Fight to Win 144 Preview

Yes, you are reading correctly, Fight to Win 144 is here! The grappling world is back on track and Fight To Win seems to be particularly keen on keeping it’s promise of delivering events almost every weekend. Seth Daniels’ promotion is doing its sixth consecutive appearance in Dallas, TX, bringing us Fight To Win 144 on Friday 19th.

The event will feature a mixture of local and international talent in their eleventh event of 2020. Even though this has been quite a slow year for most competitive grappling, now that everything seems to be slowly going back to normal we can definitely hope for some BJJ action!

Fight To Win is coming back guns blazing with these events. Their last event featured Victor Hugo vs Fellipe Andrew and Ana Carolina Vieira vs Nathiely de Jesus, so we are a little bit spoiled in the match ups department. This time match ups are a little bit less “well known” but are still fantastic if you know what to look for. We aim to give you an insight on what match ups to look for, and the full card at the end of the article!

Let’s begin with the most talked-about match ups and then I’ll make some recommendations from the undercard for those of you who really dig into the entire card. The main event of the card is of course Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. facing off in a No Gi 205 lbs title match.

The co-main event is a scrap between Talita Alencar and Nathiely Ribeiro from Checkmat, for the 130 lbs black belt No Gi title. The third match is between the flying triangle machine Edwin Najmi and the new black belt up and comer from Atos, Jonnatas Gracie.

Rafael Lovato Jr BJJ

Fight To Win 144 Main Event

The most anticipated match up of the card is without a doubt Rafael Lovato Jr. vs Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa. These two monsters will meet in the main event of the card. They will throw down at around 9:45 pm (CT time). This is a dream come true for most of us, since it represents a clash of two of the best fighters of each generation.

Rafael Lovato Jr. is the embodyment of the old school style of BJJ, unrelenting top pressure aimed towards achieving mount and spamming cross chokes from there. Lucas Barbosa represents the new generation and focuses primarily on strong positional control from top. He is not known for his submission hunting skills, and generally takes them when the opportunity arises. Hulk is an athletic freak of nature and a judo blackbelt, so he won’t be pulling guard either.

Expect fireworks on this one! I believe this will be a battle for top position with both athletes engaging in a stand up war. If someone was to pull guard, I would definitely put my money on Lovato, but chances are these two will fight it out on the feet.

I feel Hulk’s stand up game is way more intricate and his gripping strategies may cause Lovato some problems. Rumor has it that Lovato has been training non stop for this one, and I don’t know how much Lucas has been able to prepare in Brazil, so this may be a factor as well.

The Co Main Event

The co main event of Fight To Win 144 has fight of the night written all over it. Nathalie Ribeiro from Checkmat will be fighting Talita Alencar from Alliance. Talita is a 2017 world champion and the reigning F2W 130lbs No Gi champion at black belt.

Talita is the definition of a scrapper and will most definitely be looking to wrestle if her opponent is up for the task. She attacks single legs fiercefully on the feet and heavily favors passing over playing guard. Nathalie Ribeiro is a jack of all trades and is content with playing either top or bottom.

I expect her to engage on the feet for a while to see if she can get something going, but she will probably have to pull guard at some point. Talita is a Tasmanian devil on top and she will be looking to impose her dynamic passing and side to side movement.

Nathalie Ribeiro plays a very interesting game in No Gi. She uses a Leandro Lo style single leg X modified for No Gi combined with 50/50 if her opponent tries to throw her leg to the opposite side. It will be a very interesting to see how this plays out, because Nathalie will be looking to get inside position and Talita will be looking to keep her hips back and pass moving side to side. We’ll have to wait and see who is able to impose her game.

edwin najmi polaris

The Fireworks Matchup

The third match on the main card is a bout between Edwin Najmi and Jonnatas Gracie. Most people are familiar with Najmi’s style by now, he is a submission hunter. He heavily favors double collar grips from standing which he uses to jump straight into flying triangles.

Jonnatas is a very agressive athlete that mixes up wrestling and judo on the feet, and has a very well-rounded top and bottom game. He plays a very interesting spider guard game, where he alternates between spider, lasso and single lex X and he often wrestles up to sweep.

Most people are predicting this match to go Gracie’s way, but I am not sure who will take this one. Najmi’s style is almost built for this ruleset and his attacks can rack up a lot of point under Fight To Win scoring criteria.

While Jonnatas is a very game competitor and will definitely have the edge in an IBJJF scenario, I don’t know how the ruleset will affect the result on this one. I see Jonnatas opening up strong on this one, trying to put Edwin down to force half guard and pressure pass straight to the back.

This would be a great way to bypass Najmi’s strong spider guard. Edwin will probably be playing his normal counter-attack game, where he baits his opponent into triangle city. This will for sure be the barn burner of Fight To Win 144.

The Fight To Win 144 undercard

Regarding the undercard, Fight To Win 144 presents a few interesting match ups. I have selected two match ups that you should keep an eye out for. The first is Andrew Wiltse vs. Isiah Wright in a 200lbs black belt No Gi match. If you are not familiar with Andrew, he is a wild competitor from the Pedigo Submission Fighting team.

He is often seen competing in absolute divisions and giving problems to competitors who are 40-50 lbs heavier than him. Don’t let the weight class fool you, Andrew is not 200 lbs and he recently revealed that it was his opponent who requested the weight limit to be moved.

He plays a unique game in No Gi, with strong wrestling from top and RDLR to invert and go for the back from bottom. You can see him in action by clicking here. I’d like to point out that I’ve seen him use a very interesting modified spider guard for No Gi, where he places his feet on the biceps and controls his opponents wrists. It would be nice to see if his gameplan revolves around this to stop the pressure from Isiah.

His opponent is a black belt representing Easton BJJ, who poses some interesting threats to Andrew’s game. Isiah is a wrestler by nature, and in the 14 matches I could find on the internet I never saw him pull guard, so we can expect him to be continuously searching for top position. Andrew is no slouch on the wrestling department, so this makes for a very dynamic match up. Isiah is a very aggressive and game competitor and is always looking for the takedown.

The Wildcard Matchup

This last one is a wildcard type match: Aaron Brooks vs. Jordan Burton III. Aaron’s last appearance under the Fight To Win banner was in F2W 129, where he hit a gnarly flying triangle vs his seated opponent and finished it from mount top.

He plays a very diverse game that is entertaining to watch. His opponent, Jordan Burton III is a very unorthodox competitor himself, and he uses submission details that differ from what most people use. This makes for a really unique match up and I recommend you check it out!

This card is looking like pure fire so we encourage you to watch! If you are lucky enough to be able to attend this event, I strongly recommend you do so. Seth generally aims for entertainment so you won’t be disappointed!

If you need tickets for the event, you can get them here. I’ve included the full card below so you can check out the rest of the match ups! If you want to take a look at the numbers after the event you can check The Numbers Game series by clicking here.

Fight To Win 144 Full Card

Black Belts

Rafael Lovato Jr (Lovato Jiu Jitsu) vs Lucas Barbosa (Atos) – 205lbs Black Belt Gi Title

Nathalie Ribeiro (Checkmat) vs Talita Alencar (Alliance) – 130lbs Black Belt NOGI Title

Jonnatas Gracie (Atos) vs Edwin Najmi (Gracie Barra) – 175lbs Black Belt Gi

Andrew Wiltse (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Isiah Wright (Easton BJJ) – 200lbs Black Belt NOGI

Brett Oteri (The Lab Oteri Jiu Jitsu) vs Rafael Lang (Octagon MMA) – 200lbs Black Belt Gi

Aaron Brooks (Vianna Brothers) vs Jordan Burton III (Soul Fighters) – 150lbs Black Belt Gi

Joe Baize (Owensboro Gracie) vs Don Westman (Colorado BJJ Stapleton) – 225lbs Black Belt NOGI

Kenny Cross (Team Shawn Hammonds) vs Stephen Hall (Octagon MMA) – 230lbs Black Belt Gi

Angel Lopez (Halo Jiu Jitsu) vs Bobby Emmons (Nice Guy Submission Fighting) – 175lbs Black Belt NOGi

Filipe Matos  (Gracie Barra) vs Bruno Jacare Dias (Juniko) – 150lbs Black Belt GI

Caio Caetano (One Jiu Jitsu) vs Rehan Mutalib (Alliance) – 175lbs Black Belt Gi

Brown Belts

Clay Mayfield (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Edgar Christian Benitez (Gracie Barra) – 180lbs Brown Belt Gi

Purple Belts

John Paul Robledo (R Jitsu) vs Walker Madden (Colorado BJJ Stapleton) – 270lbs Purple Belt NOGI

Troy Mercer (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Marco Soto (Waugh BJJ) – 205lbs Purple Belt NOGI

Stephen Shnayderman (Soul Fighters) vs Von Wood Lovato Jiu Jitsu) – 150lbs Purple Belt GI

Alejandro Wajner (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Amador Barraza (War Room MMA) – 180lbs Purple Belt NOGI

Lucas Espinoza (Gracie allegiance HQ) vs Carlos Neto (AMBJJ) – 170lbs Purple Belt Gi

Jazz Ortiz (Team ROC) vs Chase Sosa (Aforce BJJ) – 140lbs Purple Belt NOGI

Elder Cruz (Checkmat) vs Francisco Papasidero (Renzo Gracie) – 215lbs Purple Belt Gi

Jacob Couch (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Dominic Alfano (AMBJJ) – 205lbs Purple Belt NOGI

Dante Muschamp (Essential BJJ) vs Colton Phoenix (Lovato Jiu Jitsu) – 170lbs Purple Belt GI

Sathya Wiltse (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Carson Steicher (Carlson Gracie) – 150lbs Purple Belt Gi

Daniel Cavazos (Halo Martial Arts) vs Dylan Nguyen (Lovato Jiu Jitsu) – 135lbs Purple Belt GI

Jorge Valladares (Pedigo Submission Fighting) vs Kemoy Anderson (10th Planet) – 185lbs Purple Belt NOGI


Chris Ditto (Double Five Jiu Jitsu) vs Guilherme Balmante (Alliance) – 98lbs Yellow Belt GI

Icaro Moreno (Uniko) vs Dandre Adams (Soul Fighters) – 60lbs Kids NOGI

Blue Belts

Connor Ogle (Atos) vs Isiah Sanchez (AMBJJ) – 135lbs Blue Belt NOGI

Peter G Hailer (Lauzon MMA) vs Matt Anater (Mohler MMA) – 185lbs Blue Belt NOGi

David Shumaker (ATOS) vs BRETT NICHOLAS (SOUL FIGHTERS) – 210lbs Blue Belt Gi

Laci douthitt (Jean Jacques Machado) vs Marisa Ramirez (Carlson Gracie) – 135lbs Blue Belt Gi

Nathan Sevedge (ATOS) vs Cody Byers (Peak Performance) – 230lbs Blue Belt NOGI

Brittany Baize (Ownsboro Gracie) vs Shannon O’Shea (Soul Fighters) – 125lbs Blue Belt NOGI

David Grostic (ATOS) vs Jacob Olson ( Jiu Jitsu Therapy) – 160lbs Blue Belt Gi

If you need tickets for the live event, you can get them here.

Michel Davidovich

Michel Davidovich is a BJJ Blue Belt from Montevideo, Uruguay. He trains under Mauro Lago, at Team MLDT. Specializing in mechanical engineering and being the BJJ enthusiast he is, his content tries to blend the two by providing an analytical and numerical perspective on the sport we all love. If you want to know more about the metrics used and how do we apply statistical analisys to grappling, hit him up on instagram or facebook!

Michel Davidovich has 33 posts and counting. See all posts by Michel Davidovich