I’m barely making my deadline due to a glorious Zoom-powered parents’ back to school night for my eldest son.  Nevertheless, your cure for a case of the Mondays is here.  Sadly, the final week of the season is upon us.  Let us not mourn the passing of the first season of the PGF, but revel in how awesome it has been.  Hat’s off to BMAC and team for creating something very compelling, beneficial for competitors and fans alike.  I know we’ve all seen the level of skill grow in many competitors and as one person in the chat said last Friday, it seems like we’re all buddies hanging out every Friday night. Again, thank you to BMAC and crew for expanding their community to include us all.

This week will both give us important information heading into the tournament and also determine the PGF’s first season champion.  Elijah Carlton has been the odds-on favorite throughout the season.  He’s come out and submitted every opponent.  He built what seemed an unassailable lead over everyone only to see it chipped away by three opponents.  Nilo Bergener and Caleb McAllister have both amassed 86 points, only five behind Elijah.  Matt “the Mane” Elkins is just behind them with 84 points, only seven (one choke/kill) behind Elijah.  Not to get ahead of my fantasy analysis, but the Mane has three matches and is likely to get three kills, for 21 points, finishing with 105 points. Nilo Bergener looks to score another blackjack for 21 points in his three matches, finishing with 107 points (Mario Gaor is his most game opponent this week and has the best shot of forcing a break or draw).  Caleb McAllister and Elijah Carlton both have to face Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts who defeated Nilo Bergener.  If Caleb can only get 14 points (getting a draw with Roberts), he finishes with 100 points.  If Elijah can only get a break on Roberts, he’ll likely end up with 105 points to tie for second with the Mane (an even crazier scenario would be if Jeremy “Knee Barrista” Geiger forces Elijah to only get a break, ending with 101 points in third overall).  Okay, the nerd in me is getting out of control.  We’ll just have to see how the scenarios work themselves out.  Sufficed to say, there’s some great matches to anticipate for this week:

Bonus Match: Matt “Scarecrow of Doom” Harrison (brown) v Mike “Manscape” Richey (white) –  I think this match will crown the toughest guy to submit (obviously excluding the top guys in the PGF). The SOD has been submitted by Dallas Sharp in one of the best matches in the PGF (great comeback by Sharp), Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts, and Matt “the Mane” Elkins.  I’m not counting the Knee Barrista because I believe he tapped first. Manscape has only been submitted by Nilo and Elijah (two of the top four competitors in the league). Both these guys are TOUGH to submit.  I think the question is whether the SOD can get Manscape into his guard.  If the SOD gets you in his guard, it’s nightmare time.  Manscape is a super strong man. Can he overwhelm the SOD with his strength and wrestling?  The SOD has no problem sitting guard and catching opponents in his web.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this match went to a draw, but it will be entertaining the whole time.

5. Moises Carrasco (purple) v Jeremy “Knee Barrista” Geiger (blue) – This match pits a MMA fighter purple belt against a collegiate wrestler blue belt. Moises has shown he’s legit in bjj.  Even with a crazy schedule the last week, he has only been submitted this season by Elijah Carlton, who had to settle for a break.  Moises has taken PGF heavy hitters the likes of Kevin “Liquid Terminator” Primeau, Blake “Boy Wonder” Randall, and Caleb McAllister to draws.  This MMA fighter has the defense and determination to make it a long match when he isn’t using his guillotine, darce, and peruvian neckties to submit his opponent.  The Knee Barrista won his moniker because he has four knee bars in the league to complement his top-notch wrestling skills. Geiger is the man on the bubble in the Eastern Conference.  He leads the next competitor, Josh Diaddario, by 11 points, but Diaddario has five matches.  The Knee Barrista has this match, a match against Elijah Carlton (the number one overall), and a match against Mike “Manscape” Ritchey who has only been submitted by the top two competitors in the PGF (Elijah and Nilo Bergener).  The Knee Barrista needs every submission he can get to assure his entry into the tournament on 2 October.  Moises is sitting at fifth place in the Western Conference.  While his place may not matter, he’s currently two points outside of the top eight in the league, meaning he’s OUT of the money picture unless he can score some submissions.  In this match, Moises and Geiger both have strong motivation to fight for the submission.

4. Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts (brown) v Moises Carrasco (purple)– As mentioned above, Moises Carrasco has proved his bone fides in the grappling arena.  Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts earned his name for a reason; he’s a stone cold joint breaking killer.  The Elbow Genie has thrown out conventional wisdom and eschewed the seven points offered by chokes/kills, opting to illustrate his breaking wizardry (okay, he’s actually choked three out of 14 competitors he’s defeated).  The Elbow Genie has been one of three competitors featured on BMAC’s Youtube Channel in a PGF Insider profile and is the first PGF competitor to have his best submissions earn their own video.  The reason he’s received this attention is pure skill and breaking potential.  He turned a slick side control escape into a heel hook against Nilo Bergener (who is widely regarded as in the top three in the league) and almost took out Matt “the Mane” Elkins in the first 60 seconds of their match.  While he ultimately lost to the Mane, it could have gone either way and you have to figure their familiarity with each other had to help Elkins.  The Elbow Genie’s match of the week fight against Kevin “the Liquid Terminator” Primeau lived up to expectations. While it was a draw, it was a very even match showcasing Primeau’s passing and Roberts’ slick submission setups.  The betting money has to go on the Elbow Genie in this match.  Roberts will likely sit guard which will save a lot of time other so he can attack submissions.  Roberts disregard for points means he’ll latch onto the first appendage available and look to take it home with him.  Moises showed some good passing against leg lockers in his first few matches, but those opponents were no Elbow Genie.

3. Joe “Cobra” Kai (brown) v Eric Longar (brown) – Skill and athleticism will shine in this match.  So often, both these competitors are giving up 10s of pounds against their opponents in the PGF.  While jiujitsu is known to give smaller folks a shot against opponents, the greater a size differential limits the range of techniques available to a competitor.  With these brown belts being similar in size, we should see their full arsenals at work.  Kai is third in the Western Conference. Longar is sixth in the Eastern conference.  Neither really needs to improve their rankings, but Longar could drop to eight if he’s not careful as he only leads Jeremy “Knee Barrista” Geiger by three points.  In his best matches, Longar’s been known for his side-to-side passing.  Still, Longar hasn’t submitted anyone ranked above a blue belt. Kai has grown into one of the stars of the PGF, showing off his motor with constant passing and submission attempts. It will be hard for Longar to match Kai’s athleticism, but this match should show us if Longar can rise to the occasion when he’s in a fight in his weight class.

2. Caleb McAllister (black) v Jonathon “Elbow Genie” Roberts (brown) – Caleb has been a great addition to the PGF.  He brings a strong drive and years of competitive experience.  He’s submitted everyone he’s faced with the exception of Kevin “Liquid Terminator” Primeau and Moises Carrasco, with the latter somewhat stalling for a lot of the match with two long-held guillotines.  Caleb’s going to come in with a fast pace, looking for passing and submissions. Like the Roberts v Primeau match, it will be a question of Roberts’ submissions/guard v McAllister’s passing.  I’m a huge Elbow Genie fan, but there’s a good chance Caleb can pass Roberts guard.  The final question will likely be whether the Elbow Genie be able to pull off some more magic like he did against Nilo and almost did against the Mane?  McAllister’s a great talent, but no one is safe rolling with the Elbow Genie.

1. Elijah Carlton (black) v Jonathon “Elbow Genie” Roberts (brown) – Ellijah’s been the pick to win the PGF from the beginning of the PGF.  He’s defeated all of his opponents, settling for a break instead of a kill on only five of his 15 submissions.  Essentially, it seemed like Elijah’s game plan was to assess his opponent’s strength, going for the kill against manageable opponents, settling for a break against trickier foes.  As the Elbow Genie, many fans think Roberts has a shot at an upset here. There’s no denying Roberts has slick submission setups from all over.  But as mentioned, we haven’t seen all of Elijah’s breaking game.  When he’s needed it, his leg locks and arm bars have shown up and they’ve been pretty. As mentioned above, Elijah is up by only five points over Nilo Bergener and Caleb McAllister and seven points over Matt “the Mane” Elkins. Will winning the season motivate Elijah to go for the kill or will he assess the Elbow Genie as a threat and try to go for the quick break?  Will Roberts be able to maintain his guard or recover it if Elijah passes?  Even more interesting, could we see a leg entanglement battle between the Elbow Genie and Elijah?  Elijah is the betting favorite, but this match should give us a lot of information going into the tournament.

I hope you like the roll-up of my most anticipated matches for Week 9.  I will push out my Week 9 fantasy analysis on Wednesday.

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