A Combat Jiu-Jitsu welterweight championship has been announced, and 10th Planet leader Eddie Bravo has already picked four of the contenders he wants grappling for the title.
Roberto Jimenez, Tye Ruotolo, Kody Steele, and Nathan Orchard have all been announced as competitors in the June 6 event, which is set to take place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Cancun.
Jimenez has quickly become one of jiu-jitsu’s brightest young stars, and in spite of everything 2020 had to throw at the world, it turned out to be a successful year for him. Jimenez had an impressive run at 3rd Coast Grappling’s Kumite series, taking home the win at both 3CG: Kumite 3 and 3CG: Kumite 5. He’s also put on some impressive performances at events like Who’s Number One and Submission Underground, and he’ll be eager to add a CJJ title to his ever-growing resume.
There’s the potential for a big rematch in this bracket with Tye Ruotolo on the card. Jimenez has two wins over Ruotolo from 2020, but now, a new year is upon us. The young ADCC veteran has been making waves in the submission-only scene, defeating big names like Vagner Rocha, Renato Canuto, and Oliver Taza on his way up the ladder last year. Ruotolo also defeated fellow CJJ Welterweight competitor Kody Steele at WNO 5, opening up the door for yet another rematch for the black-belt-hunting brown belt.
Steele won the welterweight championship back in 2019 when he was still a brown belt, and since then, he’s earned his black belt and proven time and time again that he’s worthy of the rank. Steele has taken home big wins at events like Fight 2 Win, Who’s Number One, and Kasai Pro, but his most entertaining match to date was his most recent one. At 3CG 5, Steele and Edwin Najmi went head to head in a nail-biter of a match that went into overtime and was ultimately left up to the judges. Steele won the match by decision, and there’s no doubt that fans will have that performance in mind as they wait for him to try to take home another CJJ welterweight belt.
Orchard, of course, is one of Bravo’s own black belts. He has plenty of experience competing under EBI rule sets as a multiple-time EBI veteran, and he’s also competed at CJJ specifically. An Onnit Invitational champ, he’ll also have the opportunity for a rematch at this event; he was defeated by Jimenez at SUG 15, and should the two meet again, he’ll be eager to get that win back.
We still have some CJJ to look forward to before the welterweights take to the mats. The CJJ Bantamweight Championship will be taking place in just a few days on March 21, and from there, we’re likely to see more big names announced for the welterweight title.
CJJ: The Welterweights will take place on Sunday, June 6 and can be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.