The much anticipated and highly advertised UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 is set to take place tonight from Las Vegas, Nev. The show will feature a pair of monumental super fights as well as an Absolute Tournament that will see the winner take home a $30,000 cash prize.
Fight fans can catch the UFC Fight Pass Invitational streaming live on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
Main Event — Pena vs. Jones
Thursday night’s show is set to feature a major headlining matchup between Felipe Pena and Craig Jones. Both men are two of the most dominant grapplers of the last decade and have combined for over 200 wins, an ADCC gold medal, and multiple ADCC silver medals. In spite of this, the two have never met in their distinguished careers, but that will change on Thursday night.
As a side plot to Thursday’s main event, Gordon Ryan, a man considered to be the best grappler in the world in any weight class and probably the best grappler of all time, is offering a $500 cash reward to any competitor who manages to beat Jones or Nicky Rodriguez, who is competing in the Absolute Division Tournament. Jones and Rodriguez and teammates of his at Danaher Death Squad. The outspoken Ryan is yet to compete himself in 2023, and is currently on the mend from major illness caused by recurring issues with a fungal growth and a bacterial imbalance in his small intestine. The controversial Ryan stole headlines with his proclamation, but all eyes will be on Jones and Pena as they compete for grappling supremacy.
Co-Main Event — Smith vs. Teixeira
Two familiar faces to UFC fans will compete in the co-main event, and the matchup will serve as something of a rematch for both Anthony Smith and former UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira. Their first fight back in 2020, which occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, will go down in infamy for the amount of punishment Smith took. While many have suggested referee Jason Herzog, one of the most consistent referees in the sport today may have erred in not stopping the fight sooner, Smith controversially defended the late stoppage but to his credit, never quit or asked for a way out. Teixeira, at one point, knocked one of Smith’s teeth out of his mouth and apologized for doing so in real time.
“Lionheart” will now look to gain a measure of revenge on the former champion in a grappling match. Both men have effectively utilized grappling in their MMA careers in different ways, though Teixeira figures to be the better wrestler of the two. Whether he is able to control Smith at 43 the same way he did three year will likely be the decider in which man is able to get their hand raised.
Absolute Tournament and Other Matches to Watch
The main card will feature an additional three super fights featuring top-level grappling talent. Nicholas Meregali will make his return against Cyborg Abreu. Meregali was a gold medalist at the World Championship and Brazilian National Championship, while Cyborg’s star is well known around the jiu-jitsu community. He is an ADCC, World No-Gi Championship, Pan-American Games, and European Open Championship gold medalist, but is 42 and will need to stave off a young, hungry grappler in Meregali who is also world class.
Additionally, Roman Bravo-Young will compete against former UFC flyweight title challenger Alex Perez, while Helena Crevar opens the main card super fight slate against Emily Fernandez.
Thursday’s show will also feature what is sure to be another exciting Absolute Tournament. The absolute division is openweight, and as previously stated, a $30,000 cash prize will await the man who can reach three wins. The opening match highlights Dan Manasoiu, the No.1 seed and a purple belt, who won the 2021 ADCC Romania National Cup and trains alongside BJJ superstar Gordon Ryan. “Big Dan” will be facing Gabriel Arges, a three-time IBJFF World champion. The winner of this match will then compete against the victor of the matchup between Haisam Rida, the 2021 no-gi IBJJF American Nationals champion, and Fedor Nikolov, a brown belt.
On the other side of the bracket, Vagner Rocha, a UFC veteran and ADCC medalist, will go up against Felipe Andrew, the current IBJJF World champion. Lastly, the final last quarterfinal contest will feature Rodriguez, a former ADCC medalist who took his teammate, Ryan, to the limit at the most recent UFC Fight Pass Invitational, matching up against Roberto Jimenez, who emerged as the winner in the 2022 ADCC South America Trials. Jimenez has been dominating the UFC Fight Pass grappling scene as the Polaris Middleweight Grand Prix champion and the combat jiu-jitsu lightweight world champion.
UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 Results
Craig Jones def. Felipe Pena via Fastest Escape Time
Glover Teixeira def. Anthony Smith via Unanimous Decision
Nicholas Meregali def. Cyborg Abreu via Armbar (Overtime)
Roman Bravo-Young vs. Alex Perez Ends in a Time Limit Draw
Helena Crevar def. Emily Fernandez via RNC at 7:26
Absolute Tournament Championship
Nicky Rodriguez def. Dan Manasoiu via RNC (Overtime)
Absolute Tournament Semifinals
Nicky Rodriguez def. Vagner Rocha via RNC (Overtime)
Dan Manasoiu def. Fedor Nikolov via Kneebar at :18
Absolute Tournament Quarterfinals
Nicky Rodriguez def. Roberto Jimenez via Fastest Escape Time
Vagner Rocha def. Fellipe Andrew via Inside Heel Hook at 6:18
Fedor Nikolov def. Haisam Rida via Fastest Escape Time
Dan Manasoiu def. Gabriel Arges via Heel Hook at 3:20