The hurricane couldn’t stop the Boston Open, or Formiga, Renan & Hall

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Rafael Formiga sinks armbar at Chicago Open. Photo: IBJJF publicity.

This Saturday’s Boston Open was set to begin just as Hurricane Irene arrived, but even that couldn’t keep the fearless Jiu-Jitsu players from leaving the gymnasium empty, as they stubbornly took to the mats to compete.

As he did at the Chicago Open, Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa (Soul Fighters/Best Way) again won the absolute (check out the complete results for the Boston Open clicking here), after competing against training partner Victor Henrique (GFTeam) in the final. On the day of the hurricane, what swept the mats was the good example set by the two.

The absolute and middleweight champion nearly had the show stolen out from under him when Renan Borges (BTT) overcame Ryan Hall (Marcelo Garcia), in a featherweight war between two elite Jiu-Jitsu athletes.

Formiga, a Carioca living in Connecticut, recounts how it all went down:


“I was riding a victory at the Chicago Open and kept up the pace. In Chicago I beat Carlos Rodrigues (Carlson Gracie Team) twice in the lightweight division, winning one by armbar and the other from back mount. In the first match of the open weight division I tossed the guy and won by armbar, in the second I swept, passed guard and finished with a choke from back mount.

In Boston, I competed at middleweight, winning the first by WO – I think the guy didn’t show because of the Hurricane Irene warning. Boston was one of the places hit, but in the end all that happened was some trees got shaken. So I waited for the match between GFTeam’s Victor Henrique and Nova União’s Danilo Cherman to end to see who I’d face in the final. Victor got the finish, so we had an evenly-matched final, 0-0, but I was more aggressive and the ref ended up awarding me the win.


Victor and I trained together for the Worlds but we had a talk about it and decided we should face each other or we’d not have a match at all. So we faced off, and the curious part is that we did it again in the absolute division. I started against Rodrigo Ranieri, a featherweight from CheckMat, and I won by 7-2. In the final I met up with Victor Henrique again. We drew at 2-2, with a sweep apiece, and I won by three advantages.


The featherweight final at the Boston Open was a great match, albeit controversial. Both started out pulling guard, and in the scramble Ryan Hall moved for back mount and Renan ended up on top, and the way I see it the ref messed up in awarding two points, when it should have been just an advantage.


After winning two absolutes I sat around waiting for Irene. I even wanted to beat her (laughs)! I want to thank my teacher André “Dedeco” Almeida, Danilo “CP” Cherman from Nova União, and Gabriel Gladiador, for having helped me train!

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