Don’t mess with Texas! Don’t mess with Texas! It says it everywhere you go in Texas bumper stickers, billboards and even in the airport.Don’t mess with Texas! Don’t mess with Texas! It says it everywhere you go in Texas bumper stickers, billboards and even in the airport. I guess this is where GW’s gets his attitude. I got lucky and had some free time in my US tour to head down to Dallas and check out the 1st Texas Submission Challenge featuring Submission Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu. I got the invite from Doug and I was happy to head down and lend a hand and shoot some of the hot talent that was showing up to try and win some of the $3000 cash prizes.
The day started out on time. All the weigh-ins were done the night before at the hotel. The day started out with the kids divisions. I was really impressed with some of them especially Drake Dudley from Mohler Jiu Jitsu. This kid moves like a black belt from position to position very fluid. Look for him to be one of USA’s top fighters if he sticks to it I think he is only 10. There was also a pair of wrestlers that were really good Ryan and Tristan, I believe. These kids were lightning fast and they represent the new school of American grapplers, strong takedown skills and submissions too.
There was a lot of local talent there and it is good to see that Texas and the surrounding areas have a solid base to build on. I am sorry I don’t know any of the guys names since this was my first trip but, OTM will be back and keeping an eye out for you guys.
The pro divisions were hot. Some of the nations best talent had made the trip and there were some locals there to prove that you can’t mess with Texas. Here is how the showdown went to the best of my recollection. Unfortunately the matches and divisions jumped around from mat to mat so it made it hard to follow. In fact this was the only complaint I could make about the whole event. As you all know I can complain a lot too, so these guys did a real good job for their first event.
Pro Division 170 and Under: The hot shot kid from New Mexico, Deigo Sanchez (Jackson’s Galdo JJ) beat Clay Marrs from the Lions Den via submission so fast I couldn’t even run over to the mat and film it in time. Then he went on to beat Diego Saraiva from LA Boxing via referee stoppage. There was some drama here. Saraiva didn’t tap but the Referee saw his arm totally extended and stopped the fight. Since the Texas state athletic folks were closely watching this event they didn’t want to risk and injuries. Unfortunately when we are dealing with the top professional grapplers and new referees we need to remember that these guys can get out of what looks like a bad hold. In any case Sanchez got the win and moved on to face Popovich in the Finials.
On the other side of the bracket Pablo Popovich (ATT) beat a very tough Chris Bowles from the Lions Den on points. In the next round Pablo beat Eric Davila (Scorpion’s Lair). The finals turned out the be a rematch of the last Grapplers Quest Trials in NJ just a month before. The every game Sanchez refused to slow the game down and went after the veteran ATT black belt Popovich wining on points. This time Popovich was able to slow the game down to his speed and control the young Sanchez to take the win on points. Popovich knowing that Sanchez is a good wrestler went straight to his 1/2 guard and stayed in the guard working to sweep but mostly just keeping control over Sanchez. Popovich got full control by shutting his guard. In the closed guard Sanchez worked to open it a little but he was hesitant to try and stand and pass. They spent a lot of time here Popovich with his guard closed and Sanchez trying to open the guard low. Finally with a minute left Popovich opened his guard switched to 1/2 guard and tried for a sweep, but Sanchez stood up and took the fight to the feet and started working hard. Popovich pulled closed guard again. This time he opened it and arm dragged Sanchez for two points. The fight quickly returned to the feet and Popovich pulled butter fly guard and fought off Sanchez’s pass. Time ran out with Popovich up by too and Sanchez very frustrated.
Pro Division 170 to 195: This division was the tale of two byes, both finalist got a bye in the first round. Sean Spanger (Cobra Kai JJ) beat Ronald Collins (Royce Gracie) and then went on to fight Lee Douglas (Machado JJ) in the semi-finals. Sean is a veteran competitor and at this even his whole game really seemed to come together for him. Lee started out strong pulling 1/2 guard and working his game well. Sean was putting a lot of pressure on him using his wizard and working for the darce front headlock choke. Unfortunately the pressure was too much for Lee and he injured a rib and the fight had to be stopped.
On the other side of the bracket ATT’s Gesias Cavalcante also had a bye that led him to Branbon McDowell from Relson Gracie. Cavalcante and McDowell wasted little time and tied up on the feet. McDowell look to be a little stronger that Cavalcante but Cavalcante worked for the takedown despite his coached suggestions to pull guard. Cavalcante took McDowell down with a single leg but he set it up nicely off a Russian two on one arm spin. Once on the ground Cavalcante pretty much dominated. Cavalcante rested up a little while McDowell worked Cavalcante then pushes to 1/2 guard on the right side, passed and went straight to mount. Once mounted he but the pressure on McDowell’s head but McDowell was able to slip his right knee out and get the 1/2 guard again and then finally full guard. Cavalcante up on points seemed happy and waited it out. McDowell never got a chance to launch an offensive. In the semi-finals Cavalcane fought Thomas Jones from the Lions Den. Cavalcane decided to keep it on the feet again and test out his wrestling, after a few tie- ups Cavalcane noticed Jones dropping his head. He slapped on a tight head lock and jumped guard for the finish. The choke was on tight and Jones had to tap.
The finals was Cavalcane vs Spangler, both fighters worked form their feet looking for a tie-up. It was Spanger that shot in first for a single but in the scramble they ended up out of bounce. Spanger continued to be the aggressor arm dragging and trying to jump on Cavalcane back ala Marcelo Garcia but Cavalcane shook him right off. Spangler still on the hunt shot for another single-leg but Cavalcane snatched up his head in a front headlock and pulling guard. Spangler reversed the position and kept the scramble moving till they ended up out of bounce and Cavalcane was forced to give up the choke. The fighters started out back on their feet in the middle of the mat. The score was still 0 to 0 both guys were working hard from the tie-up Cavalcane shot in for a double-leg but Spangler got to his back. Cavalcane instantly dropped for the knee-bar and forced Spangler to defend then Cavalcane switched to the heel-hook but again Spangler defended well and the fighters scrambled back to their feel. The fight was still 0 to 0 and less than a minute left in the fight, Spanglers shot a single and Cavalcane tried for the guillotine choke this time Spangler got out and earned the 2 points. Cavalcane worked hard from the bottom and stood up with a single. He took Spangler down but Spangler held on to his head tight and somehow flipped out and ended up on Cavalcane’s back. Spangler take home the $1000 Cash with a win on points in a very tough match.
Pro Division 195 and Up: Jeff Monson used to be a straight wrestler, not the most exciting fighter to watch, but now that he has been training at American Top Team with some of the best Jiu Jitsu guys in the world his whole game has changed. In his first match, Monson fought Jarrod Clontz (Grappler’s Lair) Monson did the unthinkable for him he pulled butterfly guard moved to 1/2 guard and swept! He then quickly passed and worked knee on the belly. This left a little opening for Clotz who put him back in 1/2 guard. Monson powered through Clontz 1/2 guard after a short struggle. Monson kept the pressure on the slippery Clontz and eventually choked Clontz out with a front head and arm. In his second match Monson fought Luis Garcia (Houston BJJ). Garcia had a bye in the first round and came on the mat fresh but it was Monson that went on for the win. In the semi-finals, Monson fought a very tough Iranian wrestler / Jiu Jisu fighter, Yousef Alirezai (Star Jiu Jistu) Yousef wasn’t giving up much in power to Monson but a little size. Monson pulled guard again but Yousef chose not to engage so they returned to their feet. Yousef shot for an ankle pick and Monson pulled out and then pulled guard again. This time Yousef had to engage and he worked to pass to the right. Monson came up on him with a single leg but Yousef defended well. Back on their feet, the two fighters kept active and Monson insisted on his guard where he sat up again with the single this time taking Yousef to his knees where he spun to the back. Once on the back Monson kept the fight on the ground. Yousef worked his way to 1/2 guard trying to work a Kimura. He eventually made it to his feet where Monson was able to get the front headlock. Monson was heavy on the head and brought Yousef to his knees and then moved to the back. Monson worked for hooks on Yousef but Yousef was able to get out and back to his feet. Now the fight was 4 to 0 and Yousef had to work to try and set up a takedown. Monson pulled guard again and tried to single-leg Yousef defended well but in the scramble gave his back to Monson again. Monson paced himself and worked to get a hook him. Yousef defended the other hook and Monson attacked the neck. The match ended with Yousef escaping the back and making it his feet. A great match for local talent Yousef but Monson had the match on points.
On the other side of the bracket Roy Nelson (Cobra Kai JJ) had a bye in the first round and in the second round he fought Carlos Isaac (Team Extreme). Nelson had some size on Isaac but Isaac was not little and he looked strong. The two traded vicious tie-ups but Nelson was the aggressor the whole time. Nelson eventually got double-unders and Isaac gave his back on the way down. Nelson then took his back broke him down with booth hooks in. Nelson loosened him up with the Dan Severn and switched to the rear naked choke for the submission. Next Roy Nelson faced Bryan Schall (Jackson’s Gaido JJ) and these two battled for tie-up position on the feet. Schall showed no fear and was pushing the fight right back at Nelson. Nelson the seasoned veteran he is just picked things up a level and charged in for a single. The single it turned out was just a fake to set up the double-unders. Schall tired a last ditch reversal but that just landed Nelson in side control. Nelson put a lot of pressure on Schall, who eventually got mounted. Schall tried to buck Nelson off like a bull ride but Nelson just stayed on top. Schall made a list ditch effort to get nelson off but nelson just slid down his straight arm and set up for the armlock. Nelson eventually broke the grip and beat Schall by submission.
In the finals we now had to Abu Dhabi competitors on the mat fighting for $1000 cash. Both fighters came out unanimated tying-up and going heavy on the head. Nelson shot in quick for a single on Monson picked the leg up well but then didn’t finish the takedown. He has full control but couldn’t put Monson down. Monson kept the pressure on Nelson’s head working for a front head-lock but then slipped and fell to the ground. Now Nelson was in Monson’s 1/2 guard with a lot of pressure on Monson’s head. Nelson managed to get his leg free for a second but Monson tried hard to sweep him. Nelson avoided the sweep and almost got on Monson’s back. Monson squirmed around and Nelson fell off on to his back giving Monson 2 points. Now in 1/2 guard Monson was trying to power through keeping good control with Nelson flat on his back with the clock ticking. Nelson fought his way back to his feet with only 30 seconds left. Nelson tried a few failed shots and ended up in his guard to avoid Monson getting his back. Monson pulled out the win on points and took home the cash. Monson has really improved his game and was very exciting to watch.
The Texas Submission Challenge was a very exciting event. The three grand in prize money drew a lot of top talent and gave the locals a change to step up and shine. We look forward to the next one and see you all there.
First Annual Texas Submission Challenge Team Results!
First Place – Star Jiu-Jitsu – This is a very impressive win for this school. This school has only existed for several months, yet was still able to perform strongly in many diverse divisions; from teen, to standard adult, to masters and seniors, and to the professional division (Yousef fought in a heavier division in order to be able to compete against Jeff Monson; and it was an excellent match). Look for more from this up-and-coming team!
Second Place – Lion’s Den – This is another very impressive win, but for different reasons. As Guy Mezger said in an earlier conversation, “[Lion’s Den] is not a grappling school. It is a fighting school that knows how to grapple.” They have shown that even though their primary focus is not on pure grappling, they are a strong force to contend with in a pure grappling event.
Third Place Tie – North Dallas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu / JD Shelley and Master (Alliance) – Both of these teams are known for always providing a strong team to almost every competition in the area (and many out of the area). This event was no exception. Although NDBJJ has only been in existence for 1 year, it has developed a very aggressive and high performing team. Master (Alliance) has been a presence in Texas competition for many years, and has shown that this presence is still very strong.
Fourth Place – American Top Team – Due to the increased value of the higher skill level divisions, American Top Team was able to win fourth place with only 3 competitors in the event. This team, once again shows why it is one of the premier teams in the United States.
We would, once again, like to thank Konjo Fight Gear for providing the team awards. We appreciate them giving us the opportunity to provide team awards that will facilitate the training of our top performing teams.
First Place – 6 foot Muay Thai bag, Low-Kick Suitcase, and set of Thai Pads.
Second Place – Low-Kick Suitcase and set of Thai Pads
Third Place – Set of Thai Pads
Professional Under 170 1. Pablo Popovich 2. Diego Sanchez 3. Eric Davila
Professional 170- 195 1. Sean Spangler 2. Gesias Cavalcante 3. Thomas Jones
Professional Over 195 1. Jeff Monson 2. Roy Nelson 3. Yousef Alirezai
Children Beginner under 50 1. Anessa Pitts 2. Tristin Hair
Children Beginner 50-59 1. Reagen Thoede 2. Rush Thoede 3. Mathew Gonzales
Children Beginner 60-69 1. Joseph Burns 2. Kierian Gallardo
Children’s Beginner 70-79 1. Joey Vogelsberg 2. Duncan Brandenberry 3. Travis Sizemore
Children’s beginner 80-94 1. McKinley Thomas 2. Nicholas Kreimeier
Childrens Beginner 95-109 1. Ryan Hair 2. Blake Sanders 3. Dante Pitts
Children’s Advanced 50-59 1. Aubrey Thoede JR. 2. Justin Todd
Children’s Advanced 60-69 1. Drake Dudley 2. Sean Todd 3. Brandon Lorenz
Children Advanced 110- 124 1. Isaiah Harris
Teen Beginner 115-134 1. Blane Thomas
Teen Beginner 135-154 1. Hameed Mirbahaebdin 2. Kyle O’Connell 3. Lance Merlo
Teen Beginner 170 and over 1. Samuel Husky 2. Adam Maret
Teen Advanced 115-134 1. Jeremy Dodd 2. Marc Snodgrass 3. William Vogelsburg
Men Beginner under 140 1. Jeremy Dodd 2. Andrew Kellog 3. Zach Davis
Men Beginner 140-149 1. Rick Anderson 2. Justin Roth 3. Charles Ketchum
Men Beginner 150-159 1. Mark Thompson 2. Blain Sibille Jr. 3. Jacob Congleton
Men Beginner 160-169 1. Jerome Martinez 2. Joshua Foster 3. John Ford
Men Beginner 170-179 1. Tomer Litvin 2. Christopher Mc Daniel 3. Howard Rodriguez
Men beginner 180-189 1. Rick Salazar 2. Adolph Mirakhori 3. Tony Tipton
Men beginner 190-204 1. John Jackson 2. Jonathan Wagner 3. Christopher Collins
Men beginner 205-219 1. Bryan Schall 2. Rudy Grimaldo 3. Kelly Rundel
Men beginner 220-over 1. Edgar Ramirez 2. Jeff Tucker 3. John Wolf
Men intermediate 140 -149 1. Kaiber Sheen 2. Jaime Lara
Men intermediate 150-159 1. Matt Wyman 2. Cody Rich 3. Hunter Allen
Men intermediate 160-169 1. William Richardson 2. Roy Young 3. Jonathan Carson
Men intermediate 170-179 1. Lance Thomasson 2. Zane Harris 3. Justin Guinn
Men intermediate 190-204 1. John Brink 2. Shannon Mathers 3. Shigeaki Meguro
Men intermediate 205-219 1. Michel Apple 2. Christopher Green
Men Advanced under 140 1. Brandon Mullins 2. Takashi Inoue
Men’s Advanced 140-149 1. Corey Frye 2. Robert Soliz 3. Danny Alvarez
Men’s Advanced 150 -159 1. Takuhiro Kamikozono 2. Barak Messina 3. Joseph Carter
Men’s Advanced 160-169 1. Mark Read 2. Brian Rodgers
Men’s Advanced 180-189 1. Mike Hipp 2. Christopher Arellano 3. Todd More
Men Advanced 205-219 1. Philipe Espinoza 2. Jeremiah O’Neal
Masters Beginner under 160 1. Mark Thompson 2. David Goodman 3. Blain Sibille
Masters Beginner 160-179 1. Joe Randick 2. Eric Trager
Master Beginner 180 -199 1. Kelly Williams
Master Beginner 200 -over 1. John Wolf
Masters Advanced Under 160 1. Roberto Pena
Masters Advanced 180-199 1. Yousef Alirezai 2. Luis Garcia 3. Marc Snodgrass
Masters Advanced 200 and over 1. Brad Rehor
Seniors Beginner 180-199 1. Peter Robbins 2. Dan Davis
Seniors Beginner 200-over 1. Ron Thomas
Seniors Advanced 200 over 1. Brad Rehor
Men’s Beginner Absolute 1. Rick Salazar 2. Jeff Tucker 3. Kelly Rundel
Men’s intermediate absolute 1. Todd More 2. Michel Apple 3. Jaime Lara
Men’s Advanced Absolute 1. Sherman Pendergarst 2. Felipe Espinoza 3. Jeremiah O’Neal
Woman’s Advanced Absolute 1. Jessica Choy 2. Elizabeth Slaughter 3. Angela Smalley