Fan Faves Collide Sat. at Decatur Qualifier!

The Professional Grappling Federation returns to HQ – 10th Planet Decatur this Saturday, 13 May for the second PGF Season 5 qualifier. Fans will be delighted to see multiple fan favorites vie for the second roster spot, joining Handsome Kevin Sherrill in competing for the 185 pound championship. Those fan favorites include Joshua “Full Time” Gibbs, Maximus “Rock Troll” Jolly, Carson Thigpen, and Sawyer Griffin. But fans should also be looking for a late entrant…Nekiaya Jackson, last season’s ladies 135 champ, might just sneak into qualifier.

The Dream Stephen Eakin interviews Joshua “Full Time” Gibbs after his super fight at the PGF Season 4 Finale. Photo Courtesy of Walo Jay.

Starting with the gentlemen, we start with a true gentleman. Joshua “Full Time” Gibbs got his start with the PGF in Season 2. Season 2 was the 225 pound men’s division. Coming from Nomad Jiu Jitsu, Gibbs was undersized for the division but competed admirably. Throughout the entire season, he was all class. Gibbs exhibited an ever-positive spirit while never giving up against the competition. Gibbs came back for Season 3. Even though he performed exceptionally well at the pre-season combine (I believe he was the best at the assault bike event), the coaches waited until the last round to draft him. This selection meant Gibbs was relegated to being an “alternate” or “bench” player for his respective team – meaning he would only get a match if the coach had or chose to pull another competitor out of a match. Gibbs watched the first night of competition from the bullpen, garnering no matches. Still, he remained upbeat and even went on a two-mile run the next morning to get his physical training in (he was a Navy man after all). Shortly after his PT, Gibbs got the call, a teammate was injured on the first night and Gibbs was going from replacement to FULL TIME. Gibbs performed admirably in the regular Season 3 competition like he had in Season 2, but he REALLY shined during the first-ever Such N Such BATTLERAMA! The fans watching PGF Season 3 live stream began to raise money for a special single-elimination tournament for the replacement/bench players who were drafted in the last round. So, on the last night of the regular season, the alternates had their shot. After defeating PGF veteran Louis Collins, Full Time Gibbs had to face a Tasmanian Devil in the form of Matthew Boiles. Boiles came at Gibbs with a flurry of attacks, but Gibbs continually escaped and endured. After tiring Boiles out, Gibbs scored the submission, earning him a nice check for $2,000 as the winner of the Such N Such BATTLERAMA! (5:12:35). Gibbs now stands ready to enter Season 5 of the PGF. He’s a two-season veteran. In our talks with Gibbs, he assured us “I’m not going to be an alternate this season.” We’ll see how it shakes out for FULL TIME, but rest assured he has a lot of fans who have his back.

The Dream Stephen Eakin interviews Maximus “Rock Troll” Jolly during the PGF Season 4 Finale. Photo Courtesy of Walo Jay.

Maximus “Rock Troll” Jolly took the PGF by storm in Season 4! He came from 10th Planet Cookeville and proved to be a buzz saw, submitting all his opponents at the Chattanooga qualifier. During his second match, the First Lady of the PGF, 10th Planet Black Belt, and PGF Commentator, Lindsay Mccaghren mentioned Jolly looked like the main Rock Troll from the Disney film Frozen, with his constant half-smile. From that moment, Maximus formerly “Prime” Jolly became the Rock Troll. Jolly put his character on display with a very fun interview with the PGF Insiders before the season began. In the regular season of PGF Season 4, Jolly was a standout. He snagged limbs left and right, leg or arm. The Rock Troll put some real fear into his opponents. Eventually, Jolly made it to the Season 4 Finale, losing in the semifinals. Small in stature, the Rock Troll sports a banty rooster’s demeanor and a farm hand’s strength. And Jolly isn’t afraid to grip it and rip it whenever he secures an opponent’s limb. Asked about this upcoming qualifier, the Rock Troll said he’s choosing to show off some of his other skills. He simply said “Chokes will be on display.” And he assured us he’s going to choke everyone at the qualifier.

Carson Thigpen showing he’s coming for his opponents during the PGF Season 4 Nashville qualifier.

Carson Thigpen brought the heat at the Nashville Qualifier for Season 4. The former college baseball player went hard and fast for the submission every time, normally targeting his opponents’ legs. The grappler out of Renzo Gracie Nashville showed some real charisma when addressing the crowd and the camera. He further showed that charisma during an interview with the PGF Insiders before the season. Unfortunately, shortly before the season, Thigpen sustained an injury and could not compete. But Thigpen has healed and is roaring to get back into the PGF. In his own words, “I was super bummed out when I got hurt causing me to miss last season. I felt like I would make a huge statement in the 155 division, being a bigger guy. Now, I’m better fed leading up to the events, I’m less stressed worrying about my weight, and I’m so much stronger at 185. I think it’ll be shocker to see the upgrades I’ve made to my game as well as learn I’ve only been training full time again for a few months, since my surgery and recovery. I spent everyday on the wall, while injured, watching every class and every roll picking up little details to springboard me when I got healthy. My confidence is high going into this weekend, and I’m looking forward to bringing the action this Saturday!” So, we’ll see if Thigpen follows the likes of so many MMA fighters who actually perform better when they don’t cut weight. Either way, we all know Thigpen’s going to be pushing the pace and looking for submissions.

Nekiaya Jackson posing with her PGF women’s bantamweight championship belt at the Season 4 Finale. Photo Courtesy of Walo Jay.

Even with these three fan favorites gracing the mats of 10th Planet Decatur this Saturday, fans of the PGF must be asking themselves if Nekiaya Jackson will be entering the 125 pound ladies’ division in the qualifier. Kiaya is a multi-time Medusa veteran, earning second place twice and recently won second place at their combat jiu jitsu tournament. Kiaya ran through her opponents during Season 4, securing the first ever ladies division title for the PGF. Now she could drop down to her natural weight class of 125 for this season. Kiaya could easily hop into the qualifier last minute because she trains and teaches at 10th Planet Decatur, but the fans will have to wait until Saturday to see if she shows up. Last season, she waited until the last qualifier (skipping both ones held in Decatur) before she chose to earn her spot in the competition.

For fans wanting to see these and other great submission grapplers, they’ll have to watch Brandon Mccaghren’s YouTube channel this Saturday, 13 May at 11am EDT/10am CDT. Since it’s live on YouTube, fans can join on in the chat and interact with folks at the event, talking smack, giving superchats to competitors, or putting out bounties for certain submissions. The most exciting format in submission grappling is back for it’s 5th season and everyone should tune every chance they get.

The editors at thank the PGF Insiders, Joshua Gibbs, Maximus Jolly, Carson Thigpen, and Sawyer Griffin for providing the content of this article. The PGF Insiders will always work to provide the latest and greatest information regarding the PGF and you can see their weekly podcasts on the McDojo Life YouTube Channel or Brandon Mccaghren’s channel (if a member). Special thanks to Walo Jay for all the great photos. Those interested in Walo’s work can check out his YouTube page (link is specifically to Walo’s Handsome Kevin short) and Walo’s website.

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