Garry Tonon V Dillon Danis: Polaris 5 Breakdown


On Saturday the 19th of August (the 20th for those of us living through the worm hole in Australia) the two figureheads of social media’s biggest rivalry will face off, yet again, to see which one has the chutzpah, the biggest cojones and another exotic word similar to bollocks… oh, and win a Jiu Jitsu match, or something. 


For Tonon and Danis, all the chips are on the table and I, like you obviously if you’re reading this, am aaaaaaaaaaall in.


So, rather than break down the entire Polaris 5 card, being streamed on UFC Fight Pass, I’m going to focus on breaking down the main event, delve into the positions of play and consider who will come out on top of this battle between two of grappling’s rising stars:




No, wait that’s not them.



yea… no, wrong again.



Ah! There they are.


The Positions and How I See ‘Em 


My opinion and predictions are based on each grapplers’ recent performances in submission grappling events. Plus their previous match against each other at the last ADCC event in 2015.


Feel free to disagree with me, just don’t expect to be mates with me if you do, douche bag.


On the Feet 


Both Danis and Tonon have good stand up for Jiu Jitsu; and differ greatly in their approach: Danis strong and sturdy, while Tonon evasive and slippery like a half filled water balloon slathered in lube… what? you try hold onto one!


In his brown belt days, Danis was known for an aggressive takedown game: shooting doubles from distance and pushing the pace to get his opponent on the ground and continue the momentum from top position.


However, recently we have seen Danis in his matches against Jake Shields and Jackson Souza use this aggressive play more sparingly, opting to keep composed and counter with the guillotine off his opponent’s own shots.


We’ll have to see how this play works against Tonon though, as he rarely attacks with straight doubles, like Shields and Souza did, and more often chooses to lead with his signature right leg forward in a sideways stance, overlooking with the right arm.


We’ve seen Tonon attack with judo throws, scissor take downs and rolling leg locks from this set up many times before, and we haven’t really seen Danis face an opponent – other than Tonon – with this approach.


If Tonon chooses to attack with a shot, he does have a couple counters for the guillotine attempt, or front head lock grip, such as the cartwheel he pulled off on Martinez in EBI 5 and the notorious and painful peak out face slam seen here:

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And here:

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Top v Bottom 


The top v bottom game won’t come down to a battle for each respective position, instead I believe it will come down to preference.


Danis has a great guard and uses the two on one control from the butterfly well, yet, when not facing a larger opponent, I see his top game being far more superior. In the past, Danis has been seen to work with either relentless pace in transitions from the top, or pressure passing, to force his opponent to open up and provide him with an opening for attack, either advancing the position or finishing with a sub.


Tonon, on the other hand, has reliably been seen to attack from his back when the game goes to the ground. Although, if his opponent sits on their butt first, Tonon has his rolling kimura or his two on one under grip control of his opponents leg to set up a honey hole, 411, leg lace or (insert what ever you like to call that position here).


But as I said before, I see the majority of the ground game being Tonon playing guard and Danis playing top.


Guard Passing 


Even though this one links to my previous point, and I’d only be repeating what I just said, I’m going to do it anyway… Shut up, it’s my blog. I’ll do what I want.


Danis often initiates the pass after forcing a scramble, then looks to apply pressure to advance or force an opening to grab the neck, leg or move to the back. However, Tonon is no slouch in the scramble himself. And we may see Danis looking to mix up leg lock attempts with his passes, as he has been known to finish many a match with knee bars and toe holds, mid pass.


I don’t see Tonon relying on a passing game in this one. When on his back, if he is passed, he uses frames really well to make space and get back to a single butterfly hook, knee shield, to his feet or use the lock down entanglement from half guard. A perfect example of this can been seen in his match against Durinho at Polaris 4.




As I mentioned earlier, Danis is really good at the advancing position and/or setting up subs from scrambles.


However, Tonon is just as good if not better than Danis in a scramble and has more tricks up his sleeve than there are blue belts with athlete pages on Facebook.




Both have great guillotines, and even though Tonon was the known for them a little while back, Danis still uses them as his go to and we can expect quite a few attempts from him during the match.


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Both have leglock submissions in their tool shed. And even though Danis was able to finish Souza with a heel hook, in his other matches he mostly opted for knee bars and toe holds to comply with IBJJF standards. However, I think Tonon’s leg lock game is more sophisticated as it utilises a funnel of submissions from the leg entanglement. If anyone is to catch a leglock in this match, I’m putting my money on Tonon to do it.


Both are solid from the back, both have great control and can finish with the RNC.


Who Takes It? 


Whether you like it or not, I think Tonon has it in this match. I’m picking it to be a reverse heel hook that secures it for him again; like we saw in their previous meeting.


I just see Tonon as the superior grappler at this point and can’t see it going any other way. And right now, I believe he has the upper hand in technique efficiency, mental composure, and strategy.


And yes, if you’re on team Danis, I DO realise he would absolutely destroy me, mess me up and steal my girl if we ever rolled. I’m not an idiot. But, unfortunately, picking a winner in any match ultimately involves picking a loser, too.


That’s my two cents. What are yours?

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