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2014 IBJJF London Open: New European black belts make a name

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From its beginning in 2011, the IBJJF London International Open has grown each year to become one of the premier events of the European BJJ scene. This was particularly evident this year when the demand was so great that the gi event had to close registration early because the competition was simply filled to capacity with entrants from all over Europe. Competitors from the United Kingdom and Ireland were out in force, but there were entries from Brazil, USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Romania to name just a few of the countries whose nationals had travelled to be part of the event.

With a wave of newer European black belts looking to secure qualification points for the Worlds in Long Beach next year as well as test the shark-infested waters of the black belt division, there was a mixture of both established talents and up-and-comers jostling for the places on the medal podium.

In the male light featherweight division, Marcel Oliveira of Frateri Lateri finished British black belt Mark Stephenson with a footlock in less than a minute of their bout and secured the first black belt title of the day.

In the featherweight division, Oxford-based Maximiliano Campos defeated Spaniard Sergio Calderon to claim the gold.

4_GB72_StampSiteThe lightweight division was one of the more competitive of the competition, with Switzerland-based Ilke Bulut defeating the UK’s Oliver Geddes in the final by three advantage points to one. Ilke’s route to the final took him past France’s Douglas Barcellos (by submission) and Brazil’s Italo Lins (by 4-2 on points), whilst Oliver overcame GFTeam’s Gabriel Rainho with a quick footlock.

Within Europe, the rivalries at middleweight are well established and usually tested at every competition within the circuit. This time around, Ireland’s Darragh O’Connaill defeated Italy’s Luca Anacoreta by 2 points to zero. Luca had managed to secure a guard pass towards the end of the match, but Darragh fought hard to prevent the three points and then managed to defend his lead until time expired.

Middle-heavyweight saw three competitors battling it out: France’s Julien Cazier, Poland’s Piotr Wojtkowski and another UK-based Polish fighter, Dominik Debiec. In the first bout, Piotr defeated Dominik by advantages. Dominik in turn defeated Julien to set up a revenge match in the final. Despite his best efforts, Piotr was able to place and keep hooks from the back to earn 4 points, more than enough to take the match and with it the gold medal.

The heavyweight division was won by Johannes Weith, a student of the Ribeiro brothers based in Germany. He defeated Checkmat’s Chico Mendes in the final with a choke from the back, leaving Norway-based Renato Tavares and Switzerland’s Karim Khalifa to collect their bronze medals and round out the division.

Finally, the ultra-heavyweight division saw Antonio Henrique Junior of Roger Gracie Team finish Christophe Levy by submission early in their ten-minute final match.

Italian Roosterweight Andrea Verdemare and British Super-Heavyweight Christopher Bowe were both alone in their divisions, readying themselves instead for the absolute.

Luca Anacoreta didn’t let his disappointment at his result in his division hold him back from putting on an impressive result in the absolute. After several matches, he faced off against Braulio Estima student Christopher Bowe in the openweight final. Christopher had defeated Sergio Calderon with a choke from the back and Renato Tavares on points on his side of the bracket, whilst Luca had defeated Alex Cabanes of Calasans BJJ in his semi-final. Although the fight itself was extremely competitive throughout, Luca eventually took the victory and the absolute title by the slimmest of margins, a referee decision.

Not content to let the male competitors have all the fun, there was plenty of action in the female divisions, too. Multiple-time world champion Luanna Alzuguir of Alliance took on three-time world bronze medallist Shanti Abelha of Checkmat in the middleweight division. Despite Shanti initially displaying a strong top game, an omoplata eventually lead to a sweep that gave Luanna the victory by 2 points to zero.

At featherweight, meanwhile, the first European black belt world champion, Laurence Cousin of France, faced Yasmine Wilson of Roger Gracie London. Even though no points were scored during the course of the ten minute match, Laurence was able to advance and secure the half guard of Yasmine three times to earn the three advantages required to give her the victory and with it the London Open title.

With no one else within her weight class, Victor Estima student Gretchen Zoeller had to content herself by waiting for the absolute division.

Although Luanna decided to sit out of the absolute this time around, the remaining four ladies were still very much in pursuit of the absolute title they wanted. Shanti defeated Yasmine by a single advantage in the first semi-final, whilst Laurence defeated Gretchen. The absolute final came down, then, to Laurence against Shanti, and after ten minutes of hard-fought action, Laurence was the victor and female absolute champion of the London Open.

See the full results here: http://static.ibjjfdb.com/Campeonato/000315/en-US/Results.pdf

See a full photo album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.978924338789565.1073742063.192240324124641

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