Saturday night I was able to get a good night's rest. I had originally planned to compete both days and had paid the full fee but after the first day, I decided to drop out of the no-gi to help run the brackets from the main desk to each mat. I was the obnoxious voice on the mic all of Sunday if you noticed, haha. I was feeling a little beat-up but have received worse so it was more to aid the event than anything else.
Got to the event space a little later but came in to help collect fees and do the weigh ins. The group competing this day was a bit different as the mass of white-belts from the first day were not here and in their place was MMA Phuket with the largest competing team for no-gi. Their team being large enough (26+? guys) to cover all divisions: novice, advanced and elite. A few other teams that may not have been there for the gi but showed up for no-gi were Fairtex Pattaya, Extreme Australia, and Legacy Gym. The weights also seemed to fill up in the heavier categories too which was nice to see. Things got going relatively on time and much smoother than the day before. The rules meeting was conducted by Mark Simmerman and Ray Elbe without the aid of the mic cause it kept cutting-out, haha. The rules used were from ADCC which took a little getting used to + the scoring being a tad different than the gi. In 6 minutes matches, the first 3 minutes would have no points counted but would include negative points if an opponent pulled guard. By the end of the meeting everyone was on the same page so it looked to be a good day ahead of us.
We started with the novice division, 6 minutes matches and a lot of them ended quite quickly with submissions but as we got to the advanced divisions, the pace changed. Perhaps due to the no-points in the first 3 minutes, most played it a bit safe, waiting to score on points than fight for the submission which is what the rules had intended to push for. I didn't have much time to watch any of the novice or most of the advanced cause I was too busy running around getting fights set up, and updating the bracket-team. Which by the way deserves another thank you (Nid, Anjuna, Joel and Louisa). But as these two major divisions started finishing up, I got some time to watch the elite and take pictures. Philip Yeomans, Dimitrios Tsitos, Tony Eduardo, Christopher Hermanstad were again standouts and put on some great matches. I would also add to this list, Malik Mawlayi, Alex Berazovik, Jon Jones, Johnny Garcia and Carlos Bergante.
Carlos Bergante vs. Alex Berazovik (Elite under 75K)
There was a triangle of matches between Tony Eduardo, Dimitrios Tsitos and Philip Yeomans in both the weight + absolutes. With Tony taking the gold over Philip in the weight and then matched up again as Philip beat Dimitrios, bringing him to the finals with Tony. On both occassions Tony was able to secure the win but I'll tell you, it didn't look easy. And while guys like Christopher and Alex showed great command of technique, figures like Malik were just a physical force that was extremely hard to keep down.
The 2nd day was also schedule to hold 4 exhibition MMA matches with particpants both local and foreign. The matches were reffed by Yohan and judged by Ole Laursen, Malik Mawlayi and Adam Shahir Kayoom. If memory serves me, it went down like this:
Ezra(Thai) vs Winai (Thai)
-Ezra has been training at EMAC for a few months now and had another ammateur fight at KOF just a month or so prior. This fight went to the ground rather quickly and Ezra was able to secure the mount for some ground and pound. The match was stopped by the ref since Winai was not making any attempt to strike back or improve his position. Ezra by TKO.
? (Singapore) vs. ? (Thai)
- I apologize I do not remember the names but this was another quick end as the Thai opponent did not seem familiar with grappling or jiu-jitsu. A few strikes were exchanged before going to the ground. The Thai opponent turtled, giving his back and was submitted by RNC. Singaporean-guy by RNC
Ngoo (MMA Phuket) vs. Xavier (ASB)
-Ngoo probably had the biggest support group their, coming from MMA Phuket but that's what teams are for. With Ngoo being Thai, the crowd always love a match up of East vs. West. The first round, there was a healthy exchange but each opponent took their time feeling each other out. Ngoo was able to land some steady Muay Thai kicks to the Xavier's legs, getting the crowd amped up. Xavier returned with a solid cross to Ngoo, landing right in the face but he shrugged it off, taunting Xavier to do it again. I think we have anothe crowd pleaser here, haha. Each consecutive round was more of the same with it going to the ground but not much in the way of jiu-jitsu/grappling. Mostly hugging for the defense before things got stood up again. This fight went the distance for all 3 rounds with Ngoo taking the win by decision. Ngoo by decision.
Ryan Melchiano (Shanghai BJJ) vs. Mike Hutchison (MMA Phuket)
-The final and probably the most anticipated fight of the night between Ryan and Mike, both from the US but training and representing clubs in Asia. Ryan would be corned by Tony Eduardo and Mike by Ray Elbe.
Immediately from the first round each fighter took their shots with Mike coming in with a solid leg kick and Ryan returning with some serious haymakers, several of which connecting in the first round. Since there were no ropes or cage, the fight often went out of bounds and had to be returned to the center of the mat. Had their been some kind of barrier, I'm sure we would have seen more damage take place for both fighters as many times an opponenent is kept pinned and unable to escape/defend. The 2nd round was more the same with Ryan pressing the fight with punches to the head, pushing Mike off the mat several times over. Mike was able to return with punches and kicks of his own, taking it to the ground before a scramble brought them back up. The fight pressed on to the 3rd round with the same pressure coming from Ryan. Roughly a minute in, Ryan was able pressure Mike with more shots, pushing him to the edge of the mat with punches and Mike unable to return. Ryan Melchiano by TKO
The crowd went nuts and I would say the final match between Ryan and Mike has me convinced I will probably never enter an MMA match myself, hahaha. These guys fought hard and both should be very proud. Ryan having a great weekend as he won his division in the gi, taking the MMA fight with a busted hand and winning by TKO and to top it off, was promoted to purple-belt by Tony Eduardo, a long time friend and instructor. We're also very grateful for Mike, taking this fight as he was a replacement for Chad Hamzeh of the same team, having suffered a toe injury while training.
This was our first tournament organized by members of both Executive Martial Arts Center (EMAC) and Bangkok Fight Club (BFC) for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association of Thailand (BJJAT). Some key people involved in the success of this event are: Mark 'Vesuvius' Simmerman, Niti Techottiasnee, Luke Chaya, Sebastien Desvignes, Tomi Hashimoto, Taichi Takano, Chris Bagguley, Alex Berozovik, Mikko (Aggression) and our teammates here in Bangkok.
I would also like to thank all the referees that volunteered their time: Morgan Perkins, Taki, Aramaki-san, Adam (HK), Yohan, Sean Lynch, Offer, Alex Berozovik, Mark Simmerman. You guys worked all day, some without eating much else than a single banana and a bottle of green tea. Thanks guys for standing up and taking up the thankless job that is 'the referee'.
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