At just under 650 competitors signed up, this was the largest US Open by far to date. Every school in NorCal has at least a few representitives, and many more have come to support from far and wide. Claudio Franca and crew didn’t miss a beat, expanded to four mats and the tournament is still among the smoothest running in the country. There were a ton of white belts. I say this everytime, but as always, I’m extremely impressed by the level of skill involved and it seems to upgrade each year. Purple belts were also today. Highlights include Clem Shields (brother of Jake) looking absolutely dominant in the light heavy weight division, winning both his matches by submission (running up the score 26-0 in the first case, and defeating the Mundial champion in the second). Ryan Hall and Nate Diaz looked impressive in their respective bouts leading up to their middleweight showdown. Hall quickly took Diaz’s back but the wily Diaz hung on, survived, then eventually turned the tables and finished off Hall by Kimura! Te second day saw blue belt action and had the Team Barra Gracie defeated Team Claudio Franca in the 3 on 3 black belt challenge. Mike Weaver defeated his opponent first on points (need to dig up the names. Roberto Carmago defeated Leonardo Soares via Ezekial Choke. Joao “Jerry” Olivia defeated Carlos “Sapao” Orayzon in a close match (points). In other black belt action: Andre Glodinsky defeats Octavio “Ratinho” Couta in the lone Master’s match on points. Felipe Lattari defeats Yugi Uchida on points in the Super Feather. Johnny Ramirez goes on to defeat Felipe on points to win the division. (3 man) In the middleweight I probably had the worst day of my life. Leonardo Soares defeats me (Alan Marques) by kneebar fairly quickly in the match. I went up against Alex Ferriera and lost to a head and arm choke. Leonardo Soares defeats Alex Ferriera 5-0 to win the middleweight division. I will say the losses were softened by the fact they were both class guys. In the Lightheavyweight division, Raul Castillo defeats Mike Weaver by clock choke. Mike actually went out. Gustavo Campos defeated Raul 6-2 to win the light heavyweight division. Gustavo had Raul in trouble early on, but Raul held on and was actually begining to turn the tide by the end of the match. I believe it was Pedro Maracco that won the absolute brown belt division. Taking second was Carlos Melo. Full report plus pictures coming soon and will be on the front page. Another great tournament (well, I’ve had better days ) from Claudio Franca and crew!