Grapplers Graveyard

What is ADCC? (Abu Dhabi Combat Club)

what is adcc

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If you are here you are probably a fan of combat sports and grappling. The most prestigious grappling tournament is coming to us in 2024 and it is looking to be just as exciting as the last one! In this article, we will answer the question ‘What is ADCC’ and why it is considered one of the most exciting grappling tournaments in the world. Whether you are a seasoned grappler or just getting started, the future looks very bright for the tournament and the community as a whole.

What is ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club): Overview

Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) is the world’s largest no-gi grappling tournament and has been one of the main reasons why no-gi grappling has been put on the map. Everyone wants a shot at competing in this tournament and to do so you have to prove that you can hang with the best in the world.

Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) hosts the world’s best fighters in a single-elimination tournament every two years with the last tournament being in 2022. Both men and women in their respective weight classes will battle it out to determine who is at the top and have bragging rights as to who is the best competitor in the world.

The ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships were the idea and creation of UAW national Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the son of the UAE leader Sheik Zayed. Sheik Tahnoon grew a passion for MMA in 1993 and shortly after started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sheik Tanoon set out to create and build his vision of implementing martial arts in the UAE and creating a standard around the world for which grappling is measured!

Due to the popularity of the Super Bowl for Jiu-Jitsu (ADCC), the organization has made more widely available sub-tournaments across the United States. All these tournaments fill the gap to the main event that will happen again in 2024 (around September).

ADCC(Abu Dhabi Combat Club) Rules and Format

ADCC BJJ Rules: Overview


  • The Championship is Tournament Style and only the winner goes on.

  • No Slippery Substances on body or clothing.

  • If fighters go out of the mat area, the ref will restart the fight in the same position they went out in.

How You Can Win

  • Submission, Points, Referee decision, Opponent Disqualification.

  • If a competitor gives up or submits by tapping the leg, arm, or verbally.

  • If a fight is over without scoring points by both fighters, the referee decides the match.

  • If the Referee feels one competitor is unable to defend himself or feels his life is in danger, the Referee will declare the winner.

  • A fighter will be disqualified by the Referee for breaking forbidden rules.

Time Limits for World Championships

  • Qualifying Rounds = 10 Mins / with a 5 min overtime if it’s a draw. (Max 1 overtime)

    • First 5 mins there are no points

    • Second 5 mins with points (negative and positive)

  • Finals, Absolute Finals & Superfight = 20 mins / with 10 min overtime if there is a draw (Max. 2)

    • First 10 mins no positive points (only negative points will be counted)

    • Second 10 mins with points (negative and positive points)

    • Overtimes 10 mins (negative and positive points)


The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) are two of the largest and most well-known grappling organizations in the world. While both organizations promote the sport of grappling, there are some key differences between them:

  1. Ruleset: The ADCC ruleset is more focused on submission grappling, with points being awarded for submission attempts and successful submissions. The IBJJF ruleset, on the other hand, is geared toward traditional BJJ with points being awarded for sweeps, takedowns, and positional control. It is important to note that ADCC does take this into consideration for scoring but those points are only in effect after the 5-minute time period.

  2. Attire: Most IBJJF tournaments will be done in a Gi while all ADCC tournaments are done with nogi and sometimes competitors compete shirtless.

  3. Weight Classes: Both organizations have weight classes for men and women, but the ADCC has fewer weight classes than the IBJJF.

  4. Tournament Format

Training For ADCC

Training for ADCC will look pretty much the same as your normal training but you have to be aware of the different rulesets in place for this style of play. ADCC wants to do more regional tournaments so that practitioners can get used to the ruleset.

Competing in no-gi grappling tournaments like ADCC will require you to develop and hone skills from other disciplines, specifically wrestling. The importance of wrestling in the jiu-jitsu world is starting to increase because of tournaments like the ADCC.

Future of ADCC

The future of the ADCC looks bright and very promising. We had the privilege to attend the last ADCC tournament in 2022 and it was pretty entertaining to watch first-hand. To our surprise people like Joe Rogan, Jocko, and Lex Fridman all showed up and the UNLV stadium was pretty much full for the entire weekend.

People from all over the world came to watch the tournament live.

One key factor that we think continues to increase the interest in tournaments like ADCC and jiu-jitsu, in general, is the rise of MMA and how popular the sport is becoming for main stream celebrities. The list of people who train and talk highly of jiu-jitsu training continues to expand by the day.

We believe that the next decade will be an interesting one for the industry! We are excited to grow with the community that is budding and make our mark in the space!

ADCC Weight Classes

The following image shows the official weight classes for the qualifiers and world championship matches every two years.

What is ADCC? World Championship Grappling

Weight Divisions for Males ADCC

For male competitors that plan on competing at the world stage these are the weight classes you will be classified under:

  • Lightweight – Below 65.9 kg (below 145 lbs)

  • Welterweight – Below 76.9 kg (below 169.5 lbs)

  • Middleweight – Below 87.9 kg (below 193.7 lbs)

  • Light Heavyweight – Below 98.9 kg (below 218 lbs)

  • Heavyweight – Above 99 kg (Above 220.5)

Due to the growth of ADCC and jiu-jitsu as a martial art ADCC has decided to open up smaller more regional tournaments to the public in between the larger event that takes place every two years. Here is the weight classes you can expect if you plan on competing in a regional ADCC tournament:

What is ADCC Absolute?

The ADCC Absolute division is the division that is open to anybody from any weight class. Grapplers will compete in a tournament-style competition to be crowned the world’s undisputed champion. This division is typically filled with people from the higher-weight classes. Even though people that grapple at ~150 lbs can technically keep up with bigger guys, there is always a limitation to what can be done, especially when competing at the level they are.

The latest ADCC Absolute Champion was none other than Gordon Ryan who is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition at this point. If you do not know who Gordan is he is a 27-year-old professional Jiu-Jitsu athlete who is equivalent to the LeBron of the jiu-jitsu generation.

Weight Divisions for Females ADCC

For female adults competing in the ADCC Championships, and the Teams competition, the classes are the following: 

  • Lightweight – (below 132.3 lbs)

  • Heavyweight – (Above 132.3 lbs)

Due to the growth of ADCC and jiu-jitsu as a martial art ADCC has decided to open up smaller more regional tournaments to the public in between the larger event that takes place every two years. Here is the weight classes you can expect if you plan on competing in a regional ADCC tournament in the females division:


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