glover 2: Sim Go 3: Ricky Lundell 4: Shane Rice 5: Javi Vazquez Our number one pick for last month, Javi Vazquez, has slid all the way down to number 5, not as a reflection of his skills (I would place him as the heavy favorite against any of the men on the list) rather because he has not participated in a submission grappling match since the ADCC Trials in 2004 (he has defeated both Glover and Lundell this year in the gi). Jeff Glover is among the most active competitors in the world right now and has been among the most dominant, he takes the number one spot right now. He did lose to our number 2 over all, Sim go at the ADCC trails, but overall Glover has been more active and impressive. Ricky Lundell and Shane Rice round out the list, and placing Shane make this more of a North American top rank list (as Shane is Canadian) than a US list. Shane was also recently awarded his black belt from Rickson Gracie, making Sim Go the only brown belt on the list. 76K 1: Mark Bocek 2: Jake Shields 3: Mike Fowler 4: Diego Sanchez 5: Pablo Popovitch With Mark Bocek’s impressive win at the ADCC trials, winning a 16 man bracket without a single point being scored on him, Bocek takes the number on overall spot from Sheilds, who dropped a match against the number one grappler in the world Marcelo Garcia. A match between these two would prove exciting. By virtue of his #2 placing at ADCC, Mike Fowler is ranked next although this was his first submission grappling competition in some time (Fowler has been concentrating on and really tearing up the gi circuit. Diego Sanchez and Pablo Popovitch are four and five respectively, both were extremely active (and successful) on the submission grappling circuit prior to ADCC 2005, but neither has has a submission grappling match since then. Diego gets the number 4 ranking because he has been in some kind of competition (UFC), while Popovitch has been completely out; both will need to actually compete in submission grappling in 2007 to maintain any sort of ranking on this list. 87K 1: Chris Moriarty 2: Rick Macauley 3: Rafael Lovato Jr. 4: Justin Garcia 5: Luke Stewart 87K may actually be the deepest division in North America right now with tons of active competitors, and Chris Moriarty has been extremely active and remains at the top of the heap here. The rest of the division reads like the podium for the ADCC Trials, Macauley takes second, Lovato gets the nod over Garcia by virtue of being more active and an impressive performance at Submission X. Luke Stewart gets the nod at number 5 despite the trials being his only Submission Grappling competition this year, he did medal at the Pan Americans and has had much success in MMA this year. 99K 1: Dean Lister 2: Misha Cirkunov 3: Jamal Patterson 4: Eliot Marshall 5: Ryron Gracie Dean Lister has successfully held on to the title of #1 Grappler in the world, but has only had MMA (UFC) activity since ADCC 2005 and is danger of losing his ranking. The only match in submission grappling he has coming up is a superfight against Roger Gracie which will really will determine the #1 in the world. Misha Cirkunov takes #2 by virtue of his victory at the trials, Jamal has only fought MMA since ADCC, but it’s not too hard to remember he was among the most feared competitors on the circuit prior and gives everyone hell he faces, however if he has any interest in maintaining a top ranking he’s going to have to enter Submission Grappling circuit again soon. (Jamal will be fighting on the Dec 29 IFL card by the way). Eliot Marshall takes #4 (and was runner up at the trials) and with a few more victories could very well move up in rankings soon. Ryron Gracie round out our list (yes, he is American) and is a devastating competitor, we would just like to see even more of him on the circuit and could also move up easily. 99K and over 1: Jeff Monson 2: Mario Rinaldi 3: Roy Nelson 4: Brandon Ruiz 4: Pat Stano Jeff Monson remains #1 here, and although concentrating more on MMA this year (including a failed title shot at UFC champ Tim Sylvia) and an upcoming match against Fedor Emailianko at BodogFights, Monson has also remained very active on the submission grappling circuit and intends to compete at this years Bud Cup in Charlotte. Mario Rinaldi is the winner of the trials this year and takes the #2 spot, looking very impressive despite this being his first big submission grappling show. Roy Nelson has long been one of the most impressive men on the big man circuit, and as runner up to Rinaldi takes 3. Ruiz and Stano tie for fourth place as third place in the trials (I really have no logical way of ranking them between themselves.) The ADCC Trials also gave us a place to begin ranking the top women in the sport, this month we’re only going to give the #1 rankings, next month we’ll round out a top 5: 55K: Felicia Oh 60K Cassandra Rivers-Blaso 67K: Kelly Paul Over 67: Celita Schultz Coming up in the next week will be the annual OTM awards, where we will once again be naming our Jiu Jitsu Competitor of the Year, Submission Grappler of the Year, Mixed Martial Artist of the Year, all of our other awards and our year in review report. For the first year we will also have a Reader’s Choice award, in which the viewers of OntheMat can select their choice for athlete of the year. To participate, please visit the OTM Forums here: http://www.onthemat.com/forum/showthread.php?p=6180

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Gumby is the co-founder of OntheMat.com back in 1997 with Scotty Nelson.