Defeating black belts along the way – Ralph Gracie brown belt, Sean Roberts sweeps 3 divisions at this month’s Grapplers Quest

            While most BJJ competitors had finished up their 2011 tournament seasons and were beginning to dream of Thanksgiving turkey and pies, OTM sponsored fighter, Sean Roberts was preparing for his three impending divisions at the November 19th World Series of Grappling Tournament, presented by Grappler’s Quest in Las Vegas.

            By the end of that day, the Ralph Gracie brown belt welterweight would face a total of eight opponents, across three divisions, earning victories in all eight and with six wins by way of submission. Two of his opponents were not only black belts, but were within the toughest division of the day, the no-gi advanced absolute division. From his eight dominating wins, Roberts took home three new titles, including:  No-Gi Advanced Absolute Champion, No-Gi Advanced Welterweight Champion, and Brown Belt Champion (Gi).

That’s three new titles to add to his rapidly growing list—which includes hundreds of major tournament wins both in and out of the gi.

In the No-gi advanced welterweight division, Roberts had two fights, where the jiujitsu player said he “finished both in about a minute”.  In the No-gi absolute, Roberts had the most of any division, with four matches. “The first guy was a bit younger than me. I beat him in 40 seconds,” he recalled excitedly. “My second guy was a tough guy from Brazil, he took me down and was strong. I got the triangle, then he picked me up, but I continued to work on it and submitted him.” In his third and fourth fights was where Roberts met two black belts. “In round three, I fought Marcelo Mafra, a jiujitsu world champion, but unfortunately he got injured during our fight. He tried to foot lock me and I defended by putting pressure back and he popped his knee while defending that. The ref wouldn’t allow him to continue.”

Although Roberts won via ref decision in round three, he displayed he had what it took to go against the black belts in the finals.  “I fought black belt, Sean Spangler, in the finals and after 3 or 4 minutes, I triangled him.”  In his last division of the day, brown belt (gi), Roberts ended up moving up a division to fight two heavier opponents. “The first guy was 180-190 lb guy from TUF (The Ultimate Fighter show), Javier Torres. I got swept at first, but then I swept and got the mount. With my second guy, I submitted him within the first minute.”

When asked what stood out for him at this tournament he said, “this was the first time I’ve won the No-gi absolute .”

Although Roberts is no stranger to competitive jiujitsu, he was on a short hiatus earlier this year when he had surgery on his knee to repair some minor damage. “I feel better than ever and I’ve been on a solid winning streak since returning to competition,” he says.

The LA native has often enrolled in tournaments with both gi and no-gi divisions, but affirms, “I’ve always preferred the gi.”

He also talked in detail about how he plans to improve himself in 2012. “I recently decided to add in extra workouts and strength and conditioning, this will be the 1st time I’ve ever worked on my cardio and strength. I have a solid string of wins this year, but I will have to face a lot of tough guys at the PanAms in March. It is time I start focusing on my strength and conditioning to be stronger and faster.”

Look out for Sean at the 2012 Pan Ams and World Championships! He’ll be wearing the OTM gi! Osss.

Sean Roberts thanks:

“A quick thank you to my parents, my girlfriend, coaches and friends. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Story by: Christie Sullivan


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Christie Sullivan