TOP Grappling Preview

The only ways to obtain victory will be by submission or by obtaining 12 or more points with a 3 point lead. On Saturday April 15th, at 12:30 PM, Randy Bloom will be promoting his 1st Tournament of Pros Grappling Event. This will be a submission oriented no-gi grappling competition. There will be two single elimination 8 man tournaments. One will be a 160 and under division, and the other will be a 161-200 division. There will also be 2 superfights. The only ways to obtain victory will be by submission or by obtaining 12 or more points with a 3 point lead. In our attempt to provide more exciting fights for the spectators, stalling will be strongly discouraged. The goal is to attract some of the best submission grapplers in the country. Winners of the tournaments will receive $1,000 cash prizes, and the winners of the superfights will receive $500. 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive some products from event sponsors. All competitors will receive a professional quality DVD of the event produced by GrappleTV. At least one major martial arts magazine will cover the event. Tickets to the event are now just $25, so you don’t want to miss this event! 1s Superfight The first match of the day will be Rani Yahya vs Gil Melendez, so requested because Gil has to go to the UFC later in the day as his coach Cesar Gracie has two team members in the the UFC later that night (Nick Diaz and Dave Terrell). Rani Yahya vs Gilbert Melendez Rani Yahya is the ADCC 65K Runner up. Every fight he had was literally a war and in the finals his match against Leo Viera went a full 55 minutes. He also was the 2003 ADCC Brazilian Trials Champion and has numerous titles to his credit. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rani Yahra moved to the United States and trained at the Rickson Gracie Academy, but has since moved on. He also boasts a MMA record of 6-1. Rani is a very crafty competitor and seems to know more ways to win than any competitor. Gilbert Melendez With an MMA record of 9-0, Gilbert Melendez is the #1 contender for the Shooto title and is currently a purple belt in jiujitsu. Gilbert also has a solid background in wrestling and trains at Fairtex with Jake Shields. Gilbert participated in ADCC 05 and scored one of the days biggest upsets by defeating Baret Yoshida in the first round. He recently won his advanced division at Grappler’s Quest (fighting up several weight divisions) Gilbert is one of the scrappiest competitors around and improves greatly each time out. If this match had been booked a year ago, I would have no problem labeling Rani the favorite; as of today I am not so sure, Gilbert has gotten that much better and Rani has been off of the competition circuit for awhile concentrating on MMA. The format of this tournament also plays a huge factor however, in a no time limit situation which competitor can finish the other? This may be a fast paced match (Rani can play either slow or fast, but Gilbert’s matches are always quickly paced), but both competitors are EXTREMELY difficult to score upon, thus this match may go for a long time. My gut is that Rani based on his experience edge is a slight favorite here (I don’t think mat rust will be a factor), but this match will be a war that could go either way. 160 and Under Tournament Rani Yahya, Bill Cooper, Steve Magdaleno, Takumi Nakayama, Adriano Nasal, Greg McIntyre, Robert Breslin and TBD Rani Yahya is also participating in the under 160 division no matter what the outcome of his match against Gilbert. He is looking to get back into the competition circuit in a big way right now. Bill Cooper is one of the most exciting grapplers around. Unfortunately he was injured before the Pan Ams (which prevented his entry there) and his ability to participate this weekend is questionable. Steve Magdaleno is a brown belt under professor Caique. He is a Pan Am champion and has multiple advance division titles to his credit. He often is able to score with takedowns in his matches. Takumi Nakayama is a an MMA fighter from Japan, who has competed in a variety of organizations such as King of the Cage, Deep, and Shooto. Adriano Nasal is a black belt from the Brazilian Top Team and has won numerous tournaments in Brazil and here in the US. He may be the most seasoned competitor in this field. Greg McIntyre trains under Dean Lister, is extremely scrappy and has an excellent wrestling base. Robert Breslin is an kickboxer/MMA Fighter who is relatively new to the sport of submission grappling, but is gathering knowledge quickly. 200 and Under Tournament Vinicius “Pezao” Magalhaes, Juniho Boi, Brent Stuchlik, Jared Rollings, Asa Fuller, Chris Downum, Kengo Ura, and TBD Vinicius “Pezao” Magalhaes is a black belt from the Gracie Humatai team, and was the brown belt absolute champion at the Mundials last year. Juniho Boi is likely out due to Visa issues. Brent Stuchlik is a black belt under Dean Lister, and possesses a wide array of leg locking skills. Jared Rollings is a tough Mma competitior from the No Limits camp Asa Fuller is a brown belt from Cleber Luciano how posses a traditional jiujitsu game with a deep knowledge of leg locks. Chris Downum- Not quite sure who he is, guess I’ll find out this weekend! Kengo Ura is an MMA fighter out of California who comes from the R1 (formally RAW) gym. 2ns Superfight Jeff Glover vs Naoya Uematsu The second superfight will feature Jeff Glover vs Naoya Uematsu. Jeff Glover is very familiar to fans of OTM, as we have been tracking his career from blue belt to his black belt received on the podium following his second Pan Ams victory at black belt in a row. Jeff improves every march he participates in as well in that he has become very good at dictating the pace of the match, while making any mistake against him will result in the tapout! Naoya Uematsu comes from the world famous K’s gym and has black belts in both Judo and BJJ. My first view of him was against Megaton at the Pan Ams in which he lost, but looked extremely good in the process, forcing Megaton to his back on several occasions (something rarely seen) as well as nearly passing the guard. Once again the format is going to play heavily into how this match unfolds. Naoya’s strength is definitely in the takedowns and being on top, Glover is likely to pull guard anyway. Then it becomes a question if Naoya can deal with Jeff’s guard, or Jeff can hold off Naoya’s pass. Both competitors are worth, but Glover has been such an active and aggressive competitor that I have to label him as the favorite here. As which is usually the case with 8 man tournaments, there are still slots open for competitors in the 8 man tournament. If you are interested in competing, or for more information regarding this event, please contact Randy Bloom at (714) 381-5763 or at or Daniel Darrow at

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