Ana Carolina Vidal (left) against Garbriella Garcia in the purple belt open division semifinals at the 2007 BJJ Mundials in Long Beach, California
Here is a rundown of selected matches which I witnessed. Sorry it’s so staccato but my head is still spinning from the action going on in eight different directions at once.
BLACK BELT OPEN DIVISION NOTES
- The most exciting match of the day from the mens’ side took place between Roger Gracie and Margarida. After an extended period of very physical wrangling for the takedown while standing, Margarida took Roger down and sidemounted Roger to take a 5-0 lead to the surprise of everyone. Roger appeared shocked at the turn of events. Such discrepancies in score are normally very difficult to overcome at this level of competition but Roger displayed the calm tenacity which has made him a perennial favorite and came back to win 11-5.
- Rafael Lovato Jr., who has had a banner year, did not fare as well as he would’ve liked in the open weight division, losing on points to Antonio Braga. The match was controversial in that the referee did not give points to Lovato for at least one takedown. Lovato’s only consolation is that he beat Braga earlier this year in Brazil.
- Tarsys Humphries opened his day by beating Raul Castillo 8-2, spending most of the match attacking from Castillo’s back.
- Andre Galvao beat Tarsys Humphries by points to eliminate him from the open weight division. Galvao also eliminated Carlos Alejandro “Sapão” Bán, who can always be identified by his completely tattooed scalp when his head is shaved.
- Xande Ribeiro, who won the 2006 open weight black belt division, also did not have the ending to his 2007 Mundials that he would’ve liked. Xande was defeated in the open weight semifinals by Romulo Barral who never let him establish his game. Earlier in the day Xande beat Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu by a choke from the mount after Filho escaped a choke and two deep armbar attempts. Joao Cunha also fell to Xande by a very rapid armbar in their match. To arrive in the semifinals, Xande defeated Andre Galvao in a close match that began with a close triangle attempt from Xande.
- Romulo Barral, who took the black belt absolute title at the Pan-Ams earlier this year, defeated fellow ADCC competitor Luis “Big Mac” Teodoro. The not-easily moved and aptly named Big Mac was swept by Barral, who impressed many with a quick choke submission from the half guard.
- On his way to the semifinals, Romulo Barral submitted Jorge Britto by armbar, and eliminated Naoya Uematsu in under one minute by armbar after taking him down.
- Eduardo Telles defeated Luke Stewart by points.
- East coast competitor Tim Carpenter did not last very long in his bout against Roger Gracie. Once their match hit the ground, Roger submitted Carpenter within a minute.
- Roger Gracie defeated Robert Drysdale at the nine minute mark of their match. After being swept towards the middle of the match, Drysdale (who is coming off the victory of a lifetime in his defeat of Marcelo Garcia by submission at the 2007 ADCCs in New Jersey) went to turtle position. It took a few moments but Roger was able to get the hooks in and take Drysdale’s back. Roger readjusted to the top mount and sunk a collar choke.
The best match of the day came from the women’s purple belt open weight division. Ana Carolina Vidal, a small fighter from Gracie Humaita took on Gabriella Garcia of Macaco Gold Team (the same team as Gabriel Gonzaga). Garcia is a very large woman, towering over most men at the event in height and weight. Vidal, for her part, probably weighs about 130 pounds. Undeterred, Vidal locked up with Garcia and tenaciously went for the takedown. The crowd could not believe it as this David and Goliath encounter unfolded. Vidal refused to be taken down by the overwhelmingly larger Garcia, and eventually scored two points for a takedown of her own about midway through the match. After a brief pause in the action when Garcia’s knee appeared to be injured, the fight continued and Garcia seemed on a mission to take down Vidal in return for points to come out ahead. However Vidal displayed inspiring resolve and refused to give up her balance while Garcia pushed her around the mat like a rag doll. The whistle finally blew, giving Vidal the 2-0 win over Garcia while the crowd erupted with cheering for the victorious Vidal. This match alone will be worth buying the DVD in my opinion.
In brown belt competition, Kron Gracie, the son of Rickson Gracie, continued to terrorize the brown belt division. Kron just received his brown belt a year ago and has an enormous streak of wins by submission. Today was no different and he went on to beat Gracie Barra’s Otavio Souza by choke from the mount for the brown belt middleweight title in 2007.
Tomorrow’s championship match in the black belt absolute division will be Romulo Barral against Roger Gracie!