Grappling Classic Summer Trials

I’ve never been to Detroit before excepting the airport, however seeing the work that promoter Sean Bansfield had taken care of to bring a grappling event to Michigan…

I’ve never been to Detroit before excepting the airport, however seeing the work that promoter Sean Bansfield had taken care of to bring a grappling event to Michigan, along with the line up he had secured for the professional division I decided to fly out and check out the scene for myself. Despite the excellent organization the turnout was smaller than expected, but those who attended had ample opportunity to test out their skills in both gi and no gi divisions. Six time world champion Saulo Riberio was on hand to coach his team, hang out, even play a little basketball! The under 215 pound division had $1750 in prize money up for grabs, with $1000 of that going to the winner! With the field ultimately reduced to four competitors, each of these men came in liking their odds to walk away with a not insignificant sum. The first round match up saw Rafael Lovato Jr. taking on Mike Nomikos from Furukawa. Rafael quickly pulled guard, and swept almost immediately. From there Lovato was textbook technique as he applied constant pressure moving from side control, to mount to finish via choke. On the other side of the bracket Brian Slygh from Saulo Riberio took on Jacob Conliffe from Furukawa in a technical battle. Slygh tried to work a half guard from the beginning of the match while Conliffe used his balance and technique to work diligently to pass. Slygh was able to secure to sweep however, and in a slow scramble as Conliffe tried to escape nearly took the back. Conliffe hung tough however, and was able to reclaim the top position when Slygh over extended himself without securing the hooks. Conliffe worked a pass a little while before attempting a footlockbut the action came to the feet again quickly. From there Slygh attempted to pull guard as Conliffe worked for the takedown, time expired and the nod went to Slygh. Sean Bansfield himself stepped up into the competition and had a rematch from the Dale Eanhardt Jr. tournament against Lovato Jr. Sean attempted to shoot, which was nicely countered by Rafael, and Sean was forced to work from his guard. Nothing much amounted from this, as the fight came to the feet after about a minute. Some cautious circling, then Lovato literally baseball slid into the guard position. Bansfield attempted to pass, defending Lovato’s open guard well. About five minutes in lovato finally saw his opening and attempted to shoot a reverse triangle (made famous on the 101 submissions DVD)but Bansfield escaped. The remainder of the match had Bansfield holding down Lovato as time expired, a very close match for sure, but based on his aggression Lovato took the match. On the other side of the bracket, an alternate to fight Brian Slygh was well over the 215 limit. Teacher/ student Mike Nomikos and Jacob Conliffe has a thoroughly entertaining exhibition match for third place. This set up Lovato Jr. vs Slygh for the finals. Both competitors felt each other out for quite a while before it was Lovato after an exchange who got the takedown. Slygh attempted to work his guard again however Lovato looked strong on top. Rather tan allow his guard to be passed Slygh would give up his back, however Lovato could not secure the hooks. Sylgh eventually dumped Lovato, who quickly applied the tap for the victory and first place. Good weekend for Detroit as the Pistons went on to down the Lakers in the NBA finals so the mood was understandably lightened up. A friendly day of competition in a region that is definitely seeing an upsurge in quality of competitions, and events like the Grappling Classic are definitely determined to lead the way ***** RESULTS ***** PRO 1-Rafael Lovator, Jr (Carlos Machado) 2-Brian Slygh (Saulo) 3-Jacob Conliffe (Furukawa) TEAM 1-Saulo 2-Port Huron BJJ 3-Barros/Budokan NO-GI Absolute 1-Todd Seyler (Youngstown Submission) 2-Deon Thompson (Saulo) 3-Dominic O’Grady (Budokan) Super Super Heavy 1-Dominic O’Grady (Budokan) 2-Jayson Allen (Port Huron BJJ) Super Heavy 1-Deon Thompson (Saulo) 2-Wissam Aoun (Furukawa) 3-Dominic O’Grady (Budokan) Heavy 1-Jagmeet Dhaliwal (Furukawa) 2-Kyle Cooley (Saulo) 3-Jeff Dekort (Supreme) Medium Heavy 1-Mike Bekier (Saulo) 2-Chris Clements (Supreme) 3-Matt Brady (Saulo) Middle 1-Jeff Allaer (Supreme) 2-Joseph Klesko (Kali) Light 1-Ken Meinhardt (Port Huron BJJ) 2-Brian Sohnrey (Saulo) Feather 1-Alex Vojinov (Kali) 2-Bryan Szych (Saluo) 3-Shawn Frisbee (Saulo) GI Blue Belt Absolute 1-Dominic O’Grady (Budokan) 2-Todd Seyler (Youngstown Submission) 3-Kieth Barnett (Saulo) Super Heavy 1-Deon Thompson (Saulo) 2-Todd Seyler (Youngstown) Heavy 1-Tom Connelly (Team Mat) 2-Dominic O’Grady (Budokan) 3-Wissam Aoun (Furukawa) Medium 1-Jagmeet Dhaliwal (Furukawa) 2-Mike Reidel (Port Huron BJJ) 3-Brian Sohnrey (Saulo) White Absolute 1-Mike Bekier (Saulo) 2-Ken Meinhardt (Port Huron BJJ) 3-Tom Marks (Barros) Super Heavy 1-Jason Bartram (Barros) 2-Jason Allen (Port Huron BJJ) 3-Ante Dzolic (Team Mat) Heavy 1-Barent Bradt (Port Huron BJJ) 2-Mike Bekier (Saulo) 3-Chris Clements (Supreme) Medium Heavy 1-Trent Horky (Saulo) 2-Tom Marks (Barros) 3-Jeff Dekort (Supreme) Middle 1-Joseph Klesko (Kali) 2-Peter Blackshear (Saulo) Light 1-Ken Meinhardt (Port Huron BJJ) 2-Darvin Lamagna (Caique) Feather 1-Leandro (Caique) 2-Alex Vojinov (Kali) 3-Oliver Stauffer (University of Michigan BJJ)

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Gumby is the co-founder of back in 1997 with Scotty Nelson.