Liverpool-based submission grappling promotion Grapplefest returned to action on Saturday with a card featuring a number of world-class competitors. In the main event of Grapplefest 12, 80 kg. champion and promotional mainstay Dante Leon suffered a decision loss to 10th Planet standout PJ Barch. Lower on the card, ADCC qualifiers Ash Williams and Eoghan O’Flanagan picked up quality wins, and Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch defeated a UFC veteran.
The main event between Barch and Leon started with fireworks, as Leon blasted Barch off the mat in the opening seconds of the match. Moments later, though, Barch would counter a shot from Leon, flipping the defending champion directly to his back in bottom side control.
Leon reversed position and nearly secured a clean guard pass on Barch, but for much of the remainder of the match, Leon attacked from his back with de la riva and reverse de la riva guards. For his part, Barch launched a pair of heel hook that appeared to be close, and it was likely those two deep submission attempts that earned him the unanimous — but certainly close — decision.
Before that, ADCC European Trials winner Ash Williams picked up a quality decision win over West Coast Trials winner Keith Krikorian. Williams showed off his world-class leg lock defense throughout the match, as well as a deep toehold attempt of his own. In the final two minutes, Williams secured a guard pass, side control, and an armbar attempt to earn him the unanimous decision in a match-up that could take place again at the ADCC World Championships later this year.
Lower on the card, ADCC European Trials winner Eoghan O’Flanagan hit a spectacular triangle choke on ADCC veteran Jon Blank in the final five minutes of their 15-minute match to win the 90 kg. title. Also of note, Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch earned a unanimous decision win over UFC veteran Tom Breese in a bizarrely uneventful match, and Own Livesey defeated Daisy Fresh product Michael Pixley in a battler of takedown artists.