It is safe to say that Gracie Barra owns the Houston Open Championship.
In four editions of the tournament, created in 2010, GB has always occupied the highest place of the podium. In 2013, its athletes totaled 232 points, 42 more than second-placed BJJ Revolution. Nova União completed the top three.
To review the performance of the team, we talked to black belt Ulpiano Malachias, leader of GB Westchase. The professor from Minas Gerais, who also fought and won the master heavyweight division, talks about his fight and reveals the secret of the GB’s success in Texas.
GRACIEMAG: You won the master heavyweight division. How was the fight?
Ulpiano Malachias: I fought a local guy, Ugo Arimo, from Solis Academy. He was heavier and much stronger than me, but I went up in weight to be able to help the team. The fight went as I planned. I pulled into the closed guard and almost caught his arm, but I ended up sweeping. At the end, I played safe to secure the gold medal. I came from a shoulder injury and did not want to take risks with a standing game. Thank God everything was ok and I came out with yet another gold medal. The best thing is that it was in front of my students who support me a lot!
GRACIEMAG: The Gracie Barra team came strong again, winning the overall title for the fourth time in a row. What is the secret?
Ulpiano: The secret is the Professor Vinicius Draculino, who does a wonderful job here in Texas and stresses the importance of people coming together and training together forever. That is why we defend a flag and we are loyal to Gracie Barra and to Master Carlos Gracie Jr. Draculino also makes clear that it is important that our competition team is always strong and united. Another important factor is the team of professors that we have in Texas: Alexandre Dande, Gabriel Martins, Brandon Mullins, Tyler Bosnard, Leo Cantu, Ted Stickel and other athletes who give their all for Gracie Barra. With this recipe, you can’t miss.
GRACIEMAG: You must have had many students competing. Who were the highlights of the team?
Ulpiano: I cannot remember them all, but I thank every one who helped the team reach the title at the Houston Open. Among my students, we had some champions: David Droogleever, Leon Worth, Cris Brown, Joaquin Garay, Marat Shagirov, Michael Escamilia, Seth Cortney.
Watch Ulpiano fighting in Houston: