At UFC 288, Kron Gracie finally returns to action after a nearly three-year layoff. The Jiu-Jitsu ace vanished from the fighting scene in 2019 following his sole MMA defeat to Cub Swanson but is finally returning in a highly anticipated matchup this weekend.
Record: 5-1 (5 SUB)
Age: 34 (11-07-1988)
Height: 5'9" (175cm)
Weight: 145lbs (66kg)
Reach: 70 inches (180cm)
Country: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Next Fight: Charles Jourdain (13-6-1) at UFC 288
As a member of the Gracie family and the son of Rickson Gracie, Kron was destined to have a future in Jiu-Jitsu and began training as a child. The BJJ phenom became a yellow belt before he was ten and a black belt by nineteen. In 2008, Gracie competed in the BJJ World Championship but lost his debut to Sergio Moraes via bow and arrow choke. Yet, this loss wouldn't deter Gracie, as he would rack up many accolades in his following bouts. His achievements include the 2009 IBJJF European Champion, second place at the 2011 IBJJF World Championship, and the 2013 ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship winner. Throughout his grappling bouts, he also racked up victories over Beniel Dariush and Shinya Aoki.
At the end of 2013, Gracie expressed his interest in transitioning to MMA and took off a year before making his MMA debut in December 2014. In Tokyo, Japan, He fought in Real Fighting Championship: Real 1 against Hyung Soo-Kim, and won via first-round arm bar. Gracie would not return to combat for over a year, this time earning another submission victory against Asen Yamamoto under the RIZIN banner. His next two bouts would come in faster succession, and Gracie would move to 4-0 with submission victories over Hideo Tokoro and Tatsuya Kawajiri, still fighting for RIZIN. These victories, however, would earn him a crack at the UFC, and two years removed from his last bout, in 2018, he signed with the UFC.
Gracie's UFC debut would come against top Featherweight contender Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres in February 2019. He would heavily impress in his performance, submitting the veteran in just over two minutes with a rear naked choke. This victory was the spotlight Gracie was looking for, and because of his quick victory, he earned a Performance of The Night bonus. After gaining some traction in his MMA career, he'd return in October 2019 against fan favorite UFC veteran Cub Swanson. Gracie would abandon all Jiu-Jitsu adroitness in an incredibly unexpected twist and engage in a stand-up war with Swanson throughout all three rounds. The grappling phenom would only shoot for two takedowns and racked up a measly four seconds of control time throughout the entire bout. Although Gracie would find great striking success despite his BJJ origins, he would be beaten across all three rounds and lose a unanimous decision, the first and only loss of his career. In the aftermath of the bout, Rickson and several members of the Gracie family criticized his performance. The bout would also earn Fight of The Night honors.
Since his bout against Swanson, Gracie has not competed, and some believed he may have retired with his record standing at 5-1. However, his return will be against exciting Canadian Charles Jourdain, an always exciting striker with sneaky submissions. The Canadian will be looking to snap a two-fight losing streak, dropping decisions to Shane Burgos and Nathaniel Wood. Gracie's fight IQ is the most crucial factor of this bout; if he performs similarly to Swanson, the result could be the same as his last bout. Despite only having three bouts in the UFC, all his fights have been strict tests, and the classic phrase "no easy fights" can definitely be applied to Kron Gracie.
This is a massive fight for Kron Gracie and could make or break his entire MMA career. Can the experienced BJJ ace secure another submission in this bout? Or will Charles Jourdain prove to be too much to handle? Either way, as a member of the Verdict Community, let us know your prediction for this bout in the comments below.