ARE YOU READY?????????? Brandon Mccaghren, aka BMAC, aka the Commish, announced the final PGF Season 3 roster on the PGF Insider show the week before last. This post is tardy, but that’s life in the fast lane. I’m going to give a quick recap of what we know about PGF Season 3 to any new viewers, then get onto the roster.
PGF Season 3 nuts and bolts: If you don’t know how PGF Season 3 is going to work, I’ll give you a quick recap of what we know. On 9 January, the Season 3 competitors will assemble in Decatur, AL. The first day, they will weigh in for the first and only time they have to make 170 lbs (so folks like Randy Roden and Kevin Primeau will be 170 for all of one minute, at least until they get that awesome Chilis cheesecake so popular with PGF competitors). That evening on the 9th, the competitors will partake in a combine. Season 1’s combine was streamed and included hang time from a pullup bar, a cone drill, broad jump, etc. The coaches of the four teams will DRAFT their teams the following day on 10 January. The competitors will have 12 matches during the regular season, with none of the matches going against their teammates, opening up the possibility of team points and eliminating the chances of COLLUSION (which would never occur in the PGF and destroy an Egghead’s chances at fantasy fame). With only 12 matches, not everyone will face each other round-robin style like season 2, it’ll be much more like PGF Season 1 where had to wait until the PGF Post-Season tournament to see Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton face off against Caleb McAllister. The competitors will have their three matches a day from Monday through Thursday with Friday serving as a rest day before the post-season tournament on Saturday, 15 January. The PGF is partnering with another promotion to have a full day of matches with the PGF post-season tournament being the main event. Different from the past two seasons, the PGF post-season tournament will be an EBI Rules match with three overtime periods (sorry Kevin “Pete Rose of the PGF” Primeau, no more 1hr+ matches).
Scoring: BMAC made the PGF full of incentives for action. The winner of the regular season and the eight competitors who will advance to the post-season tournament must accumulate as many points in their 12 matches as possible. Each match only lasts six minutes. Since the goal is to gain as many points as possible, a draw where both competitors earn no points is an outcome. Competitors can earn three points for a “Break” which is any joint lock (e.g. arm bar, leg lock, etc.). Competitors earn six points for a “Kill” which is a choke (anything under the nose is a choke so neck cranks count). Competitors can garner an additional bonus point, using “the Elbow Genie” rule – where any submission in the first minute of a match earns that bonus point. Again, there are no advantages, no referee’s rulings, there’s only submissions or draws. As we’ve seen in the qualifiers as well as the two prior seasons, this ruleset really drives the action.
As mentioned previously, the Competitors will be DRAFTED by the coaches of the four teams. EVERYONE who is drafted will get paid – and the draft order determines the minimum amount each competitor receives. First rounders will receive $750 each, $500 for second rounders, and $100 for those last rounders. At this time, the stand-bys (oh, am I skipping ahead?) have no preset amount they will receive. But before we talk about the roster, let’s look at our coaches:
- Jake Elkins and Matt Elkins: the Elkins brothers!!!!! I know some really smart guy who was lobbying for having the Elkins bros. coach this season. I think his moniker’s initials are E.W. Jake is a wrestling aficionado, having been a AL state champ and wrestled in college (I think all american, but sorry if I’m incorrect). Regardless, he’s a purple belt under BMAC/the Commish and has excelled at both teaching wrestling to National-level talent and has worked to adapt traditional wrestling to jiu jitsu. Matt “The Mane—still bummed he cut his hair” Elkins is the younger brother of Jake, but the higher belk in jiu jitsu as a brown belt. Matt is also an AL wrestling state champion and was an MMA fighter until fairly recently. Matt also has one of the most profesh and killer front headlock/chinstrap set of submissions around. As another wild aside, when I went to train at 10th Planet Decatur prior to the Season 2 finale, I found out Jake Elkins is their wrestling coach and Matt Elkins is their striking coach….are you kidding me??? Ya’ll folks living in and around Decatur are SPOILED! Any competitor picked by this team should be leveling up their wrestling for jiu jitsu a lot during the season.
- Eli Knight – if I have to explain how awesome Eli Knight is, I’m not sure how you got to this page. Please check out his YouTube Channel and Instagram. Eli was one the guys who many of us on ship followed and downloaded technique videos when we were in port to figure out how to improve our jiu jitsu at sea. He had awesome no-gi, gi, self-defense, basically everything you could want online. I’m very excited to see him as a part of the PGF.
- Drew Weatherhead – Because Jiu Jitsu owner, BJJ black belt, regular on the Around the Mat show. If you only know him from the Around the Mat show, you might think Drew is just a funny Canadian guy. I assure you, check out his tutorials and technique videos. He’s a technician and will be great to see teach competitors and will be funny trading barbs with other coaches.
- Sean Applegate – @Trapplegate10P is working on taking over the SE US grappling scene if not the world grappling scene. He sent two of his lower belt students to take down two qualifiers and almost had another student take down a third. He has anothe student who won CJJ Worlds and got to the round of 16 in the ADCC trials. Applegate is known as the authority on leg locks and as one of the calmest coaches matside. I wouldn’t be surprised if his team members started making pilgrimages to Atlanta after learning from Applegate.
Okay guys, let’s get onto the roster. As mentioned previously, I’m late with putting this out. I’m also going to crib some notes from previous Matologies. Hey, my eldest is a senior and is in the H.S. football playoffs. He was recognized as the defensive player of the game in the last win and I’m about to fly out to see his next game. Work and travel for the man-child has been kicking my behind…so that’s my excuse for now. I’ll take my laptop with me and work while I’m out there to provide more content. I don’t think I’ll hit it in this post, but many of our competitor threw their hats in the ring at the ADCC trials. Their matches as well as other matches in the past will be used in our (McDojo Show/PGF Insider) pre-draft special and my fantasy analysis in the future. Okay, NOW ON TO THE ROSTER!!!!
1. Elijah Carlton (auto bid) – the Bad Guy who will be the first in the future PGF Hall of Fame received the first at-large/invitational bid. The Bad Guy will have competed in all three seasons suffering only two losses, both to Hunter “the Professional” Colvin last season. Of note, he trains under his local gyms, but is also a student of BMAC and Sean Applegate. Will Applegate pick the Bad Guy or will he use his knowledge to help someone defeat Elijah’s intrepid guard?
2. Jeovany Ortiz (Black)(Decatur winner) – Jeo brought smooth skill to the Decatur qualifier. His technique was very nice to watch. Jeo weathered a lot of aggression from other players, only to wear them out and submit them. Jeo has competed against Elijah and Caleb previously and should not be surprised when he faces them in Season 3 (links forthcoming). Jeovany was very chill during the qualifier. I need to review some tape on him. His skill is legit, but I’m a little worried about him playing to the level of his competition.
3. Caleb McAllister (Black)(auto bid) – PGF Season 1 runner up now gets to compete at his natural weight. McAllister is such a motivating person. Follow him at @calebmcallisterofficial on Instagram. He has a win over Elijah previously. He’s a former MMA fighter, solid black belt, who trains and competes relentlessly. Caleb will push anyone to their breaking point. I really think the change in the post-season from pure submission only to EBI rules does not favor Caleb – no one would out work Caleb (tip of the cap to you Primeau). Regardless, I think we’ll all learn from watching Caleb’s performances and the way he conducts himself throughout the season – he’s all class.
4. David “Quadzilla” Evers (purple) – Evers is a beast, a little spark plug of grappling. Once he gets his grips on you, good luck getting free. Evers has a split lineage, first studying under a Renzo Gracie black belt in Kansas, then in 10P Huntsville. He said a lot of positional sparring has really helped him compete well. Of note, Quadzilla took out the Elbow Genie at the Decatur qualifier on his way to earning second place. If you can take out the Elbow Genie, you might do ok in the PGF. Evers is one of those guys who could be really interesting to watch. We saw he had a comfort zone in his leg locks but will he be able to go for the kills in the season to earn a bid to the post-season?
5. Kevin Sherrill (purple)(Atlanta winner) – Kevin (@kevingrapples) has been grappling since he was 13 (we really saw the old wrestler come out when he face Matthew Boiles in the semifinals of the Atlanta qualifier). I think he’s only been in jiu jitsu for a few years, but he can really grapple. He handily won the Atlanta qualifier. Of course all his opponents will want to check out the MidSouth Classic match of his against Matt “Maneless” Elkins to see how Matt used his patented guillotine to get a submission over Kevin…but then they’d have to match the quality of the Matt Elkin front headlock which will be hard to match. Regardless, Kevin is a VERY dangerous purple belt. Apparently, he’s accepted a position with X3 North Marietta as their no-gi grappling coach. It’s said the best way to master something is to teach it, so this position could really help him step up his game. One has to assume he got the green light from Sean Applegate before joining a possible competitor gym – if not, we could see some interesting stuff in the season.
6. Tyler Woolsey (purple)(Fort Myers winner) – Woolsey has a great story. He started off as a teenager learning the 10P system, but had to focus on work and school at college. After setting himself up as a professional, he came back to jiu jitsu and has been killing it. As a fun aside, the Commish sent Walo and I footage of Woolsey being coached/cornered by the Commish and Coach Applegate. Even as a brand new purple belt, I think Woolsey is sandbagging it a bit and will catch folks by surprise. He won the Fort Myers qualifier which was the smallest qualifier, but ended up being ran like a mini-PGF season, so Woolsey has had a bit of a taste of what the PGF has in store for him and his fellow competitors. This little experience might help him even more going into those first few rounds. While mat time is mat time, I think those folks who start then come back on occasion may have a surprising advantage on those folks who blitzkrieg the art. There’s something to be said for allowing concepts to really settle into one’s mind, to allow the subconscious to figure out solutions to issues. I think Woolsey is going to be an upset special in the making for fantasy.
7. Isaac Stackhouse (purple) – The Rudy of the PGF, Isaac has made it to all the qualifiers. As the Commish let slip with 18 minutes left in the feed of final qualifer, Isaac was present and ready to enter the Austin qualifier; however, due to Conscious Keelan being unable to attend, they needed a cameraman. We all know Isaac is an outstanding cameraman. The Commish offered the second at-large bid (which we all knew was coming) and asked Isaac to help out. Isaac is an old school MMA fighter. He came up rough in that scene and has no quit in him. Isaac trains with many instructors throughout the Southeast (as he wanders…get it?). In the long run, this mixing of instruction should make Isaac a more well-rounded grappler, but is it stunting immediate growth? Regardless, if you want to have a match where fans know anything can happen and it will be a battle, put Rudy in there. Isaac’s going to level up even more this season and surprise some folks with his grit and skill.
8. Kevin Primeau (purple) – The first rule of fantasy PGF is never bet against the Liquid Terminator; it appears that rule might be a universal rule, not relegated only to fantasy. As a quick note, he earned the nickname the liquid terminator thanks to his sweat glands and “The Pete Rose of the PGF” for his Season 1 prowess in the PGF Fantasy competition. Season 2 precluded Primeau from competing in the fantasy as it was previously filmed, but this season since it’s live will allow Primeau to once again compete against us mere mortal for fantasy supremacy. Primeau showed outstanding jiu jitsu in PGF Season 1, including a finale match which lasted more than 72 minutes. Primeau fell prey to the Rona before Season 2, but still showed up and competed. Due to his diminished cardio, we didn’t see the smash/Sao Paolo passes, but saw some crafty, prison-rules submission from Primeau. At the Decatur qualifier, we saw a lot of long smash passing by Primeau but not much else as his passing usually took around four minutes of the match. After he passed, Primeau didn’t have enough time to get the submission. I’ll agree with Walo that Primeau is one of the fan favorites and I’m sure he’ll deliver an entertaining PGF season. I think we heard from every participant in season 2 that they all knew they couldn’t look past Primeau. Season 3 competitors should heed the warning from the Season 2 folks – don’t sleep on the Pete Rose of the PGF.
9. Marcus Elkins (Blue) – The Elkins are like cowbell…I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. The baby Elkins brother has something to prove after his two elder brothers have had such great showing in the PGF. Just like he had to win a state championship in wrestling to leave the little kids table at Thanksgiving dinner; he will feel the pressure to show up and perform for the PGF. He’s been at multiple qualifiers. He’s shown some great darce submissions and great wrestling. And he brings a great story with his and his family’s ongoing connection to the PGF.
10. Dane Leak (Black)(Austin winner) – (Clinch Martial Arts Academy, a Jean Jacques Machado affiliate academy) – Owasso, Oklahoma? You couldn’t have even been from Broken Arrow? Just kidding, I have family in Okie land, so I make fun occasionally. Anyway, Dane made his presence FELT with a series of back takes and rear naked chokes to win the Austin qualifier. Dane let us know he used to train with Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (season 2 winner) often. Dane just celebrated 10 years in jiu jitsu. Dane’s just a bad man. He showed take downs, top game, bottom game, leglocks, as well as his favorite mount, to gift wrap, to backtake, to RNC finish. Dane had some really great matches and should be a real contender in the season. He also had the deepest run of all competitors in the ADCC trials (spoiler alert!).
11. Kevin Beuhring (Blue)(Jacksonville Winner) – Coach Applegate in Atlanta seems like he’s in the beginning stages of taking over the grappling world. As mentioned previously, he put the two Kevins out there to take down two qualifiers, then he sent his padawan to win the CJJ Worlds, then he sent another student to take down the PGF Austin qualifier – and he came close. 10P Atlanta is making a real case for folks to emigrate to their fine city (also, if you love burgers, hit up that Bocado Burger in Alpharetta, it’s one of the best in the country). But back to the second Kevin (I hear he prefers not to be called 10P Atlanta Kevin #2 – that’s a Mallrats callback to you youngins). Anyway, “Beurk” has been training a little over ONE YEAR. He’s shown himself to be deadly with those 10P Atlanta leg locks, but more importantly, he showed the ability to use the threat of the leglocks to takes game opponents’ backs and get other submissions. Beurk faced some great competition at the PGF Jacksonville qualifier, really showing his abilities. Beurk is a great story to watch for in Season 3. My feeling is he’s going to have to hope to hit submissions in time to gain the advantage of the Elbow Genie rule if he wants to get to the post-season. We’ve seen him use other submissions, but he still feels like a bit of a leglock specialist. Maybe I’m wrong. From all accounts, Beurk is making bjj his life and is hitting his stride in competition. We’ll see how far he gets.
12. Jonathan Roberts (Black) – The Elbow Genie was masterful, showing some beautiful jiu jitsu in Season 1. We need to see more, especially since this season will be closer to his true weight class. C’mon, Roberts has one of the best nicknames in the game and has a rule made/named after him. He won’t complain about it, but he had a bumm knee at the 10P Decatur Qualifiers and the same injury limited his ability to hit other qualifiers. Regardless, the Elbow Genie has earned his spot and we all look forward to some wizardry from the fairly new black belt this season.
13. Noah Randolph (Purple) – Noah Randolph was a fan favorite from season 1. His matches propelled many of us to the upper echelons of the fantasy ranks. He refuses to breathe through his mouth. He refuses to make any facial expressions. He refuses to tap to mere mortals. Noah’s also the worst kept secret of the Grappling Discourse Podcast (we all know Skaff was referring to Noah when he was talking about the ninja choke master). The word on the street is Noah has been wrecking visitors coming to 10th Planet Decatur (although I admit I missed the honor when I visited before the season 2 finale). What can I say, the calculus of grappling a high schooler is complex…if I win, I’m an old man beating up on a kid; if I lose (which I’m confident I would lose), I just lost to a teenager. Well, I’m sorry folks, but a lot of PGF Season 3 folks will be getting tuned up by this teenager.
14. Evan Dewitt (Black) – the runner-up from the Louisville qualifier. He’s a black belt from Chewjitsu’s gym (Derby City MMA). As we saw with the Scarecrow of Doom from PGF Season 1, they have a great set of fans. More importantly, Dewitt has some great jiu jitsu and was fun to watch. He was almost guaranteed a spot when they were in Louisville. It makes sense he’s on the list as he further solidifies the Derby City MMA folks but also gives us some Cincinnati coverage.
15. Matt Harrison (Black) – Out of Derby City MMA (Chewjitsu’s gym), Harrison earned the best nickname of the PGF in the first season. Dubbed “the Scarecrow of Doom,” which has a shorter nickname of the “SOD,” Harrison showed a ridiculous closed guard game leading to devastating triangles. Mario Gaor might have found a solution by always attacking the SOD’s legs when he goes for closed guard, but this strategy could be tricky. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see the hardened veteran who is now a black belt – one thinks his coach and him will have some good strategies coming into this season. Also, it’ll be good to see the Derby City MMA army in the live chat.
16. Manning Leverett (purple) – was in season 2 finale and won a match against a very game opponent. This 10th Planet Jacksonville product was hurt in the Jacksonville qualifier but the Commish said he was interested in giving him a spot. He’s a young man and had a very respectable ADCC run. A lot of folks may look past him to their peril.
17. Matthew Boiles (Blue) – He’s a young blue belt and a real go-getter. Okay, I’m biased. The PGF Insiders picked him for a sponsored entry in the Atlanta qualifier, AND HE PROVED US RIGHT! He performed very well, pushing the pace in his matches, going for submissions. He lost in the semifinals to the eventual winner. The Commish said he wanted to see more out of him. So we tried to get him to the Jacksonville qualifier, but he couldn’t get off work. He was focusing on no gi worlds, but didn’t have the right IBJJF lineage (yeah, that’s some b.s.) to compete. Regardless, he’s the type of competitor who will either make a highlight or be someone else’s highlight and he’s just a great kid from every interaction I’ve had with him. I am insanely pumped he made the list and am now hoping he gets a roster spot. For all the coaches, you don’t get money based on your results. Please, take a young man who could use the benefit of your tutelage and show your prowess by how he progresses the season. And thanks BMAC and Keelan for giving the kid a chance.
18. Carlos Andres (Purple) – Carlos brought a wrestler’s scrambling along with solid leg locks to the qualifier for a deep run. As Walo said on the PGF Insider, we’ve been talking about Carlos Andres as an exciting competitor for months. Regardless of the qualifier, we always went back to Carlos as someone who needed to be considered for the roster. The PGF audience has limited exposure to Carlos, but we may be very pleasantly surprised to see his wrestling and jiu jitsu in the season.
19. Eric Longar (Brown) – Eric Longar looked much more comfortable in a competition near his normal weight when we saw him in the Louisville qualifier. Longar was actually winning his match against Gaor until the last minute when Gaor pulled off the ankle lock from double outside ashi. As a season 1 veteran, Longar should be comfortable with the format. Longar is a crafty black belt and has great side-to-side passing. He would be a good addition to the PGF. He could probably use a shave and a haircut as he is reaching mountain man status there. Still, Eric was always an X factor in season one which was at 195 lbs. At 170 pounds, he should be still bringing his lateral movement but with normal size for the weight class to back it up.
20. Joshua Gibbs (Purple) – our shipmate was a Season 2 alumnus who bulked up to try to meet the higher weight class. Now, he’s back nearer his natural weight. Joshua uses a more traditional jiu jitsu. He’s more likely to get a competitor in the full guard than to do anything flashy. Regardless, he has the heart to take matches the full way. Joshua will make competitors fight for any finishes they get. He had a great match in the 3rd place match against the SOD in the Louisville qualifier.
21. Louis Collins (purple) – Louis is a grit warrior. He’s a hard out. I bet against him, saying Elijah would get a kill against him and Louis made me eat my words. He’s a good mix of traditional and 10P styles. He’s very tough, adept at traditional jiu jitsu and very adept at leg locks.
22. Keahi Makekau (Blue) – KEAHI!!!!! He just earned his blue belt. He’s a vet from season 1 where he lost all matches except one (here’s looking at you original Mike Johnson). Regardless of all the matches and losses, Keahi faced each new match like a true warrior – with enthusiasm. In his Austin qualifier match, he showed much improved defense and was dangerously close to submitting his opponent with a kimura. It will be great for fans to see his growth from the inaugural season to now.
23. Mario Gaor (brown)(Louisville winner) – Mario came in and won a small but very competitive Louisville qualifier. A very undersized Mario entered PGF season 1 and found a lot of success against larger opponents. In the Louisville qualifier, we saw some of those slick moves we’ve been seeing on that @neckstepbjj Instagram page. Mario took down two black belts with a double outside ashi ankle lock which shouldn’t work, but he dedicated an Instagram post to the PGF Insiders, showing how he made it work. Mario will likely be underestimated this season, giving a chance to pull off some real upsets.
24. Randy Roden – (blue belt, Scramble BJJ)- Roden brings a story of seeing a great wrestler (D1 at Duke) who had just been training jiu jitsu for one year at the beginning of PGF Season 2 where he competed. The fact that Roden made the big cut to 170lb and has the ability to be exciting on the mats and show progress to the fans…well, that makes him a compelling watch this season. With his athleticism and overall grappling ability, Roden will only get deadlier with time. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t get drafted.
Okay, now for some wrapup comments. So, we listed 24 instead of 20. Well, like a jury trial, we’re going to empanel some alternates from the get-go. Should a player get injured or have some other life event that compels them to leave the competition, the PGF will have four other competitors to take their place. In this scenario, potential competitors can still learn while main competitors can give their all without the concern of letting down their teammates if they get injured.
That’s it for the breakdown of the roster….for now. We’ll work on getting more footage and begin talking about skill sets/etc. of each competitor.