With the debut of Jake Hager (better known perhaps by his WWE performance name Jack Swagger) has a highly anticipated debut in MMA tonight at Bellator 214 against J.W. Kiser. As well as this there is also a lot of focus on the development of MMA prodigy Aaron Pico in his match against legitimate threat Henry Corrales, who has actually fought former Bellator Featherweight Champion Daniel Straus as well as current Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Freire. The main event sees the final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix to determine who the new champion is between Fedor Emelianenko trying to claim another title for his hefty legacy and Ryan Bader, looking to be the Champ Champ of Bellator. However, on the prelims of this card, there is a big fight that is hidden from the main card, that bout focuses on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu star AJ Agazarm fighting in his professional MMA debut against
AJ Agazarm has competed twice in amateur MMA, winning both in the first round, one via submission and one via (T)KO, however, this bout tonight takes place in a world where he is now more accomplished in his grappling credentials. What makes AJ Agazarm’s MMA focus interesting is that unlike a lot of people representing their sport, the majority of BJJ enthusiasts want to see AJ lose, the reason for this is because of his outspoken personality. Never one to shy away from the microphone or the camera, he has always spoken his mind even if it has meant being kicked off a stage by Vagner Rocha or slapped by Jake Shields. Due to his polarising stance in the grappling world, it is difficult exactly to tell if the majority of grapplers are wanting him to win or lose.
AJ Agazarm has had a successful run in his previous runs in sport, winning the prestigious IBJJF World No-Gi Championship in 2014 and Silver in 2017, IBJJF Pan American No-Gi Championship in 2013, IBJJF Brazilian National No-Gi Championship in 2013 as well as the being IBJJF European No-Gi Champion on three separate occasions. He also found regular success in the belts prior to his black belt accomplishment, one of his biggest successes was earning a Silver medal at the ADCC Championship 2017, the most prestigious Submission Grappling competition in the world, having had successful competitors focus on MMA later such as Davi Ramos, Gilbert Burns, Fabricio Werdum, Rani Yahya, Jacare Souza, Tito Ortiz, Mark Kerr, Matt Hughes, Uriah Faber, Chris Weidman, Georges St. Pierre, Jake Shields, Demian Maia, Roger Gracie and many more great grapplers have competed at this competition.
AJ Agazarm has found himself opposite many MMA stars in grappling competitions, in losing efforts to Gilbert Burns, Davi Ramos (both have victories over each other) and former WEC and UFC Champion Benson Henderson, having a victory over MMA veteran Phil Baroni as well as a Draw and ongoing rivalry with MMA legend Jake Shields. Agazarm has also fought BJJ crossovers Garry Tonon and Dillon Danis in losing efforts to both men, Agazarm even almost had a high profile grappling match against the multiple time NCAA Champion, Olympian and MMA giant that is Ben Askren at Polaris but the match never materialised.
What makes the transition of AJ Agazarm so interesting is because people often wonder how a BJJ fighter will perform when they cannot get their opponent to the mat, what makes AJ so interesting is that he is actually a former Division I wrestler for Ohio State, and although he never placed as an All-American, that is still a considerable feat to attach onto the success that he had in BJJ, meaning that not only does AJ Agazarm have the ability to dominate opponents on the mat, he also has the ability to get his opponents there, all that matters now is how he performs at Bellator 214 against Jesse Roberts (3-1 in amateur MMA). Only time can tell if he has a successful transition from the world of grappling, regardless if grappling fans are watching to see if he wins or loses, they will be watching.