The sixth Metamoris event kicks off Saturday in bizarre fashion as the organization has refused entry to both media and fans and elected to essentially not promote the card. Much of whatever is planned has been kept secret. That said, the card itself features top MMA and UFC stars, decorated jiu-jitsu champions and everything in between.
What: Metamoris 6
Where: California, U.S.A.
When: The live stream for all matches begins on Metamoris.com at 6 p.m. ET
Josh Barnett vs. Ryron Gracie
All the respect in the world to Gracie for taking this on short notice (although I'm told it's been known for some time Cyborg Abreu was injured) as well as being hugely undersized, but I just don't see how he gets this done. Barnett is too good and too dominant with position and pressure. Gracie has sensational defense, so even with a draw he looks like a winner, but he's going to have to block all the cross faces Dean Lister didn't, stay out of side control and not live on bottom. That is going to be a miserable place to be for 20 minutes.
Chael Sonnen vs. Babalu Sobral
It's not entirely clear Sobral can defeat Sonnen if he pulls guard or somehow ends up on bottom. Sonnen's balance, posture and willingness to not engage on his opposition's terms makes it hard to do much of anything. If the Brazilian can get to the back, however, now we're talking. I'm not ruling out half guard sweeps or reversals, but Sonnen probably has the ability to stand up if he finds himself on bottom. On Sonnen's back, though, Sobral might be able to do wonders, if not choking him, then finding an arm for any number of attacks.
Joe Lauzon vs. Dillon Danis
I have a ton of respect for Lauzon, not just because of his abilities, but athletic courage as well. He has a self belief and commitment to the process of winning that takes the costs of battle for what they are. Technically speaking, he also has enough to make things interesting early. Danis is the Marcelo Garcia student who is king of the kneebars. His run at the most recent Pan Ams was beyond exception. As it turns out, Lauzon may not be on the same level as Danis, but he lives in the same world and speaks the same language. Ultimately, I expect the better grappler of the two to do what he does, but the back and forth early should be fun.
Xande Ribeiro vs. Keenan Cornelius
This one is tough to call. Ribeiro is a superb guard passer, so I'm not sure Cornelius wants to spend time underneath if he can't play worm guard. Besides, he's been working his long step pass on everyone, perhaps that's a plan if he can make it happen. How he gets there? I don't know. Reverse de la Riva? Single-leg X? It's a really tough call. Once on top, Cornelius can pass and maintain position, but I have a feeling neither is going to get out of this what they want.
Clark Gracie vs. Roberto Satoshi
Since this is a gi match, Satoshi should look much better this time. He is great with attacks from sleeve control, particularly sweeps. He has fantastic half guard sweeps, and I suspect he'll prefer to take position while Gracie pulls. From there, I'm looking for Gracie to work a berimbolo to the back (or his vaunted oma plata game) while Satoshi works to stuff half positions, use the gi grips for brabo chokes and catch Gracie in transition. I suspect both guys will end not catching the other in a competitive match.
Jeff Monson vs. Jimmy Friedrich
I'm not sure what to make of this. Monson is as credentialed a heavyweight no gi grappler as they come, but is beaten down by years of injury, surgery and the like. He still looks physically intimidating, but I'm not sure he has the mechanical movement he once had. Friedrich, on the other hand, can invert, re-guard quick and possesses a nice array of leg attacks, all chained together in interconnected webs. Part of me wants to say 20 minutes is too long for Monson to handle. The other part tells me he'll pass guard rather easily, only to secure any variety of choke he's known for with a fair amount of ease.