Above: Celsinho celebrates after winning $12,000. He won $10,000 for winning the Ultimate Absolute, plus and extra $2,000 in submission bonuses for two submission wins.
NEW YORK CITY, New York — On Saturday, February 25th, 2012 at New York's Hotel Pennsylvania, which is located directly across the street from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, the Ultimate Absolute held their second elite submission grappling show. The tournament featured 16 of the world's best lightweight (155-pound and under) grapplers competing for a grand prize of $10,000 in cash. The tournament also included $1,000 bonuses for every submission successfully executed.
The tournament was promoted by Renzo Gracie black belt Rob Constance with the help of Riccardo Ammendolia (Founder of Fight Planet), Scotty Nelson (Founder of OTM), and many other longtime supporters of jiu-jitsu and submission grappling in the United States. In attendence to show their support were many of the world's most respected black belts, including Marcelo Garcia, Eddie Bravo, and Rafael Lovato Jr.
The inaugural Ultimate Absolute submission grappling tournament in NYC took place in July 2011, which saw André Galvão (Atos) defeat Rustam Chsiev (K-Dojo) in the finals of the openweight tournament. This weekend, marked the first edition of a lightweight tournament and it broadcast live via Web PPV on www.SplitDraw.com. The amount of support that these events have received from some of grappling's most established companies combined with the susbstantial sum of money that is put up for grabs as a grand prize and submission bonuses, has quickly attracted some of the world's most elite competitors.
This weekend's tournament, the sophomore edition for the promoters, went off without a hitch and featured plenty of world-class grapplers, plenty of submissions, and non-stop excitement. This truly was a much-needed adition to the grappling scene, especially with this being an off-year for the biennial ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship. The next tournament is expected to go back to July's format, which will feature a 16-man openweight division. Below is a complete recap of this weekend's event!
Above: Two of America's best grapplers, Ryan Hall (seated) and Justin Rader (OTM shorts) rekindle one of grappling's best rivalries. In the background, OTM founder Scotty Nelson (Lucky Gi shirt) and jiu-jitsu black belt world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. (to the left of Scotty) take in all the action.
-Celso "Celsinho" Venicius (Gracie Barra) defeats Mark Ramos (Edson Carvalho) via Rear Naked Choke. This earned Celsinho a $1,000 submission bonus.
-Gary Tonon (Ocean County BJJ) defeats Jonatas "Tagarela" Gurgel (American Top Team) via Points.
-Wilson Reis (BJJ United) defeats Denny Prokopos (10th Planet JJ) via Points.
-Renan Borges (Brazilian Top Team) defeats Bruno Malfacine (Alliance) via Points.
-Ryan Hall (50/50 BJJ) defeats Ramon Flores (Kioto BJJ) via Heel Hook. This earned Hall a $1,000 submission bonus.
-Justin Rader (Lovato BJJ) defeats Magno Gama (Renzo Gracie) via Points.
-Samuel Braga (Gracie Barra) defeats Joel Tudor (Rodrigo Medeiros) via Points.
-Mike Fowler (Lloyd Irvin) defeats Reilly Bodycomb (American Sambo Association) via Armbar. This earned Fowler a $1,000 submission bonus.
-Celso "Celsinho" Venicius (Gracie Barra) defeats Gary Tonon (Ocean County BJJ) via Points.
-Renan Borges (Brazilian Top Team) defeats Wilson Reis (BJJ United) via Points.
-Justin Rader (Lovato BJJ) defeats Ryan Hall (50/50 BJJ) via Points.
-Samuel Braga (Gracie Barra) defeats Mike Fowler (Lloyd Irvin) via Points in Over-Time.
-Celso "Celsinho" Venicius (Gracie Barra) defeats Renan Borges (Brazilian Top Team) via Rear Naked Choke. This earned Celsinho a $1,000 submission bonus bringing his total submission bonuses to $2,000.
-Justin Rader (Lovato BJJ) defeats Samuel Braga (Gracie Barra) via Points. This was by far the most exciting match of the day. At one point Rader had Braga caught in an extremely painful calf-slicer, while Braga simultaneously attacked Rader with an armbar. Neither men tapped, but it showed just how bad these two competitors wanted it!
-Celso "Celsinho" Venicius (Gracie Barra) defeats Justin Rader (Lovato BJJ) via Points. Early in the match, during a fast scramble, Celsinho and Rader accidentally clashed heads. Celsinho's teeth ended up going all the way through his lip, but like a true warrior he had the medics seal his lip up with crazy glue! He then went on to win a hard fought victory against the extremely game Rader. Even more impressive was the fact that Celsinho defeated Rader at his own game, which is wrestling and takedowns. The win earned Celsinho the $10,000 cash prize for winning the entire tournament. Celsinho ended up leaving New York City with $12,000 in his pocket: $10,000 for winning the tournament and an extra $2,000 for his two slick submission wins.
16-Man "Ultimate Absolute" Tournament:
1st Place: Celso "Celsinho" Venicius (Gracie Barra)
2nd Place: Justin Rader (Lovato BJJ)
3rd Place: Renan Borges (Brazilian Top Team)
3rd Place: Samuel Braga (Gracie Barra)