Keith Krikorian set to defend Grapplefest title against former opponent Gabriel Sousa

Grapplefest 70kg champion Keith Krikorian will defend his title against Gabriel Sousa at Grapplefest 18 on March 2.

Keith Krikorian and Gabriel Sousa will soon meet in a rematch of the pair’s high-paced 2022 clash.

On Saturday, March 2, at Grapplefest 18 in Liverpool, England, Krikorian will put his 70kg Grapplefest title on the line against Sousa. Grapplefest announced the matchup on Instagram.

The 10th Planet black belt captured the title in April 2023 with a quick submission victory over Sam McNally

Ad ADCC Trials champion and multiple-time ADCC and Who’s Number One (WNO) veteran, Krikorian is one of the most active competitors on the elite no-gi scene. Beyond his win over McNally, he boasts notable submission victories over the likes of Josh Cisneros, Kieran Kichuk, and Gianni Grippo

Sousa made his Grapplefest debut in July, taking out The B-Team’s Damien Anderson via decision in the main event of Grapplefest 16

Like Krikorian, the Brazilian is a fixture at the highest levels of the sport. He is a 2022 ADCC silver medalist with impressive victories over Diego “Pato” Oliveira, Mikey Musumeci, and, in his most recent WNO appearance, Ash Williams.

Keith Krikorian vs. Gabriel Sousa

The pair first met in early 2022 in a 15-minute submission-only contest at WNO. In that match, Krikorian employed an aggressive leg lock attack to control much of the action, earning a hard-fought decision victory – perhaps the biggest win of his career up to that point.

Fans can expect another barnburner in the rematch. 

For his part, Krikorian is a dangerous submission hunter, primarily known for his leg locks, back-takes, and opportunistic guard game. He supplements those skills with solid wrestling and guard passing, but his trademark skill set remains attacking the submission.

Sousa, meanwhile, is a buzzsaw guard passer. Generally, he prefers to pass on the outside, constantly forcing his opponent on the defensive as he looks to circle to north-south position.

Stylistically, Krikorian and Sousa make for an entertaining match, with Krikorian hunting for leg locks while Sousa pushes an incredible pace.

How to watch: Grapplefest 18: Keith Krikorian vs. Gabriel Sousa takes place on March 2, and will air live on pay-per-view.

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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