Purple belts recall their big wins at No-Gi Worlds

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The purple belts put on a show at the 2011 No-Gi Worlds, with one well-known athlete rising to the top and one not so well-known Jiu-Jitsu practitioner taking top honors. In the female division, the one and only Mackenzie Dern of Gracie Humaita took double gold on the day, winning one match in her featherweight division against Jessica Pene of Checkmat BJJ and then dominating three matches in the absolute.

Mackenzie playing guard / Photos: Deb Blyth

In facing Jessica, Mackenzie says she played closed guard the whole time and ultimately won via points. Mackenzie says she’s hopes her opponent learns to absorb the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle since she seemed a little upset by her loss. “You have to have fun in Jiu-Jitsu win or lose,” Mackenzie smiles, “It’s important in this sport. That’s what it’s all about.”

In the absolute Mackenzie had three matches. Her first opponent was DQ’d and she won the second on points. In her third and final match, she faced off against Alexis Du Fresne of American Top Team. “She was tough!” Wellington “Megaton” Dias’s star daughter says, “She attacked with a guillotine in the beginning… we both pulled guard at the same time. Then I had her in a guillotine and lost it. I had to defend until the end of the match. It was 1 advantage to 1 advantage. I got the decision, but it could have gone either way.”

Mackenzie was thrilled with her double gold medal win and capped off her day saying, “It’s been a really great experience!”

Pedro (green shirt) and his Striker JJ crew

Pedro Agrizzi of Striker JJ had the time of his life at the 2011 No-Gi Worlds. The 18-year-old Jiu-Jitsu athlete started training five years ago and only received his purple belt two months ago. He had five matches in his lightweight division and won them all by points. Then he entered the absolute and again outpointed all three of his opponents, making him a double gold medal winner for the day. Pedro’s final match in the absolute was against ultra heavy Jordan Hayman of The Avengers. “I pulled guard and swept him,” Pedro says, “At the end of the match I just held my position until the time was over.”

The 2011 No-Gi Worlds was Pedro’s first major tournament outside of Brazil. “This was my best competition ever!” the newly crowned champion exclaims, “At the end of my eighth match I could have done more! I’m never tired.” Leave it to a teenager to come into the No-Gi Worlds, have eight matches on the day, all going the full time limit and still have a full gas tank at the end of the day. “I want to be one of the black belts in the world,” he hesitates, “Number one in my weight for sure… and maybe in the open, too.”

Pedro says he will be at all the major tournaments in 2012. “I want to thank everyone who helped me get here today,” Pedro excitedly says, “I have no sponsors! I need one!”

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