This is the final division and it might end up being the most exciting. The smaller fighters usually have cardio for days and that means lots of action. On top of that this division is fairly young with only 2-3 people in their 30s. There are a lot of new faces and I since Tanquino is gone there will definitely be a new champion this year. Who it will be is unknown and one of the interesting things about this division is that it will be hard to pick the number one seed. There are a lot of new names, so check out the competitor breakdown below.
Ash is very versatile and can play from top or bottom, but I feel he is better from top position. He has very precise, but aggressive passing. He also has a fairly decent wrestling game which is rare coming from the European competitors in this weight class. He has also shown consistently good leg lock defense, so I don't think he will be derailed in that area. In general his defense is very good and it will be difficult for anyone in this division to submit him.
One problem he might have is his inability to submit others. He has a 40% submission rate, which isn't bad, but against people of this caliber he will most likely have a hard time finding the finish. Another problem he sometimes has is an inability to get his offense going, which could hurt him against some of the more explosive competitors. He will need to either stay very active or have a good strategy to combat this.
Ash could definitely take this division, but this will be the first time he's faced this many high level people in 1 tournament before. This will be a real test of his skills. Recently he has looked very good, but you never know what till happen at ADCC. I'm sure he's training hard and will put on a great show at ADCC win or lose.
Previously Keith was primarily a guard player, but recently he has been working more from the top. His positional play has improved in the last or two and he can't be easily out pointed like he once was. When combined with his amazing sub defense this makes him quite the puzzle. On top of this he has very dangerous submissions and as of late his leg attacks have looked very sharp. His greatest attribute might be his heart. He never gives up and is dangerous until the buzz sounds.
Keith has a few weaknesses however and these could cost him. His wrestling isn't terrible, but it may not be enough to get him a win in this division. His biggest weakness might be is inability to impose his game on others. Many times he let's people take the lead on him and just defends and escapes. While this is impressive defensively, it won't win him matches.
Keith has shown he can improve and if he can overcome his weaknesses he will win. His recent performances have shown he is at this level and can beat anyone, but he will need more than heart. With game planning, strategy and focus he can reach the gold this year.
Kennedy plays equally well from top and bottom and will fight from anywhere. He has a good amount of athleticism and should be somewhat large for this division. Despite his youth he does have a good amount of experience as well as the coaching of his father. Kennedy is well rounded and doesn't really have many weak points. He can pass, sweep, submit, etc. and game plans well. This gives him a tactical advantage because he can play against his opponent's weaknesses.
Kennedy has a lot of things going for him however recently he hasn't been too consistent. He has lost some matches and hasn't been doing much no gi. He won't be able to win if he isn't at 100%. Another problem he might have is his wrestling. He does have some wrestling skill, but it isn't at the level of many of the other competitors here. This could hurt him because he doesn't have a "super move" that he can submit anyone with. If he gets out wrestled there is a good chance he will lose.
With proper prep Kennedy can win this division and some people have him as the favorite. However because of his recent performances, some people don't think he will be able to reach that number 1 spot. The competition is very different from last time and if he isn't fully ready he could find himself no even on the podium. His father is going to do everything in his power to make sure that doesn't happen however and with all the tools at his disposal Kennedy should be someone to lookout for come September.
Ethan is a master of heel hooks as you'd expect from a former DDS member, but he also has one of the best back attacks in the world. He won a EBI OT only tournament, so you know he has great back attacks and defense. He has 62% percentage rate with most wins coming from RNC. He is primarily a guard player, but he can play top as well. He also has very good submission defense, so his opponents are going to have a hard time catching him in something.
Ethan isn't a great wrestler and that could be he downfall at ADCC. He seems to be trying to improve this, but he isn't at the level that most others in this division are at. He will have a hard time during OT if he can't pull guard. He will need some tactics to over come this disadvantage. Also he seems to lack the ability to pressure his opponents, so he often needs to play is opponent's game. Against many of the people in this division, if he starts out on the back foot he will never be able to turn things back around.
Ethan has the skills to win and he has very good submission skills. He is with a new team now and has been preparing for ADCC for months now. He could have some new tricks to surprise others and he looks to be much bigger than before. If he can push the pace and improve his wrestling a bit he could walk home with the gold come September.
Geo is primarily a guard player and he has a very tricky flexible guard. He has a number of tricky submissions as well and can hit them from a number of places. He has a 66% submission rate and is hard to submit himself. He isn't afraid to get into a shootout with people and will go sub for sub with them and often comes out on top. His most common submission is actually the calf slicer, which is a somewhat rare submission, but it could surprise some of the other competitors.
Geo's top game is a bit lacking and if he has to play from there he might not be able to get the win. On top of that his wrestling isn't very developed, so there is a good chance he gets out pointed. Geo's style of very open, but at ADCC this could backfire and cause you to lose on points if you scramble into a bad position. Another thing to note is that Geo has been very inconsistent since the last ADCC. He is 2-3 since his last appearance.
Geo has the tools to win, but will he be able to put it all together. His toughness and skill can take him a long way in this tournament if he plays his cards right. Geo has the mindset needed to get to the top, but he will need to improve some things if he wants to get there. He is always dangerous and his style should provide some interesting matches if nothing else.
Gary is a scrambler and an escape artist. He is very tricky and can turn positions around on you if you aren't careful. On top of that he has great killer instinct. He is known for his RNC and heel hooks, but he has been able to finish people with a variety of different submissions. He has a 69% submission rate and is always looking for the kill. He also has very good wrestling skills and should be able to out wrestle anyone else in this division.
Gary's unpredictable style comes at a cost. He sometimes loses because he over extends himself and gets himself into bad positions. Most of the time he can get out of them, but if they cost him points he could be eliminated. This is seems to limit him a bit because he doesn't seem particularly good at any other strategy, so against someone who he could beat easily by just wrestling and grinding them out he could lose. Another question mark is Gary's strength conditioning and speed at this lower weight class. All of those things looked good at -77kg, but against these smaller competitors he might be at a disadvantage if the weight cut depletes him.
Gary has to be one of the favorites, but at the same time there are a lot of unknowns around him. We will see how his game interacts with some of the other athletes in this division. With his wrestling and submissions he might be one of the most exciting people in this whole tournament, so make time to watch his matches. On top of that there is a good chance that he will be able to achieve his dream on ADCC gold this year.