Major First Round Upset: Garry Tonon vs Sam McNally | 2022 ADCC World Championships

Major First Round Upset: Garry Tonon vs Sam McNally | 2022 ADCC World Championships

In a highly anticipated matchup at the 2022 ADCC World Championships, Garry Tonon faced off against Sam McNally in the Men’s under 66 kilo division. Tonon, known for his grappling expertise and previous success in the sport, made his debut in this weight class against McNally, the European trials winner from East Coast Jiu Jitsu in Ireland. McNally, a skilled guard player with a reputation for back attacks and leg locks, posed a unique challenge for Tonon. The crowd eagerly awaited the action, curious to see if McNally would stand up with Tonon or choose to pull guard and target his opponent’s legs. The match started with a bang, as McNally quickly secured a headlock, and Tonon found himself in a tricky situation. However, through impressive defense and well-timed movements, Tonon managed to escape McNally’s grip and regain some control. The match continued with both athletes displaying their skills, but it was McNally who ultimately pulled off the upset, escaping Tonon’s submissions attempts and securing a victory over the renowned grappler. This thrilling encounter showcased the talent and unpredictability of the ADCC World Championships, where newcomers have the opportunity to make a name for themselves and stun the world with impressive wins.

Event Introduction

The 2022 ADCC World Championships showcased some exhilarating matchups, and one that stood out was the showdown between Garry Tonon and Sam McNally. Tonon, known as “your mom’s favorite grappler,” made his debut in the 66 kilo division, dropping down from his previous weight class at 77 kilos. McNally, the European trials winner from East Coast Jiu Jitsu in Ireland, is renowned for his back attacks and leg locks. This clash between the US and Ireland promised an intriguing battle between two skilled fighters with contrasting styles.

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Fight Analysis

Initial exchanges

Right from the start of the match, McNally displayed his technical prowess by securing a tight headlock. Tonon, though, showcased his well-timed sit through to escape the initial danger. However, McNally maintained control and engaged in a grappling battle that had Tonon on the back foot. Tonon’s hand fighting skills were put to the test, and he found himself grappling with a formidable opponent in McNally.

McNally’s back attacks and leg locks

McNally’s reputation for back attacks and leg locks was evident in his relentless pursuit of dominant positions. He showcased his technical proficiency and ability to maintain control as he looked to exploit Tonon’s vulnerabilities. His expertise in these areas posed a significant threat and forced Tonon to be on high alert throughout the fight.

Tonon’s defense

Tonon, renowned for his defensive skills, showcased his ability to weather the storm and defend against McNally’s attacks. His hand fighting and determination allowed him to escape dangerous situations and regain control. Tonon’s resilience and experience were on full display as he fought to keep himself in the match.

Tonon’s position on top

As the fight progressed, Tonon was able to reverse the momentum and gain a dominant position on top. His top control and pressure began to wear on McNally, forcing him to defend and limit his offensive options. Tonon’s ability to assert his dominance on the ground showcased his versatility as a fighter and added a new dimension to the match.

Tonon’s passing attempts

Tonon’s passing game was a highlight of the fight. His footwork and passing attempts displayed a different pace compared to his previous matches. Tonon demonstrated his ability to adapt to different positions and styles. His passing attempts showcased his technical brilliance, providing the audience with a display of his grappling mastery.

Tonon’s weight class change

Tonon’s decision to move down to the 66 kilo division marked a significant change in his fighting career. While he had previously competed in the 77 kilo division, Tonon’s transition was seamless, demonstrating that he was comfortable in his new weight class. This change allowed him to showcase his skills against opponents of a similar size and solidify his dominance in the lighter weight divisions.

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McNally’s pressure on top

McNally’s relentless pressure on top was a significant factor in the match. He constantly looked to maintain control and utilize his positional advantage. McNally’s ability to nullify Tonon’s offense and keep him on the defensive showcased his technical mastery. His pressure on top kept Tonon guessing and prevented him from implementing his game plan effectively.

Tonon’s guard gameplay

Tonon’s guard gameplay was a testament to his skill and versatility. Despite being on the bottom, Tonon displayed exceptional defense and countered McNally’s attacks effectively. He utilized various techniques to nullify McNally’s advances and avoid being caught in compromising positions. Tonon’s ability to hold his ground and frustrate his opponent showcased his expertise from the bottom position.

Impressions of both fighters

Both Tonon and McNally left a lasting impression with their performance in the fight. Tonon’s defensive skills, adaptability, and dominance from top position were impressive. McNally’s relentless pursuit of dominant positions, back attacks, and leg locks showcased his technical prowess. Both fighters displayed exceptional skill and provided the audience with an entertaining and closely contested matchup.

Major First Round Upset: Garry Tonon vs Sam McNally | 2022 ADCC World Championships

Strategies and Tactics

Strategies for points and regulation

As the match entered the final five minutes, the focus shifted to earning points within regulation time. Tonon had the opportunity to employ his submission attempts, utilizing his extensive experience and technical knowledge to secure a victory. McNally, on the other hand, needed to defend against Tonon’s aggressive submission attempts while looking for opportunities to counter and score points of his own.

Tonon’s submission attempts

Tonon’s submission attempts were a hallmark of his fighting style. Known for his relentless pursuit of finishes, Tonon sought to submit his opponent and secure victory. His submission attempts showcased his technical brilliance and his willingness to take risks in order to secure the win.

McNally’s defense and counters

McNally’s defense played a crucial role in his strategy. As Tonon launched his submission attempts, McNally focused on countering and neutralizing his opponent’s offense. His ability to evade Tonon’s attacks and launch his own counters demonstrated his defensive prowess and tactical acumen.

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Tonon’s comeback

In the final minutes of the match, Tonon found himself in a precarious position, trailing in points. However, he refused to back down and launched a valiant comeback attempt. Tonon showcased his resilience, heart, and unwavering determination as he fought to turn the tide in his favor.

McNally’s victory

In the end, it was McNally who emerged victorious, capitalizing on his early momentum and maintaining his lead throughout the match. His impressive performance highlighted his technical skills and ability to execute his game plan effectively. The upset victory over Tonon placed him firmly in the spotlight and announced his arrival on the world stage.

Upsets and Debuts at ADCC

ADCC’s history of upsets and debuts

The ADCC World Championships have a long history of producing upsets and introducing new talents to the grappling world. Fighters like Marcelo Garcia and Kron Gracie have made their names at this prestigious tournament, surprising the world with their impressive skills and stunning victories. ADCC serves as a platform for underdogs to shine and established fighters to be tested against rising stars.

Potential impact of McNally’s victory

Sam McNally’s victory over Garry Tonon signifies a significant moment in his career. This victory over a highly respected and established fighter like Tonon puts McNally on the map and opens doors for future opportunities. His triumph at the ADCC World Championships can act as a springboard for his career, attracting attention and potential sponsorships. McNally’s win demonstrates the unpredictable nature of the sport and the constant potential for upsets.


The matchup between Garry Tonon and Sam McNally at the 2022 ADCC World Championships showcased the best of grappling skills and strategy. Tonon’s transition to a lower weight class and McNally’s expertise in back attacks and leg locks provided an exciting clash of styles. McNally’s upset victory will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on both fighters’ careers, solidifying McNally’s position as a rising star in the grappling world and prompting Tonon to reassess his strategy going forward. The event allowed fans to witness the unpredictable and thrilling nature of jiu-jitsu and provided a memorable moment in the history of the ADCC World Championships.

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