Double gold and split pants in Vegas

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Vanderson Gomes is a second degree black belt from Gracie Barra Costa Mesa. The 32-year-old is an ultra heavyweight who has been training Jiu-Jitsu for over 18 years and a black belt for six years now. He’s also a fixture on the IBJJF tournament circuit, not only as a competitor but also as a referee.

Vanderson atop the podium / Personal archive photo

The Las Vegas Open was no different. The big man had three matches in the masters open class. His first fight was won efficiently and quickly with a submission. “I was very calm and confident in my game plan going into my first match,” Vanderson says, “My opponent pulled guard on me and I was able to pass to half-guard and quickly submit him with a shoulder choke.”

Gomes’s second match was his most challenging of the day. He was pulled into half-guard, where most of the match played out. “My opponent had a very strong half-guard position that was extremely difficult to pass,” he says, “The fight went the distance and I was awarded the decision via points.”

After his last battle, Vanderson realized that he had lost his grip. He knew he needed to finish the final quickly. “Fortunately, I was able to pass my opponent’s (Coalition 95’s Carlos Melo) guard and submit him with a choke from the north/south position in under three minutes.”

Vanderson aksi won the ultra heavy division, where there was no one else in the bracket. “It felt good to be out there competing again and even better to secure the gold in the absolute division and my weight class after not competing for almost a year,” Vanderson says, “I had a great time at the Las Vegas Open and look forward to defending my title next year. Now I’m heading back to GB Costa Mesa to train hard for the Nationals this September.”

With his competitive matches out of the way, Vanderson threw on his black referee’s shirt and took to the mats to fulfill his responsibilities as an IBJJF ref. He was working his eight-hour shift, thinking the hardest was behind him, but in his seventh hour of work, the funniest thing happened to him. “I was doing my job, helping to draw some opponents back to the center of the ring and suddenly my pants split from behind,” he laughs, “I was in shock and yet I had to keep working. I worked my last hour with my hands crossed behind my back as if nothing ever happened!” It sounds like the fans behind him got more of a show than just a good Jiu-Jitsu match!

Although as the old saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” this story was too good not to share! Sorry, Vanderson…

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