Keenan Cornelius and Yuri Simões will clash this Sunday for the honor of being the eighth different no-gi black belt open class champion in eight editions of the event.
Both the American and the Brazilian young talents had amazing campaigns to get to the gold medal decider.
Yuri Simões debuted in the open class with a 2-0 win over Fight Sports’ Ricardo Rezende.
Keenan then had to fight James Puopolo, last year’s superheavy champion: the final score was 8-2 Keenan.
Yuri had a second match against Tim Spriggs and a back take and repeated takedowns earned Simões the 8-2 win for a spot in the semifinal.
Keenan fought for his spot in the final against fellow American Garry Tonon, who also had an amazing run at the open class – submitting Luiz Panza and beating Eliot Kelly 2-0.
Despite the great record, Tonon was unable to stop Keenan and saw Cornelius open a large lead, with final score of 23-2.
The other semifinal was also a countrymen meeting.
Yuri faced Bernardo Faria, who had armbarred Josh Hinger and outscored Jackson Sousa 9-2.
The semifinal was thrilling with Bernardo trying to make his well known half guard game to work.
Simões was aware of that and defended well Farias’ attacks.
With time, Yuri managed to attack and eventually captured Bernardo’s arm to win by armbar.
The open class final is tomorrow, after all the weight divisions know their champions.
Here’s a photo gallery of the open class division.
For the complete coverage of the day of action at the Felix Center,m in Azusa, go to instagram.com/graciemagazine