Polaris 23 preview: Breaking down the stacked women’s grand prix

We preview the Polaris 23 women’s grand prix, featuring ADCC champions Ffion Davies and Amy Campo.

On Saturday, March 11, Polaris will return to action with Polaris 23, featuring arguably the most talent-rich eight-woman bracket in the history of no-gi grappling. Including the 2022 ADCC world champions from both women’s divisions, as well as six other world-class competitors, the 66kg women’s grand prix is one of the most significant tournaments of 2023 so far.

The card will additionally feature a submission-only superfight between top British competitor Owen Livesey and former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.

Below, we take a closer look at the grand prix competitors vying for the $20,000 prize.

Polaris 23 women’s grand prix


  • Ffion Davies
  • Amy Campo
  • Brianna Ste-Marie
  • Giovanna Jara
  • Elisabeth Clay
  • Maggie Grindatti
  • Julia Maele
  • Joanna Dineva

Although the bracket might have its favorites, no single woman stands out among the others as the obvious champion. But naturally, all eyes will be on Ffion Davies and Amy Campo, who captured gold in the -60kg and 60+kg divisions, respectively, at the 2022 ADCC World Championships. 

After a 2022 in which she became a gi world champion as well as an ADCC champion, it’s hard to argue that Ffion Davies isn’t the top pound-for-pound female competitor in the sport. Now training full-time under the tutelage of JT Torres at Essential Jiu-Jitsu, Davies is a skilled and well-rounded grappler, but she really shines in the top position where she has some of the best no-gi guard passing in the world. That top game, coupled with her excellent judo-style takedowns and relentless pacing, has propelled her to the top of the grappling world.

For her part, Campo put together one of the most memorable gold-medal runs in ADCC history, defeating fellow grand prix competitor Elisabeth Clay, multiple-time ADCC champion Gabi Garcia and, in the final, top Atos black belt Rafaela Guedes. Like Davies, the Zenith BJJ representative is skilled in all positions but tends to do her best work from the top. Look for Campo to use her physicality and explosive knee-cut pass to impose her will on the field’s smaller competitors.

In many ways, Ares BJJ’s Elisabeth Clay could be considered the bracket’s dark horse. Known for her leg locks and ultra-dangerous guard, she is a submission hunter of the highest degree. While Clay lost a barnburner of a match against Campo in the opening round of the ADCC World Championships, she bounced back to defeat her in a rematch at the 2022 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds where she took home double gold with an incredible five submissions. If she can continue to ride that wave of success, Clay certainly has the ability to defeat any woman in the field.

Canadian black belt Brianna Ste-Marie has been one of the sport’s breakout stars over the past couple of years after winning two ADCC Trials events and taking home second at the ADCC World Championships. Ste-Marie will no doubt be hoping to get another shot at Davies, who defeated her on points in the ADCC final. The Canadian possesses a methodical, position-based game with an elite closed guard, half-guard, and pressure passing, but that doesn’t mean she’s not also a submission threat – and her armbar on Raquel Canuto at the ADCC Trials is proof.

Another potential dark horse is Dream Art brown belt Giovanna Jara, who burst onto the scene last year after winning the ADCC Brazilian Trials. A strong takedown artist and extremely physical grappler, Jara gave Kendall Reusing a run for her money at the ADCC World Championships. Look for her to use that physicality on Saturday, particularly when matched against some of the field’s smaller grapplers.

Also, former Fight Sports representative Maggie Grindatti steps up to fill in for an injured Jaidyn Mueller. After an incredibly successful colored belt career, Grindatti is still trying to live up to her lofty expectations as a black belt. Now competing under the Atos banner, she could make waves with a big victory this weekend.

Finally, ADCC European Trials winner Julia Maele and Polaris Contender Series winner Joanna Dineva will be competing with nothing to lose, making them dangerous opponents to spring the upset on more established grapplers.

How to watch: Polaris 23 takes place on Saturday, March 11 and airs live on UFC Fight Pass (subscription required).

The post Polaris 23 preview: Breaking down the stacked women’s grand prix appeared first on Grappling Insider.

The post Polaris 23 preview: Breaking down the stacked women’s grand prix appeared first on Grappling Insider.

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