Monday, March 12, 2007

Jeff Monson defeats Estima in 10K

By Spewy

London's Hackney Empire Theater was host to the first 10K Ground Clash on the 11th of March. Although grappling tournaments are now common place in Europe this one was set apart by it's winning purse of ten thousand pounds (about eighteen thousand dollars) to the winner. With such serious prize money on offer it is no surprise that it attracted some big names from both sides of the pond.

Also different from the run of the mill tournament was the setting, in a large traditional theater with only one main mat and a show production more usually found in a MMA event. Fighters were introduced from behind curtains to the splendor of music, announcements and pyrotechnics. A grand setting indeed for what was to become an intriging four hours of no gi grappling to a packed house.

The card :

Bracket one :
Braulio Estima
Ze Marcello
Haim Gozali
Pedro Bessa
Michal Russel
Tito Beltran
Paul Bridges
Tarec Saffiedine

Bracket two :
Jeff Monson
Tom Blackledge
Vincent Parisi
Neil Owen Mcevoy
Marcelo Bernado
Nicholas Gregoriades
Octavio Souza
Helio Perdigao

Bracket three :
Mario 'Sukata' Neto
James Zikic
Rafael Lovato Jr
Jess Laudin
Antony Rode
Chris Rees
Stephen Dawson
Chris Bright

Bracket four :
Lucio 'Lagarto'
Thiago 'Monstro' Borges
Simon Hayes
Marcus Riberio
Alexandre Izidro
Lee Catling
Gabriel Kitobar
Leo Negao

The competition ran to expectations with local favourite Braulio Estima coming through his bracket, Jeff Monson and Lovato Jr showing that jet lag is no barrier for the Americans, the final bracket being won by Leo Negao.

On to the Semi Finals. First up was Estima vs Lovarto Jr. Being supported heavily by the crowd Estima took Lovarto Jr down to the mat and secured his back before submitting the always improving American. Monson fought a very different match against the reluctant Negao. With almost five of the six minutes past without any score or action, Monson secured two take down points and that was enough to see him through to the finals.

After a ten minute interval containing a crowd pleasing interview with Londoner Roger Gracie, who when was quizzed who he would bet on for the final and unsurprisingly backing his long time friend and Gracie Barra team mate Estima to win, jokingly betting his own house no less, the final began. Estima in a move that was rather out of character lost one point early on to Monson with an usual and ineffective guard pull/sweep and soon afterwards could not stop the wrestling of Monson as the Snowman shot for the double leg and sunk it in deep. With the action now on the ground with Monson in Estima's guard the game really started with Braulio attempting several Triangle Chokes (his trademark submission) with Monson trying to capitalize on each attempt by countering with his own guard pass. What resulted was a stalemate that lasted the rest of the eight minute bout. Monson could not pass and Estima's attempts were becoming more desperate. With just two seconds on the clock there was a break for a cut over Estima's eye but that effectively signaled the end. Monson the winner by 3-0.

Post match interviews came with an obviously very upset Estima and a very humble Monson ceding that in his own mind he won over the better grappler. Such a move was appreciated by the partisan crowd and Jeff Monson walked away ten thousand pounds the richer receiving warm cheers.


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