Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Top of the Heap

I've written before about how some of mixed martial arts' most well-known names make their home in Maryland. Among the biggest names are Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs and Yamasaki Academy in Rockville. Yamasaki Academy is of course owned by UFC referee Mario Yamasaki, which has produced many fighters who compete in both regional shows and local shows like Shogun Fights.

Team Lloyd Irvin is run by the Master of the same name, Lloyd Irvin, and has produced many fighters who compete locally, regionally and nationwide, with the most well-known fighter currently being UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. Team Lloyd Irvin has produced other UFC competitors, include Brandon Vera and Mike "The Hulk" Easton, who won his UFC debut last month at UFC's first event in Washington, D.C.

But while gyms like Yamasaki Academy and Team Lloyd Irvin are known for producing fighters, its students also competing at numerous tournaments nationally and worldwide. One of those is the Copa Nova Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships, and Yamasaki Academy and Team Lloyd Irvin finished 1-2 in the October 2011 team tournament.

The two gyms won first and second place among a field of 50 competitors, which included squads with such prestigious lineage as Royce Gracie and Pedro Sauer. For two of Maryland's most well-known MMA gyms to be able to emerge on top of such a deep and extremely talented field only speaks to the depth and quality of talent in our state.

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