On January 10th, I had the opportunity to fight current World No-Gi Champion AJ Agazarm in a superfight in Cardiff, Wales. Originally he was scheduled to face fellow Brit Daniel Strauss but after he picked up an injury at the ADCC trials I was offered the opportunity to replace him and jumped at the chance. For those who don’t know, I have a fairly extensive competition history with AJ, having fought him several times both in Europe and in the US, with him coming out on top each time, always on points. I’d had some good moments in all those fights despite the final results, and I figured the opportunity to face him in a 15 minute submission only matchup would be a good way to see how our jiujitsu matched up as finishers.
For the fight itself, it definitely didn’t go the way that I had hoped. I got outworked both positionally and in terms of submission attempts, and got my elbow popped in pretty much the first attack of the fight. I had a couple of better moments later on, but ended up getting caught in a triangle from an armbar about 11 minutes in and with nowhere to go, I had to tap. Honestly, he pretty much had me with that first armbar, but I don’t think that I would have been able to forgive myself if I had just tapped like that after all the support and encouragement and training I had had leading up to the match. So my elbow took a little tweak and we kept on going. And that pretty much summed up the match.
What was much bigger than the match itself was the whole experience of the competition. Walking out with that many local supporters (and the knowledge that there were even more people online rooting for me) was a tremendous experience. A big thank you to all the Polaris organisers (and there were a lot of them) for putting together a show filled with international top level grapplers. Here’s looking forward to the next one, and an even bigger and better event!
( Image Credit: Andy Douglas / bjjstyle.com )