Southampton Central Hall played host to Polaris 22’s stacked middleweight tournament and an MMA vs BJJ themed superfight this past weekend. Eight international ADCC vets, MMA adepts and more fought for the coveted strap that Saturday, and some of the night’s stars went on record for a Bloody Elbow exclusive event recap.
Round one featured big performances from IBJJF Nationals winner Hunter Colvin against ADCC 2022 late replacement Owen Livesey. A judo black belt, Livesey looked strong on the feet and kept head control and top position after Colvin pulled guard early and attempted to sweep.
“I knew going in he’d have good wrestling,” Colvin said in an interview with Bloody Elbow. “So I just figured I was gonna pull guard and use wrestle ups. Just mix everything up so I’m throwing a lot of things at him.”
Colvin stuck to said gameplan, taking advantage of a pass attempt to counter sweep for the first points of the match. Again pulling guard after both men stood up, Colvin’s arm lock from closed guard was stuffed by Livesey and he was back on defense.
Livesey would spend minutes barreling down on Colvin, collecting both legs and making several close passing attempts. Colvin hunted for the kimura again, hoping to get the sub or initiate another scramble.
Livesey finally succeeded in passing to half, but a buggy choke setup from Colvin sent him backward in defense and allowed Colvin to reguard. Livesey still collected a point for his efforts.
A bloody nose from Livesey briefly halted the action, but a reset from the ref sent both men to the center where they quickly returned to the feet. Down one, Colfin shot for a body lock and turned to drive Livesey back. Livesey looked to be turning for a hip throw, but the momentum caused him to continue falling while exposing his back. Colvin locked in back control as they fell out of bounds, causing the ref to reset them to center. Leg’s triangled, Colvin got the tap via RNC under a minute later.
“I figured if I did get him, it was gonna be with either the leglock or by taking his back,” Colvin said. “He’s just such a bigger guy, I figured I could definitely outmaneuver him and eventually find the back. He did a good job not letting me get to his legs.”
Colvin went on to face Ecuadorian phenom Roberto Jimenez in the semi finals, fronting a massive effort to a close submission defeat. Colvin landed a beautiful footsweep in the first minute, leading Jimenez to counter with a heelhook attempt. Both men scrambled back to the feet, Jimenez landing a takedown of his own before having to defend a guillotine from Colvin. The match hit a near breaking point when Colvin dove in for an armbar off a kimura attempt, dangerously extending Jimenez’s left elbow.
But as Colvin fell back, Jimenez immediately grabbed his right ankle to create space for his shoulders. Turning into the American, Jimenez managed to escape to top position as the crowd roared.
“He really did have great defense,” Colvin said. “Just being able to grab my ankle the way he did to keep me from finishing the armbar. He was just really on point, man.”
Jimenez maintained positional dominance for the majority of the match, passing to mount and nearly finishing the fight on points. Colvin secured another close armbar attempt, but Jimenez again executed a perfect escape. Another mount pass from Jimenez followed by a mounted triangle to bottom finish sealed things for Colvin.
“I’d love to get another match with him, for sure,” Colvin said. “Definitely won’t be the last time we go. He’s a great contender and he had a great night.”
On the superfight front, Welsh black belt Ashley Williams took on UFC legend Carlos Condit in a nogi match to spice up an already electric card. Fresh off his ADCC 2022 appearance, Williams, 30, entered the favorite against Condit’s impressive 43% submission rate inside the cage. No stranger to takedowns, Condit dodged an early single from Williams and landed a double leg just past the minute mark.
“Carlos was roughly as expected,” Williams said in a statement to Bloody Elbow. “The only thing I’d say was a surprise was that he was willing to move around a lot more. He wasn’t there to just sit and hug and turn it into a boring wrestling match. The thing about competing with MMA guys is that they can either make or break a match. Credit to Carlos, he came to actually grapple.”
Williams worked to break Condit down inside guard, but Condit stood and fell back to 50/50 for a leg attack. Williams countered by threatening a leg of his own, but eventually both men were able to scramble to their feet.
Williams pulled guard, this time initiating the leg entanglement on a defending Condit. Condit freed himself and ended up in closed guard again, but Williams was able to open and regain leg control as Condit turned away. Cradling the right heel, Williams quickly got the tap and had his hand raised.
“When he went for my legs, I was really surprised at that,” Williams said. “I didn’t think that was the best strategy for him. But you gotta respect your opponent anyway. When he entered the second time I thought, ‘I could probably get the finish here,’ and I did.”
In terms of future opponents, Williams maintains a classically open mind.
“With regards to future opponents and plans with Polaris, the main thing for me is high profile matches versus either super high level UFC athletes or the best guys [grapplers] in the world at 66kg,” Williams said.
Who would you like to see either Williams or Colvin face next?