For the first day in the windy city, the 2013 IBJJF Chicago Winter Open was everything that was expected: cold weather, serious athletes and some high-level Jiu-Jitsu. The day ended without too many bumps in the road and the amount of progress people made on the mats, gold medal or no medal, was enough to call it a success.
Dante Leon, still a kid and beating beasts
Dante Leon is a blue belt from Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu who has achieved two world titles and three pan am titles before becoming a legal adult. We first took note of his success at the 2011 American Nationals where he won the open class despite being outweighed by tens of pounds and having been on this earth for much less time than all of his opponents. His age was nothing but a number and that still remains. Last year he was no longer able to compete in the adult division even though he had reached success previously. This year, since turning seventeen, he can go back to fighting adults and becoming David and Goliath. This Canadian received two golds at the Chicago Winter Open: blue belt adult lightweight and the blue belt adult absolute division where he closed out with a teammate after a semi-final with a large opponent seen above.
Orlando Sanchez takes first attempt at black belt competition and reaches the top in absolute
This ultra heavyweight Gracie Barra black belt under Ze Radiola is no stranger to competition, having beat some of the best guys in the world. He was a stranger, however, to the black belt competition scene until now at the Chicago Open. Since there was no one in his division, he claimed his default gold medal and registered for the open class where names like Gregor Gracie and Rodrigo “Digo” Freitas resided. We asked him how he felt about stepping onto the mat as a black belt minutes before his first match of the absolute began. He not only won that match but defeated his next two opponents including Gregor Gracie in the final.
Rodrigo “Digo” Freitas closes out black belt adult lightweight with GB teammate Furao
As the lightweight division of the adult black belts only had three athletes signed up, a round robin format would be the case. Both Rodrigo “Digo” Freitas and Philipe “Furao” Della Monica beat their opponents and met in the final. Digo took the gold this time and explained, “I won the American Nationals in 2011 so when we closed out together in 2012 I gave the gold to him at the American Nationals. Now it is my turn to receive the gold.”
Comprido sends his Brasa army and shows true leadership through winning his division
Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros is a local to the Chicago area along with his students. For the Chicago Winter Open, he called upon all of his troops stemming from North Dakota, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin to total over 100 students signed up. Their team is in the lead with team points so far, proving that Brasa is a strong a competition force led by example. Comprido competed in the black belt masters ultra-heavyweight division and attained the gold medal after two matches.
You can see the results of the two-day tournament so far by clicking here.
Stay tuned for the next day of excitement as no-gi matches hit the mats!
All information for the 2013 IBJJF Chicago Winter Open can be found at www.ibjjf.org including schedule, brackets, results and more.