The IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) Gi and NoGi American Nationals took place from July 8-9 in the Las Vegas Convention Center along with UFC 200 expo. The multi martial art event featured multiple world class competitors including Boxing, kick boxing, International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF), Wrestling, 3 part fighting, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This event was also a historical event in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the 8 man Black Belt Grand Prix tournament. The winner taking $40,000 and the runner up taking $10,000 in prize money.
El Dorado Hills had two participants, Zach and Eliot, both putting on a spectacular performance a this national event. Here are the quick results from the tournament:
Zach: GOLD (Adult Rooster NoGi) Blue belt
Zach: BRONZE (Adult Rooster Gi) Blue belt
Eliot: SILVER (Adult Super Heavy NoGi) Black belt
Eliot: SILVER (Adult Open NoGi) Black belt
Eliot: SILVER (Adult Super Heavy Gi) Black belt
Zach had a close yet dominant finish in the finals of his NoGi division. He started off very strong with a power double leg takedown. After a strong battle and nearly passing the guard multiple times, he was swept to tie the score. He quickly recomposed his guard and found his way back to the top where he was up again by two points. He finished the match attacking to finish for the submission.
Zach had to make weight twice in one day, which is no easy task for someone competing in the Rooster weight division. Competing in the Gi later in the day, he won his first match and advanced to the semi final match to face this year’s world bronze medalist. He had a very close game of strategy and was downed by two points. This was a great opportunity for Zach to compete with some of the best and further reinforce his potential as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor. “There are still some technical positions I need to improve and learn, but I was able to try things I wouldn’t have down in the past. This tournament was a great show of my progress as a jiujitsu competitor.” Congratulations to Zach on becoming the 2016 National Champion!
Eliot came into the tournament with some unsettled business from 2015, where he finished with three silver medals and one bronze. He fell short again, but seemed satisfied with his performance. “I didn’t improve in my placings, but I definitely see an improvement in my performance and ability. Now it’s just a matter of consistency and patience.”
In the finals of the NoGi division Eliot lost a 0-0 referee decision. He went on to compete in the open weight division where all the athletes compete against one another regardless of weight division. Eliot won his quarter final match 17-0 to advance to the semi finals. In the semi’s Eliot had a very close match with Vladir, a professional MMA fighter from Fight Sports Miami, winning by 3-2 on advantage points. In the finals Eliot went against Barbosa, an up and coming black belt, from Atos Jiu-Jitsu. He suffered a takedown and guard pass from an early slip up to counter the takedown, putting him behind 5-0. Eliot pressed for some attacks after recovering guard and even brought the match back to the feet, but time ran out as he pressed for the attack. Giving him a Silver in the all weights combined (open class) division.
The black belts competed in the Gi the following day. Eliot faced off with Valdir again in the semi finals of the tournament. He was winning 4-2 when the match was stopped for too many blood time outs. Since an athlete is allowed three time outs per injury, the trainers gave it their best to stop the bleeding, but were unable to, giving Eliot the victory. The two athletes had a very exciting and competitive match. However, Eliot noticed signs of a concussion after walking off the mat. An assessment with the on staff doctors led to a positive diagnosis taking him out of the tournament.