ADCC 2022’s -77kg men’s bracket has been described on the event’s social media channels as “the most stacked division in grappling history.” The man behind the action, ADCC’s Mo Jassim, remarked on Instagram that “this division is something I have never seen, every match could be a headliner.”
So, just who are the monsters filling out Jassim’s star-studded 77kg bracket? The Jiu-Jitsu Times offers the following stats on your contenders for the 2022 season:
JT Torres, USA
- 2x ADCC Champion (2017, 2019)
- 3x IBJJF Pans Champion (2018, 2015, no-gi 2010)
- 2013 IBJJF World Champion
A heavy favorite in this division, JT Torres needs no introduction. A former member of Team Lloyd Irvin and student of Atos’ André Galvão, Torres has racked up accomplishments in both gi and no-gi jiu-jitsu, but is perhaps known best for his no-gi game, having already been crowned king of -77kg at ADCC twice before. Despite a more than two-year layoff, Torres is still widely considered the man to beat in this division.
Renato Canuto, Brazil
- IBJJF World Champion, gi (2021)
- IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2017)
- IBJJF Brown Belt World Champion (2016)
- IBJJF Brown Belt World Champion, no-gi (2016)
One of Checkmat’s star competitors, Renato Canuto found his way into competitive jiu-jitsu via an early start in judo. Since then, he’s collected multiple titles at both black and colored belts, including IBJJF Worlds wins in both gi and no-gi. He’s known for a highly acrobatic grappling style, and a particularly dangerous – and versatile – armbar, which accounts for a noteworthy number of his submission victories.
Lucas Lepri, Brazil
- 7x IBJJF World Champion, gi (2007, 2014-2019)
- 3x IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2009-2011)
- 5x IBJJF Pan-American Champion, gi (2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017)
- 2009 IBJJF Pan-American Champion, no-gi
An IBJJF Hall of Fame member and veteran competitor at age thirty-seven, Alliance standout Lucas Lepri is widely considered an all-time great of his division. He’s also one of the few jiu-jitsu athletes to have accomplished the “Grand Slam” series of wins, taking home gold at all four “majors” as an adult black belt competitor: Worlds, Pans, Euros, and Brazilian Nationals.
Mica Galvão, Brazil
- IBJJF World Champion, gi (2022)
- Brazilian Nationals Champion (2022)
- ADCC Balneário Brazil Trials Champion (2021)
Fresh off his history-making victory as the youngest IBJJF black belt World Champion of all time, Galvão is a true teen phenom. At just eighteen years old, Mica Galvão has already become one of the most dangerous young up-and-comers in his weight class, with victories over some of the most well-known names in jiu-jitsu, including Tye Ruotolo, Tainan Dalpra, and current ADCC bracket mates William Tackett and Oliver Taza.
Lachlan Giles, Australia
- 2x IBJJF Pan-Pacific Champion, gi, weight & absolute (2016-2017)
- 2x IBJJF Pan-Pacific Champion, no-gi, weight & absolute (2016-2017)
- 2019 ADCC Championship Bronze Medalist
Perhaps best-known as a “giant slayer” of the sport, Absolute MMA representative Lachlan Giles famously turned heads at ADCC 2019, when he cut a swathe through several far heavier opponents in the event’s absolute division with a series of well-timed heel hooks. The accomplishment would earn him a bronze medal – no small feat for a man 22kg lighter than several of his submission victims.
Kade Ruotolo, USA
- ADCC East Coast Trials Champion (2022)
- WNO Champion (2021)
- EBI Combat Jiu-Jitsu Champion (2020)
One half of the famous Ruotolo twins, Atos star and buggy choker extraordinaire Kade Ruotolo enters the fray of the -77kg division, riding high on his ONE Championship debut victory over longtime MMA legend Shinya Aoki. Like his brother Tye, Kade is known for his relentless, highly aggressive guard passing style and inventive submission setups.
Dante Leon, Canada
- IBJJF World Champion, no-gi (2019)
- 2x IBJJF Pan-Am Champion, no-gi (2017-2018)
- IBJJF American Nationals Champion, no-gi (2017)
- IBJJF World Championship Silver Medalist, no-gi (2021)
A longtime IBJJF medalist and ADCC veteran, Dante Leon is one of GF Team’s most prominent competitors. Leon arrives for his second tango on the ADCC mats with a well-rounded arsenal of weapons, no doubt honed from his previous battles in the promotion.
Davi Ramos, Brazil
- ADCC World Champion (2015)
- Brazilian Nationals Champion, no-gi (2010)
- UFC veteran (2017-2020)
A former ADCC champion hailing from Top Brother and Atos, in more recent years, Davi Ramos has primarily focused his athletic efforts on the MMA world, including a four-year tenure in the UFC. However, his 2015 capture of ADCC gold – along with a number of other impressive wins in submission grappling – may yet make him a dangerous opponent.
Nicky Ryan, USA
- ADCC West Coast Trials Champion (2019)
- ADCC West Coast Trials Bronze Medalist (2017)
- ADCC East Coast Trials Bronze Medalist (2017)
Younger brother to infamous no-gi grappling king himself, Gordon Ryan, Nicky Ryan climbed a steep hill during his teen years toward developing a fearsome reputation in his own right – mostly by defeating several seasoned adult athletes before so much as celebrating his eighteenth birthday. Now twenty-one, the younger Ryan brother looks to make his mark on what is popularly considered the most prestigious no-gi submission grappling stage in the world.
Roberto Jimenez, Ecuador
- 4x IBJJF World Champion, Colored Belts (2016-2018)
- 2x IBJJF PanAms Champion, Colored Belts (2016-2017)
- American Nationals Champion, Brown Belt (2019)
- American Nationals Champion, Brown Belt, no-gi (2019)
Known for his deadly back attacks, Studio 76 representative Roberto Jimenez has enjoyed tremendous success through the colored belt ranks in IBJJF competition in both gi and no-gi. As a black belt, he continues to employ an aggressive, submission-oriented grappling style that will likely keep the pace of his ADCC matches highly watchable.
Tommy Langaker, Norway
- Second ADCC European Trials Champion (2022)
- IBJJF European Open Champion (2020)
- IBJJF World Championship Silver Medalist (2018)
- IBJJF PanAms Championship Silver Medalist, Absolute Division (2018)
Nova União standout Tommy Langaker originally came to grappling via traditional Japanese ju-jutsu as a child in Norway, before eventually transitioning into Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Though a lesser-known name in no-gi competition than some of his fellow bracket members, Langaker nonetheless boasts an impressive resume that includes a dominant performance in the second ADCC European Trials, which punched his ticket to the main stage.
Oliver Taza, Lebanon
- 2x ADCC European Trials Champion (2022, 2017)
- ADCC East Coast Trials Silver Medalist (2016)
- IBJJF Brown Belt World Champion, no-gi (2017)
Representing New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, Oliver Taza enters this bracket as Langaker’s fellow ADCC European Trials champ. No stranger to the ADCC ruleset, Taza also previously won ADCC European Trials back in 2017, and since then, has been competing relentlessly. Trained by John Danaher, Taza boasts a particularly dangerous leg lock game, finishing the vast majority of his submission wins with leg attacks.
PJ Barch, USA
- Emerald City Invitational Champion (2021)
- Quintet 2 Team Tournament Champion (2018)
- 2x Onnit Invitational Champion (2016, 2018)
One of the 10th Planet’s most prominent stars, PJ Barch combines his All-American wrestling chops with the Eddie Bravo’s tricky no-gi style of jiu-jitsu. Barch is particularly well-known for his excellence on the submission-only scene.
William Tackett, USA
- ADCC West Coast Trials Champion (2022)
- IBJJF Blue Belt World Champion, no-gi (2018)
- IBJJF Juvenile World Champion, no-gi (2017)
A crown jewel of the Brazilian Fight Factory’s competition team, William Tackett cut a swathe through this year’s ADCC West Coast Trials. Another athlete who began his career as a teenage upstart in a sport dominated by grown men, he enjoyed several major accomplishments throughout his color belt years, including multiple podium finishes at IBJJF Worlds, before receiving his black belt in 2021.
Kenta Iwamoto, Japan
- 2x ADCC Asia & Oceania Trials Champion (2022, 2019)
- Battle Hazard 8 Winner (2020)
A two-time winner of ADCC’s Asia & Oceania Trials, Kenta Iwamoto enters this bracket as a relative unknown on the mainstream jiu-jitsu circuit, particularly to Western audiences. However, he does have wins over some impressive opponents, including legendary leg locker Masakazu Imanari. Originally a member of his junior high and high school judo clubs in Japan, Iwamoto transitioned into Brazilian jiu-jitsu upon entering university.
Andy Varela, USA
- ADCC West Coast Trials Silver Medalist (2022)
- Submission Underground veteran
10th Planet’s Andy Varela narrowly missed a first-place finish at ADCC West Coast Trials this year, and favors an aggressive, top-heavy grappling game, likely thanks in part to a wrestling and MMA background.