|This picture is the one I would use to sum up the entire event. |
The crowd, the refs, the other competitors, the coaches, the staff.....everyone was silent in anticipation of this match.
The tournament was great, but as always, I'll try to comment on what was great and what was lacking.
Some thoughts on seeing the event first hand as a spectator:
Quick Rundown as a spectator -
Kron Gracie: black belt for consistently looking to advance and finish
Malfacine: blue belt for stalling to the win over Gui after the takedown
Sambazon and Silvio's Brazilian BBQ: black belt for yummy acai bowls with granola and bananas and yummy BBQ, respectively
IBJJF: black belt for running nearly all the divisions on time throughout 4 days of competition
UC Irvine at California: black belt for being the exactly right size for the event and minimizing confusion that is often expected at grappling tournaments
Juvenile competitors: black belt for promising futures and careers. My only concern is that the points game of 50/50 to winning by advantages or waiting to sweep until 2 min's remain may prove detrimental to their overall Jiu-Jitsu and the spreading of the sport to casual observers.
The long breakdown as a spectator -
Rafael Mendes vs Cobrinha - spellbinding. Much like Graciemag comments here, at the start, everyone began thinking it would be another war of the 50/50 leg scissor, but after Rafael's sweep, the end was quick and decisive. From where I sat, I swear, I could feel the surprise in Cobrinha.
Kron Gracie in the Absolute - did well, finally succumbing to kneebar, I believe. It visibly wore on him just a bit as he entered his divisions at weight the following day. I must admit, as compared to say Gui or Malfacine, Kron does not jerk around or stall. He paid the price with his gas tank for being a true competitor and looking to advance and sweep and finish throughout his matches.
Bruno and Gui Mendes - Bruno got the takedown and was content to stay (hide?) low in Gui's guard who for his part, also, did not do a whole lot other than feed Bruno's right lapel to the left side around his head. Bruno won after roughly 8 min's of stalling and the same of Gui not opening up to force an opportunity. Lackluster and anti-climactic.
De La Riva is the new Blue Belt - even up to the Heavyweights, the DLR was in constant display. My opponent and numerous others were diligent players of the DLR guard and used it to great effect to sweep and unbalance opponents.
Juvenile Blue Belt - the technical and "get after it" Jiu-Jitsu I saw in the Juvenile blue belt was some of the best of the tournament.
Pulling guard to 50/50 - the leg scissor was in full effect at all of the higher belts. More to come on this topic.
Miyao Brothers - the one I saw compete did what I expected: inverted reverse DLR/spiral to backtake and then hunt for RNC.
Bocheca - tough, tough dude. He ran roughshod over a lot of guys in both weight and the absolute.
It was a surprise seeing Lovato lose the ref's decision and not continue on through his bracket.
It was a surprise seeing how quickly Justin Rader got armbarred to wristlocked by Gui Mendes.
Kayron Gracie - stayed cool, calm, and collected while maintaining control throughout most of his matches start to finish.