Nick Rodriguez, Vagner Rocha, others slated for absolute tournament at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4

Nick Rodriguez and seven other elite grapplers will compete in an eight-man absolute tournament at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4.

The UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 is shaping up to be one of the most significant grappling events of the summer. In addition to a main event clash between Craig Jones and Felipe Pena, the card will also feature an eight-man absolute tournament that includes a number of the planet’s top competitors squaring off for a chance at $30,000. The event is set to go down on Thursday, June 29.

One of those competitors – multiple-time ADCC medalist Vagner Rocha – posted the tournament lineup on Instagram.

UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 absolute tournament lineup:

  • Haisam Rida
  • “Big” Dan Manasoiu
  • Fellipe Andrew
  • Vagner Rocha
  • Gabriel Arges
  • Fedor Nikolov
  • Nick Rodriguez
  • Pedro Rocha

While the promotion hasn’t yet released details regarding the matches, previous UFC Fight Pass Invitational events implemented an EBI ruleset.

Several names in the eight-man field jump out. One early favorite will be two-time ADCC silver medalist Nick Rodriguez. A top-tier wrestler with arguably the best body-lock pass in the world and a seemingly endless gas tank, Rodriguez has proven to be a real threat under EBI rules. In addition to being an EBI champion, his December 2022 match against Gordon Ryan under EBI rules proved that he can hang with – and nearly defeat – the absolute best grapplers in the world.

Another name to look out for is Rodriguez’s B-Team teammate Haisam Rida. Tall and lanky with excellent athleticism, Rida is an explosive submission threat, evidenced by his sensational, lightning-fast armbar finish on Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu at the 2022 ADCC World Championships.

Fellipe Andrew has consistently been ranked as the top IBJJF black belt competitor in the world, so it will be interesting to see him test his high-paced, all-around game against fresh opponents and in a new ruleset. And while the Alliance representative is best known for his many accomplishments in the gi, athletes like Nicholas Meregali and Tommy Langaker have proven that the transition to the elite no-gi scene is certainly possible.

Other notable names include Vagner Rocha, who is undeniably the most experienced competitor in the field, although he will likely give up a significant size advantage to some of the field’s heavyweight competitors. One of those will be New Wave product “Big” Dan Manasoiu, who possesses a dangerous leg lock and back-taking game but has shown improvements in all areas over the past year.

How to watch: The UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 takes place on Thursday, June 29 and will air live on UFC Fight Pass (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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