Next Emerald City Invitational Taking Shape, 3 Elite Competitors Announced

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).

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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