The American Nationals in Carson, California, turned out some big names over the September 25th and 26th weekend, but once again, the biggest name in town was Caio Terra.
Terra, a rooster weight from Gracie Fighter, fought on Saturday in the black belt open and for the second time this year (coming off his big absolute win at the Las Vegas Open), he gave the crowd something to talk about.
Terra got a bye in his first match. In his second, he competed against Rodrigo Simoes of Gracie Barra Manhattan Beach. “We both pulled guard,” Terra says, “I went on top, and then took his back.” Simoes escaped and they rolled off the mat. The referee reset the match and the two started over. Terra pulled guard, swept Simoes, went to a flying triangle, and submitted him.
In his third fight, Terra was matched with Marcelo Mafra from Checkmat. Both competitors pulled guard. “I went on top,” Terra says, “Then took his back.” The two rolled off the mats and were reset by the referee. Both pulled guard again. “I swept him, he swept me, and I swept him back again,” Terra says. Terra took Mafra’s back. He went for an armbar at the end of the match, but Mafra escaped. Time ran out and Terra won 6-2.
In Terra’s fourth and final match, he faced off with super heavyweight Bruno Bastos from Nova Uniao. Bastos stayed in Terra’s guard for much of the match, unable to pass. Terra got three omoplata attempts on Bastos. “He always stood up,” Terra says. Bastos tried to shake the little man off, but Terra stayed in position.
Bastos was given a warning for not moving. “I opened my guard a little, to try to make something happen, but he went back into my closed guard,” Terra says. Time ran out and Terra won by points.
“Bruno was a gentleman on the mats,” Terra says, “He showed really good sportsmanship. He was very cool.” As a competitor, Terra said, “His base is very good. His weight seems way stronger than he is.”
Bastos also fought three matches in the open class. In his first match, he fought Rodrigo Ranieri from Brasa. “He is very strong,” Bastos says, “I swept him and ended up controlling the match on top.” Bastos won by points.
In his second match, he faced Leandro Santos of Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu, whom he beat by points. Bastos threw him with a foot sweep and Santos ended up back on his feet. “We played judo on the mat until the end,” Bastos jokes.
Then in the final, Bastos was paired with Terra, much to his dismay. After the match, Bastos laughed, “I tried to crush him, but there were so many legs flying around!” Bastos says that Terra is very tough. “He won the open in Las Vegas and now again. I have to train more with small guys. He’s very flexible. I kept trying to pass his guard, but couldn’t.”
When Terra commented on his good sportsmanship, Bastos says, “I try to be a good sportsman. I love to compete.” At the end of the match, both jokingly agreed that they would prefer not to have to compete against each other again in the future.
The final results of the black belt open were:
- Caio Terra, Gracie Fighter
- Bruno Bastos, Nova União
- Leandro Santos, Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu
Marcelo Mafra, CheckMat