In the realm of combat sports, the intertwining of destinies often makes for captivating drama. This September, at Israel Fight Night 1, two of the sport’s brightest stars, Craig Jones and Luke Rockhold, will etch a new chapter in their storied journeys. Both are set to grapple in what’s being touted as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) superfight, set against the historic backdrop of Jerusalem.

While Jones, a grappling luminary from Australia, enjoys a massive following in the BJJ world, Rockhold is no slouch on the mat. The latter, a virtuoso in his own right, has previously shown his mettle in various BJJ tournaments.

What adds an additional layer of intrigue is the choice of venue – an MMA cage. Jones himself revealed this intriguing detail. This setting might give Rockhold, familiar with the contours of a cage, a slight edge. The former UFC champion’s experience inside a cage, especially against grapplers like Nicky Rodriguez – Jones’ teammate whom Rockhold faced in 2019 at Polaris 12 – could come in handy. Despite losing to Rodriguez, the experience might offer insights for the upcoming battle.

Hints about this tantalizing match-up had been in the air. During an episode of the El Segundo Podcast, Jones subtly dropped a hint. However, it was his recent Instagram announcement that confirmed the bout:

“Never in the history of combat sports have 2 dime pieces of this caliber locked horns. I’ve often been told I need Jesus in my life, what an opportunity to hit Jerusalem in search of him.”

Rockhold, having hung up his MMA gloves post a captivating Fight of the Night against Paulo Costa at UFC 278, ventured into bare-knuckle boxing. His duel with Mike Perry at BKFC 41 ended with Rockhold tasting the canvas, but now he’s back, diving headfirst into grappling against the formidable Craig Jones.

While fans eagerly await the specifics of the match rules, the superfight is already generating immense buzz. Rockhold’s previous experiences, particularly his retirement after a series of losses in MMA and his subsequent transition to other combat sports, are part of the narrative leading up to this face-off.

Jones, on the other hand, isn’t just a dominant force in the BJJ arena. His coaching acumen is equally revered, evident from his associations with UFC champions like Alexander Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya.

But the world of grappling isn’t without its controversies. Amid this backdrop of competition announcements and training preparations, the BJJ community has been buzzing. Gordon Ryan, often hailed as the No-Gi grappling GOAT, recently expressed discontent over apparent double standards. In a candid Instagram post, Ryan drew attention to the contrasting receptions he and Jones received over various admissions:

“Someone being honest about taking steroids in jiu-jitsu. Internet – he’s an a**hole. Someone being honest about taking steroids and being a coke head. Internet – he’s the man. What a role model”

Jones, ever the opportunist, even turned a previous controversy into a commercial venture, releasing “Nose Beers” T-shirts after a tongue-in-cheek comment post his victory over Felipe Pena.

As Israel Fight Night 1 approaches, the stage is set for an epic grappling clash amidst a card featuring former UFC stars like Noad Lahat, Albert Morales, and Johnny Case. The Rockhold-Jones superfight, given its stakes and the caliber of its contenders, promises to be a classic in the making.