Craig Jones: Karate Combat is ‘the future of grappling’

Fresh off his win over Philip Rowe, Craig Jones raved about Karate Combat’s Pit Submission Series as the future of grappling.

Karate Combat has held just a handful of grappling matches but is already making waves in the submission grappling world.

Two-time ADCC silver medalist Craig Jones recently competed and won at a Karate Combat event and, in a recent YouTube video, explained why he believes the organization’s Pit Submission Series is the future of grappling.

Last Friday, Jones made relatively quick work of UFC welterweight Philip Rowe, using Karate Combat’s pit wall to secure a flying triangle submission. Earlier in the night, veteran black belt Joao Miyao used the pit wall to set up his heel hook finish on UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon.

According to Jones, the pit’s unique slanted walls make it the ideal space for grappling matches.

He explained:

“The pit walls are the best stage for grappling… I like the pit wall because in MMA, against the cage, the guy can back up against the cage and have pretty good defensive posture, but because the pit wall is angled backwards, you’re falling backwards slightly, so you are quite vulnerable there. Great for grappling because if you back up, you don’t just hit the vertical platform, you fall backwards. You actually feel quite vulnerable. It has completely solved – the solution of stalling in grappling.”

Beyond loving the pit enclosure for submission grappling, Jones raved about the experience of competing for Karate Combat:

“Going forward I potentially might only compete in Karate Combat because, again, they take care of me, it’s a f****** fun event… The contrast between working for them and, say, working for Flo or something is night and day. It’s an entirely fun experience and I’ll be back.”

What’s more, the B-Team leader plans to continue to promote Karate Combat and Pit Submission Series, which he believes will become a leader in the submission grappling space:

“I’m gonna be a part of this, we’re gonna blow this s*** up. We might potentially dethrone everything in the sport through the use of the pit and proper matchmaking and actually treating the athletes well…

“Going forward, Karate Combat, like it or not, and I’m not being paid to say this, is probably the future of grappling. They haven’t had a single boring grappling match yet.”

The organization held its first Pit Submission Series matches in January when elite competitors Vagner Rocha, Max Gimenes, and Helena Crevar each picked up impressive victories.

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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