Photos: John Cooper
It’s summertime in Las Vegas and 110 degrees on the Strip. It’s hot outside, but it was even hotter inside the Las Vegas Sports Center as the 2010 Las Vegas International Open and the American National No-Gi Jiu Jitsu Championship got under way. Amped up competitors from around the globe came to give their best at this respected IBJJF event.
In the super heavy adult blue belt division, Tim Snyder, from Roberto Traven, outdid himself. He came in 1st in his weight class and 1st in the absolute. Snyder, who travels all over the country to compete, flew in from Atlanta to participate. In his division, he had two matches. He won the first by collar choke and the second by baseball choke.
In the absolute, he had three matches and won them all by collar choke. In his last Open match, he says his competitor was “huge.” Snyder exclaims, “It was like David and Goliath!” Snyder was a little intimidated by him, so he watched his matches before their final to see if he could gather a little inside information on the way he fights. “I knew what he was going to do, and I was prepared for it,” Snyder says, “He’s super technical. He got side control, I let him pass, and then I dumped him. I got on top and got the collar choke.”
Snyder went home with two gold medals and was feeling very happy. “Especially with the level of talent this year,” he says, “It’s been a great experience.”
In the heavy weight Seniors 1 blue belt division, Jason Hughes of Guilobel Jiu-Jitsu beat out Gerald Harper of Brazilian Top Team for the gold. Hughes had one match, which he won by Ezekiel choke. Harper took Hughes down and went to side control, but Hughes got the reversal on him. The two went back to stand up and Hughes pulled guard. “He almost got my back, but I defended,” he says, “I got half-guard, went to mount, and got the Ezekiel (forearm choke).”
“It’s been a good experience,” Hughes says, “It’s hard being in Vegas and not eating and drinking, but the experience has been great!”
In the middle weight Adult Purple belt division, Roberto Torralbas from Lloyd Irvine came to represent. He won his weight division and the Absolute in Gi and then his division in No Gi. He had a total of 11 matches for the day and he won them all. He took home three gold medals for Lloyd Irvin and was very happy with his performance.
Torralbas says it wasn’t easy going from gi to no gi in the same day. He had to hold a little back during his gi fighting, so he’d have enough energy to fight in the no gi. However, he was glad he flew out from Florida for the event. Torralbas lost in the quarterfinals at the Worlds and the Pan, so he was happy to redeem himself in Vegas. “It’s been a great experience,” he says.
In the middleweight masters/brown belt division, Leandro Massaro from Relson Gracie had a great day at the tournament. Only receiving his brown belt two months ago, he fought gi in his weight class and absolute, and in no gi in his weight class and absolute. By the end of the day, Massaro had racked up a silver in gi in his division, and a bronze in absolute; a silver in no gi in his division and a bronze in absolute. He was all smiles after every match he won or lost, clearly having a great time in Las Vegas.
Massaro says he tries to compete as much as he can. “As I get older, I hope I get wiser,” he laughs. Next year Massaro will enter into the Senior 1 division. “My friend tells me that when you’re over 35 and still doing Jiu-Jitsu, you’re either athletic, talented or crazy!” he says, “I’m still trying to figure out which one I am, but I love Jiu-Jitsu. It’s the best therapy a person can have.”
Complete team results:
Las Vegas Open (Gi):
1. Gracie Barra
2. Nova Uniao
3. Brazilian Top Team
1. Gracie Barra
2. Team Mica
3. Nova Uniao