Saturday, May 26, 2012

Keeping it in-house

Since there isn't always an actual event card for local mixed martial arts gyms to have their fighters compete on, many times they will hold their own competitions in-house in an effort to not only improve their fighters' skills, but also continue to foster the sense of community that is so prevalent at many gyms.

Once such recent example was a tournament held earlier this month by Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs. The gym invited several of its affiliate gyms to compete in an in-house Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament, with a recap of the event available here.

One of the gyms that competed during the event was Wrightson BJJ in Towson. The school posted a couple videos of its students competing in the tournament, which can be seen here and here. While the first video shows a match that seemed to be over quickly, the two students who competed in the second video seemed to truly engage in the chess match that BJJ is known for. The student in the yellow shirt was constantly in his guard and seemed to want to lock his opponent into a submission. Luckily the other student appears to use his side advantage to his benefit and prevent that from happening.

Tournaments like this are a great way for different gyms to come together and teach its students the nuances of a sport as disciplined as BJJ and MMA.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Not the only game in town

A few weeks ago I posted a recap of the Shogun Fights VI card that took place last month at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore. While the eyes of the local MMA scene were fixed on Baltimore that night, another MMA card was taking place that same night not too far away that also featured fighters from another Maryland gym.

The event was held in Millersville, MD and featured several fighters from Baltimore Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Essex. Rob Sullivan, who leads the gym's MMA team, reached out to me and shared how those fighters fared at the event.

Carlo Elter of Baltimore BJJ locked in a rear-naked choke on his opponent for a submission victory in the first round, Sullivan said. Robin Paguia was victorious via TKO in the third round after the referee stepped in to stop Paguia from inflicting further damage on his visibly woozy opponent, according to Sullivan.

"[Paguia] pretty much rocked the kid with punches throughout the fight ... and in the third he rocked him hard with a right. [Paguia's opponent] stumbled and the ref stepped in," Sullivan said.

Baltimore BJJ's secured himself a title victory in the first two minutes of his fight via guillotine choke, Sullivan said. The gym's lone loss came in a hard-fought flyweight featuring the school's Jordan Jones, who lost by decision, he added.

Baltimore BJJ has been in the area since the mid-2000s when it started in Overlea, according to Sullivan. In addition to the fighters already mentioned, the gym's most active fighter has been Craig Machado, who has a 5-3 amateur record but has spent the spring training in Thailand, Sullivan told me in an e-mail.

Machado's Thai excursion has given Sullivan the duties of being the school's MMA coach, and he has coached other fighters to a 1-1 combined record, he said.

"Our team is more like a family," Sullivan said. "We have great BJJ players at the gym as well as some good strikers to work with. We all contribute when someone has a fight."

It was pretty neat to get this kind of feedback from someone in the Maryland MMA scene. If you'd like to share the story of your gym or one of your fighters, please send me an e-mail at