Hundreds of thousands of fight fans around the world watched online as the fastest growing jiu-jitsu promotion Polaris showcased its tenth event live from Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, last weekend.

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Polaris is Europe’s longest running large scale professional grappling event. Derived from Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the combat sport that focusses on ground fighting, there’s no punching, kicking or striking so fighters must employ stealth and strategy as much as strength in order to overcome their opponents.

“The best way I can describe it is that it’s like a form of human chess – it’s completely engrossing to watch,” says Lighthouse Commercial Sales and Events Manager Tom Holmes.

As a sell-out live audience of more than 700 in the Concert Hall looked on, Polaris 10 was streamed live online to a global paying audience.

“The coverage was fantastic, not only for the sport but for Lighthouse as a venue and for Poole as the host town.”

Between bouts viewers were shown exterior shots of Lighthouse and footage of the town bathed in sunshine including scenes from Poole Park.

Inside, star attractions at the five-hour event included the Featherweight title clash in which 17-year-old Nicky Ryan successfully defended his title against American UFC Hall of Fame superstar Urijah Faber who flew in especially for the bout. The judges awarded the teenage title holder a unanimous points victory.

The six-contest main card saw further title bouts in the Middleweight and Lightweight divisions with fighters arriving in Poole from as far afield as Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Slovenia and Poland.

Polaris is based in Bournemouth and staged its first two events in Cardiff in 2015. The following year Lighthouse hosted Polaris 3 and 4 with subsequent promotions in London and Cardiff before returning to Poole for Polaris 10.

By Nick Churchill Published 30 May 2019