On Saturday, March 9, Orlando Sanchez stepped on the competition mats for the first time since receiving his black belt from Ze Radiola. The Gracie Barra ultra heavyweight had no one in his weight division at the 2013 IBJJF Chicago Winter Open so he entered the open class to see how he would fair. His first two matches were won by points against Nicholas Albin and Leonardo Correa.
On the other side of the bracket, Gregor Gracie of Renzo Gracie NYC is showing more and more in the gi vs. the MMA gloves. While he teaches nearly every day at the Renzo Gracie headquarters in Manhattan, N.Y., he only trains in the gi a portion of the time he’s wearing it. His time is mostly spent gearing up for his MMA career. His showing at the Boston Winter Open the weekend previous left him wanting more gi competition as he was able to submit Abmar Barbosa but came up short against DJ Jackson in the final of the black belt adult medium-heavy division. This time he conquered his weight division in Chicago and defeated his first two matches in the absolute against Jacob Mackenzie and Rodrigo Freitas. In regards to his time here on the mats he says, “My heart is here on the mats but from a professional standpoint, my career is in MMA.”
The final of the black belt adult absolute division led up to a match full of sweep and submissions attempts and a solid pressure game mixed in with some takedown attempts. See it here: