In 2021, the Emerald City Invitational (ECI) established itself as one of jiu-jitsu’s premier submission-only competitions. Following the format introduced by the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI), ECI held one-night, EBI-rules tournaments with cash prizes on the line.
The promotion has announced its next event, as well as a few of the grapplers slated to compete in the tournament. The next Emerald City Invitational will take place on Saturday, March 12, and will feature an 8-man grand prix with a $10,000 prize for first place.
Several competitors have already been announced for the tournament.
A representative of Ares BJJ, Josh Cisneros is an IBJJF Pans and American Nationals champion, and is one of the sport’s most exciting grapplers. In 2020, he went 1-1 against ADCC silver medalist Kennedy Maciel in a pair of thrilling matches, and impressed at the Who’s Number One championships with an armbar win over Damien Anderson.
Cisneros is an excellent wrestler and excels in high-paced, scramble-heavy matches.
Keith Krikorian is a 10th Planet black belt, an ADCC veteran, and an ECI veteran. At the 145-pound ECI in 2021, Krikorian picked up two wins before losing in overtime to Maciel. He bounced back with a strong showing at the ADCC East Coast Trials, where he would make it to the finals before losing to Cole Abate.
Krikorian is an incredibly experienced grappler, particularly under submission-only rulesets. His back control and ability to finish on the back give him a slight edge in every match that makes it to overtime.
Gianni Grippo is a two-time IBJJF no-gi world champion and a three-time no-gi Pans champion, and was the ECI 145-pound champion. Grippo experienced one of his best years of competition in 2021, showing off new skills and finishing instincts, perhaps thanks a change in training environment.
Grippo used truly unbreakable back control in the overtime rounds to win the 145-pound ECI, and he’ll likely look to repeat that approaching going into the 155-pound tournament.
How to watch: The Emerald City Invitational 4 takes place on Saturday, March 12 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).