3 breakout stars from the ADCC West Coast Trials

The ADCC West Coast Trial was one of the biggest and best tournaments in grappling history. Because there was just too much action to cover at once, we’ll be spreading out our coverage of the event in several posts. Be sure to check back for results and recaps from every division at the ADCC West Coast Trials. View the recap of the 66 kg division here, the 77 kg division here, the 88 kg division here, the -99 kg and 99+ kg divisions here, and the women’s divisions here.

The ADCC Trials consistently produce breakout stars, and the 2022 ADCC West Coast Trials were no different. The tournament represents a major opportunity for up-and-coming or lesser-known grapplers to make a name for themselves against more experienced or established competitors, even if those breakout stars didn’t win Trials gold. For many, the Trials are a jumping-off point for a successful career in grappling.

These three grapplers came up short of winning gold, but still seized the opportunity and were breakout stars at the ADCC West Coast Trials.

Andrew Tackett

The younger brother to 77 kg winner William Tackett, Andrew Tackett showed that he is not only one of the most aggressive and entertaining grapplers in the sport, he is also a skilled competitor that has an incredibly bright future ahead. Tackett competed in the 66 kg division where he was the number-four seed, winning four matches, all by submission, to qualify for the round of 16 where he would ultimately lose to The B-Team’s Damien Anderson. Tackett’s biggest win came against 10th Planet Fullerton’s Isaac Cordova.

Tackett’s style can be summed up in one word: offense. Just like his training partners William Tackett and Kody Steele, the younger Tackett possesses excellent wrestling to complement his venomous submission attack. He is still just a teenager and training at one of the best camps in the country, so don’t be surprised to see Tackett firmly establish himself as an elite competitor before the next ADCC Trials in two years.

Daniel Manasoiu

New Wave’s Daniel Manasoiu has been hailed by Gordon Ryan as the next big thing for some time now, but it wasn’t until these Trials that he fully announced his presence on the elite scene. Coming into the tournament with an unassuming 14th seed, Manasoiu submitted three of his four opponents on his way to the 99+ kg final where he would lose to Kyle Boehm.

Manasoiu is an enormous athlete, but his game is not all based on the size advantage. Rather, the Danaher-trained Manasoiu displayed an excellent open guard and submission-oriented game throughout the weekend. Manasoiu defeated number-three seed Jesseray Childrey in the round of 16, and in the semifinals, he secured a massive win when he defeated number-two seed Damon Ramos by submission in under one minute.

Manasoiu’s size, training situation, and obvious technical skill make him an athlete to watch for years to come.

Andy Varela

10th Planet Andy Varela was already a frequent competitor at high-level competitions, including Submission Underground and Third Coast Grappling, but his spectacular performance at the ADCC West Coast Trials should put him on the map as a mainstay at the elite level. The number-15 seed, Varela used his ultra-aggressive submission attack and quality wrestling to make his way to the final, of the 77 kg division but would ultimately lose to William Tackett on points.

Varela impressed throughout the weekend with his fan-friendly style, but it was his wins over recent EBI winner Alan Sanchez and fellow 10th Planet black belt PJ Barch that were his most impressive. Varela was a tricky puzzle to solve; his wrestling made him a constant takedown threat, while his front headlock and guillotine game made shooting on him a dangerous proposition.

For fans that have been paying close attention, Varela was already a grappler to keep an eye on. But after his performance at the West Coast Trials, all fans (and competitors) should be on notice of Varela’s abilities.

Other notables: Chris Wojcik, Harrison Woods, Mike Crisp, Jasmine Rocha, Amanda Bruse, Paige Ivette.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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