By Ryan Heilman
With the 7th edition of Gustavo Dantas’ Arizona International Open offering up a total of $3000 dollars in prizes for its black belt absolute division, it was bound to attract some formidable athletes from all different areas. Amongst these competitors were names such as Clark Gracie, Marcel Fortuna, Ryan Beauregard, Augusto Moizinho, Carlos Farias, Michael Westbrook, and of course the big winner of the day, Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa.
“Formiga” had quite the journey to face 2011 Southwest Classic champion, Marcel Fortuna, in the finals. Flying in all the way from Boston, the Soul Fighters athlete had to face the largest opponent in the division, first round, Carlos Farias. “Formiga” had a very tough time trying to work with the much larger Farias. In the end Barbosa narrowly pulled off the win, with Farias losing points for stalling. The next round brought about another challenge in last year’s middle weight Worlds bronze medalist, Clark Gracie. “Formiga” accepted the challenge and passed with flying colors; defeating Gracie with an overwhelming score of 10-2.
On the opposite end of the bracket Marcel Fortuna began his march to the finals with a first-round bye, leaving him to face the winner of Augusto Moizinho and Ryan Beauregard in the semifinals. The lighter Moizinho managed to pull off the upset, defeating Beauregard on points. Once the next round came up, the much smaller Augusto put in a great effort against the esteemed Fortuna, but size seemed to be too much of a factor, with Fortuna eventually catching an armbar.
With the finals set, the entire Phoenix College gym sat on edge to await and see the winner of the coveted absolute division. Knowing he had to overcome a large size advantage, “Formiga” came in tough against Fortuna, bringing the action, not only managing to secure a sweep, but also following through on the back to beat the favorite 6-0.
Although losing, Fortuna did not go home empty handed; second place collecting $500. Not to forget the grand champion, “Formiga” seemed very grateful and is sure to put his $2500 prize to good use after leaving the fast growing Arizona Jiu-Jitsu scene.
Click here for the complete results.