CARSON, California — September 8th and 9th, those were the days of the American Nationals at Cal State Dominquez Hills and if any of you missed either day, Sat gi and Sun no gi, you missed some great matches not to mention some familiar faces making their way back to the grappling scene. Rumor had it that a lot of the guys that were competing the next two days were prepping for the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships – Masters and Seniors happening October 7th in Long Beach. I got there a bit late on Saturday but right off the bat there was some great matches to catch. I didn’t catch the names (wish I had though) of the two blue belts going on mat 4 but these two had people yelling at them and cheering as they pulled off some crazy throws and counters and for the entire match it was nonstop.
Anyways as I started to look around I saw some of the familiar faces I mentioned earlier like Alberto Crane, Gustavo Dantes, Shawn Fowler, Cobrihnia, Caio Terra, Rafa Mendez and the women’s world champ Hilary Williams Refed, and oh by the way don’t cross this girl, you just may get “X”ed out!
I had ran into a young lady that I met and started watching at the South Bay Open a while back and I got to watch her compete again Adelita McGrath from the Carlson Gracie Team, has a style that is just fun to watch as well. She is very aggressive with her guard and is never a lay and pray lady! In her first match she DID ALL THIS STUFF. In the finals match she met up with Nana Hosokawa from Ruffhouse. This match didn’t go the way of Adelita this time but a great match none the less. So here are those matches for your viewing pleasure. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHc_SNTNe0k&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l2Zk8-sWP0&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  and part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhFIBN9NZFg&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  )
One of the purple belt matches I was able to actually sit and watch was Shawn Fowler; yea you may know him from his very own successful tournament Grappling X. Yup for those of you who didn’t know it, he not only runs his own tournaments he is also a competitor. How bout this, instead of writing about this match check it out here is the link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyjBmV0g_54&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  ). Enjoy! After this match Shawn came over and said that sweep he got caught with was definitely a bit of a shocker.
One of Caio Terras’ new brown belts Manuel Diaz ended up submitting everyone in his division and won gold but in the open went up against the demon wrestler AJ Agazam but ended up loosing 2-0. I think a lot of people were upset with this as there was a good case of stalling and it just seemed like there were no repercussions. You can kind of see this in the match with Daniel Pollacia and AJ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59_T9sORkv8&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  ).
I didn’t get to catch her matches much to my disappointment but brown belt phenom Mackenzie Dern won her adult feather division.
Alberto Crane made, I suppose you could call it, “a come back to grappling” last month to compete in Vegas at the IBJJF event and took home gold. What’s so significant about that you may ask, well if you spent the last 5 years of your career doing MMA after being a successful grappler even prior to that and you came back, in a gi no less, to go against top level competitors then it’s really a big deal. Alberto won on advantage in a back and forth match with Matt Jason Baker from JJ Machado and later Matt mentioned to me later that he thought that match was “fun Jiu Jitsu” because it was a very technical battle while his second match was not as much fun.
Gustavo Dantes won his first match with Scott Dewitt showing his sweeping skills, I wasn’t able to catch the whole match but I was able to catch most of the action so check out the video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl9ismXXX3c&list=UUqIjM0KIKk2I3O92-oSuKJg...  ) I think the score ended at 8 to 0. He went on to win the division defeating Luis Vega with a series of sweeps as well. Both of those matches were fun to watch. I think Gustavo has a way of making matches exciting no matter what. One of the things I really have always had liked about Gustavo is that he is one of those guys that you can walk right up to, sit and have a great conversation with, AFTER his matches. If you ever get the chance to sit and talk with him I know he appreciates that, he is one the guys that had been in this game for a long time and has some real history. Or you can just wait until I get the interview up here and read it!
The Black Belt absolute finals were between Bruno Antunes and Caio Terra which found Bruno winning a split judges decision. Caio was on the bottom in 50/50 for the most of the match and I think this is why the main mat judge sided with Caio while the two line judges sided with Bruno.
This was a smaller event than normal but had some great matches and if you get a chance to join next year you never know who you will see, or roll with!