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NorthWest Regionals Report

    Tue, 2005-11-29 01:19 — Gumby

    The OTM crew headed up to Portland on October 8th for the latest World Grappling Games event!

    The OTM crew headed up to Portland for the latest World Grappling Games event! Promoter Ryan Gregg in conjunction with Tom Oberhue and Mike Chapman from the Straight Blast Gym put on a stellar tournament that not only catered to the Pacific Northwest Grappling scene, but attracted competitors for miles around. Some of the schools that participated included Straight Blast, American Top Team, Team Quest, Gracie Barra/Marcelo Alonso, Tool Shed, California Competition Team, Cobra Kai, Paragon, NorCal Fighting Alliance, Progressive Jiu Jitsu, Megaton and others! The day began with the gi competition and many competitors from the NorthWest stepped up to compete along with some of the regulars of the grappling circuit. The staff decided to make most of the divisions round robin divisions in order to maximize the mat time for everyone. Probably the best of action was in the purple belt divisions. In the featherweight Vernie Inocencio edged out Ulysses ‘Useless" Gomez (in his first appearance as a purple belt) for the title. In the lightweight division both Stephan Goyne and Bill Cooper looked impressive in their respective matches, but in winning their head to head match up Cooper took top honors. The welterweight division had Harold Utterback over Christopher Cenna. There was one brown belt match between Chris Woolford and Trevor Burnell. Burnell initiated a takedown attempt but Woolford reversed it and got the takedown himself. Woolford looked to pass guard but Burnell turtled up to avoid the pass. Woolford aggressively began attacking here, but could not establish his hooks for points and in a scramble Burnell then came out on top, With Burnell looking to pass guard, Woolford swung over for a straight knee bar attack and forced the submission at about the three minute mark. There were plenty of kids that competed at this tournament and everyone had plenty of chances for action, as one mat was basically devoted to children`s divisions all day long. Both the level of talent displayed and the sportsmanship was high and it was a pleasure to watch the kids competing all day long and having fun. The no-gi divisions were larger than as many competitors specifically came to enter just these divisions, and many of the gi competitors competed in both divisions. Shaka Ferriera won the under 140 advanced division and Ulysses Gomez took the under 150 advanced division. Bill Cooper and Stephan Goyne repeated their first and second place showing respectively in the lightweight (under 160) division. Keith Wilson came all the way from Colorado to take the Welterweight division (under 170) and displayed one of the slickest takedowns I`ve seen in competition; when Keith realized his opponent was about to go out of bounds he was able to immediately put on the brakes, change directions and take his opponent quickly to the mat. Rich Guerin took the light heavy category. Jeff Monson had a tough round robin division against Elias Soto and Aaron Stark. Jeff and Elias went first. Jeff scored two points for the takedown early, but Elias played his guard nicely and quickly brought the match back to the feet. From here it seemed to be a fairly even match, both competitors circled and tied up for a few minutes. Monson tried a quick double leg that was nicely defended by Elias and then Monson was on his back. From here Monson attempted to sit up but Elias quickly spun to Monson`s back and put the ATT Grappling superstar on the defensive. Monson remained calm as Elias sought to either get a choke or put his hooks in for the points, and when an over zealous Elias made the mistake of shifting his weight to far forward, Monson was able to dump him into side control, where the match ended. Aaron Stark had moved up a weight class to compete against here and he looked extremely impressive in scoring a quick submission victory over Elias via Darce choke. This set up a showdown between the smaller (but fresher) Stark against the larger, but having had to work harder for his victory Monson. Monson would surprise by trying to pull guard first, however Stark looked very strong on top and Jeff opted to bring the match back to the feet. When Monson looked for a takedown, Stark countered well and then would use good head control and the threat of taking the back to control Monson the duration of regulation. Without advantages counting in regulation however, the match was to go to overtime. The OT period went much the same as the regulation period, with Monson trying a shot which Stark would defend, and then Stark would aggressively look for points through a better position. Once again Monson would remain calm and defend well, and when the opportunity arose he forced Stark to his back and passed his guard for the victory around the 18 minute mark. Monson continued one of the most impressive streaks in submission grappling, but both Elias Soto and especially Aaron Stark looked very impressive as well. Among the women competitors there were two standouts in Tori Adams, one of the top women wrestlers in the USA (she has been described as the pioneer of women`s wrestling in Texas) and Cindy Hales, MMA fighter and brown belt in BJJ. These two actually met twice, first in their regular category and then again in the absolute, submitting every opponent they faced en route to their match up. In the first match, after much circling Adams was able to score the takedown, pass guard and secure the mount as time expired. The second match Adams was aggressive again, but Hales took advantage of Adams lowered head and pulled in for a guillotine choke. Adams quickly escaped and spent the rest of regulation in Hales` guard. In the overtime period Adams went for nother single leg, but Hales was able to defend and convert into a knee bar for the submission victory! The absolute division turned out to be a round robin affair pitting Bill "the Grill" Cooper, Keith Wilson and Jeff "the Snowman" Monson against each other. Keith fresh off his victory in the 170 Advanced division may not be a name you are familiar with, yet, but he is a 3 time USA Wrestling National Team member and an Olympic Team Alternate in Greco Roman Wrestling. Lately he`s turned his talents to MMA and has been picking up on the Jiu Jitsu game very well. Cooper and Wilson went first with Cooper, well aware of Wilson`s wrestling pedigree, immediately dropping to guard. Wilson immediately began to look for head and arm control, but could not pass the wily Cooper`s guard, however as Wilson put the pressure on, Cooper was forced to turtle up. Wilson stepped up his attack, looking for an opening but Cooper would not give one. After some time the match went back tot he feet but Cooper dropped to guard again, Wilson made an aggressive move to pass but left a leg open for Cooper to attack. Cooper attempted the submission that Wilson defended, but Cooper was able to get the sweep for the first and as it turns out deciding two points of the match. We didn`t see much of Wilson`s guard work, as the match quickly went back up to the feet and Cooper pulled guard again. Time expired with Wilson actively trying to solve the riddle of the Grill and Bill Cooper took the win. Keith Wilson went against Jeff Monson and despite the size difference it was Keith Wilson`s wrestling pedigree that allowed him to effective neutralize Monson`s offense from the feet. The battle continued this way for most of the match, until Monson was able to drop his level and power though a double legged takedown for again the first and deciding two points in the match. This set up a finale of Bill Cooper and Jeff Monson. Cooper vs. Monson has become the hottest rivalries on the World Grappling Games Circuit this year as they`ve met in the last three consecutive events. Plenty of grapplers his own size are intimidated by Monson`s record, reputation, power and technique and wind up simply playing not to lose against the Snowman. Bill Cooper, despite giving up around 80 pounds to Monson, steps onto the mat wanting to beat legend however and concedes nothing. A David vs. Goliath match up in every sense of the word, Monson vs. Cooper never fails to entertain and this match up certainly did not disappoint. Monson, for his part, has to respect Cooper`s abilities and although he was very careful not to use his power to hurt his game opponent, he tried to do everything he can to score on or submit Cooper. Still Cooper fought every second of the match and defended every last bit of offense from Monson. Regulation came and went and with no score (and no advantages in effect), the match went to overtime. Monson, clearly tired from his matches previous in the day, was not going to not live up to his grappling legacy and Cooper, ever the stubborn one, was not going to concede anything. The match went on through the overtime like this. Then the match went on some more. And more. And then some more. Every takedown attempt, every guard pass, every attempt to gain a score position Monson would try, Cooper would have an answer for. Finally at about the 37 minute mark Monson was able to score 2 points on Cooper and despite Cooper`s protests Monson was awarded the match. Cooper accepted the loss with his usual good sportsmanship and humor, but was already plotting his next rematch against the Snowman. The next world Grappling Games event will be the 5th American Internationals on December 3rd in Long Beach. More information at

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