It has just been revealed that Nathan Orchard will fill the sixth spot in the Polaris Absolute Grand Prix as the tournament starts to fill out. As we’re nearing the complete release of the brackets for this eight-man tournament, he will be met by Patrick Gaudio, Freddie Vosgrone, Kaynan Duarte, Adam Wardzinski, Mike Perez and Nick Rodriguez. This fills out every spot reserved for an invitation and the final spot goes to the winner of the Polaris Qualifier Tournament, a 32-man Brown and Black Belt bracket held in Bristol at the Sweat Box Gym on March 7th.
Seeing as Nathan Orchard usually competes at Welterweight or under 77kg, he’s likely to be the lightest competitor out of the six already revealed. Mike Perez, Adam Wardzinski, Nick Rodriguez and Kaynan Duarte have all traditionally competed at Heavyweight or above and although Freddie Vosgrone has competed as light as 88kg, he’s usually far north of that. Even Patrick Gaudio will have a significant size advantage over Orchard as he usually competes at Light-Heavyweight.
Orchard is one of the most well-known 10th Planet representatives and Eddie Bravo black belts, along with Richie and Geo Martinez. Part of his renown is thanks to him pioneering the position known as the “Dead Orchard”. Like any 10th Planet black belt, he uses rubber guard to great effect and the Dead Orchard is actually set up from rubber guard initially, although it doesn’t require anywhere near as much flexibility as a lot of rubber guard submissions and positions. If he can get his game going then he should be able to neutralize a lot of the size advantage that the other competitors will have over him.
That might seem like a difficult task, but as Mikey Musumeci recently reminded us on his trip to the Absolute Division at the IBJJF European Championships: a difference in size doesn’t matter even half as much as a difference in technique.
For tickets to the live event at The International Convention Centre in Newport, Wales on April 4th, click here.