The second annual NYC MMA Expo was in full blast this year, i mean, well, maybe like 75% blast. The idea is great, venue is awesome, lots of big names, but something in the marketing must have been wrong because not that many people showed up. I was lucky enough to help out 2 years in a row for my school, Vitor Shaolin BJJ, and last year was more packed then this.
Shaolin was asked to do a seminar this year, but only 2 people signed up so he called myself and a few more students and just did a class. Unfortunately, during his class, Muy Thai fights were going on so not as many people saw the class as I would have hoped. The fights were going on for Marcelo Garcia’s class as well as for Rolle’s Gracies class.
In our class, Shaolin showed some sneaky moves. First, when you are on top and the bottom player is playing with a De La Riva hook, Shaolin showed how to make a forward roll in between his legs and finish him off with a calf lock. My partner was a bit annoyed since it took me so long to tap, but I got some spaghetti legs, I literally have no calfs (read that future competitors!). All jokes aside, its a cool move, and then he showed a sneaky way to get an armbar from side control.
Overall, there was a lot of booths, and a lot of girls in bikinis walking around. Unfortunately, a couple were grenades, but hey, ill take it.
The next day was the Renzo Gracie NOGI invitational, featuring a $3,000 blackbelt absolute which ended up in some controversy — more on this in a bit.
Im pleased to say that although only 2 of my teammates competed, both placed. Sergio Da Silva got first in blue belt light, and Chris Lackhan got third in blue belt feather.
The absoulte was NUTS. Braga Neto via Gordo came down to fight in it, his first match was against a local wrestling sensation who I have nicknamed "Russian Bear", his real name is Rustam Chsiev. This guy is awesome, youtube him, he has been killing it in GQ and NAGAs. Anyway, it was a back and forth match, Braga Neto almost took Russian Bear’s back, kept going for sweeps and takedowns himself, and in the very end Russian Bear almost passed Netos guard twice, and it appeared that the scorekeeper messed up who got what advantage, so Braga Neto ended up winning. Rus’s coaches started arguing, everyone was in a commotion but nothing was changed. I was personally confused by what was going on, and cant say who really won, just some people were not happy.
On a side note, The Fight Nerd had a table with the EA MMA videogame, so I played as Shaolin, vs Shaolin, who was also playing as Shaolin. I lost by armbar. Was really mad, but I will get over it.