FTWPro 24: Tonon beats AJ in Gi match, Najmi defeats Nathan for lightweight belt; other results

The traveling show of the Fight to Win Pro productions finally made a stop in Southern California this Friday, February 3. The Huntington Beach High School was the setting for 27 thrilling matches ranging from teenage blue belts to some of the most famous names in the Jiu-Jitsu community today. Three matches deserved special attention from the packed gymnasium in Orange County. Here’s how each one of them played out.

Edwin Najmi controls actions against a tough Nathan Mendelsohn

The Gracie Barra black belt was originally scheduled to fight DJ Jackson. Nathan Mendelsohn got the call to replace an injured DJ one week before the event. Najmi said before the match that nothing changed for him with the new opponent. “I always train to finish my opponent, no matter who he is.” The match itself was fast paced with Najmi controlling the actions since the beginning and being able to take Nathan’s back twice. Fearless and very determined, Mendelsohn resisted bravely and was able to avoid the submission. In his best moments, Nathan was able to endanger Najmi’s guard. In the end, all three judges declared Edwin the new lightweight champion.

João Assis keeps belt after overheated battle with Mike Perez

The 2013 ADCC 99kg division champion was going to face Jeff Monson in the co-main event. Mike Perez replaced the Snowman on very short notice, but seemed ready to go. Assis stayed on top working the pass as Perez fought back from the bottom. The Atos JJ black belt attacked the guillotine a few times, but Assis was able to defend with lots of experience. As the clock winded down, the match got more heated. Perez resourced to pushing Assis away from his guard with his legs and at least once the movement came very close to a kick on  João’s chest. At the end, the referees saw Assis as the winner and still the light-heavyweight champion to a lot of protest by Perez’ corner, including André Galvão. Assis and Galvão exchanged not so nice words in the backstage after the match.

Garry Tonon puts the gi to battle bitter rival AJ Agazarm 

The notorious music video of Ralek Gracie’s G in a Gi rap song played to the crowd’s delight moments before Garry Tonon entered the match for the evening’s main event. At first, it was very strange to see Tonon wearing the traditional kimono. “It’s been three years since I last competed in the Gi. I did one training session before this match,” said Garry before the match. On the other side, AJ Agazarm, much more used to competing in the gi. The match delivered everything it promised to be. Tonon displayed his usual style of going for the kill no matter what while AJ searched for dominant positions. Tonon was able to put several attacks in place. He had a kimura that made AJ spin to defend early on. A little later, he attacked an armbar, also well defended by Agazarm. Tonon’s best moment came with a leg lock that had many people in the crowd cringing in agony with the way AJ’s knee bent. Agazarm, brave as always, resisted and did not give up. He was even able to pass Tonon’s guard at least three times. Near the end, he even got to full mount for a moment. The referees were unanimous in pointing Tonon the winner. He talked about the match. “I think I did what I came here to do. I really felt the difference of wearing the gi and he was able to get in better positions than me, but I went for the submissions no matter what. That’s what we train for.”

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Full results

Black Belt Results 
Garry Lee Tonon defeats AJ Agazarm Decision
Joao Assis defeats MIchael Perez decision
Edwin Najmi defeats Nathan Mendelsohn decision
Kevin Berbrich defeats Cleber Luciano split decision
Brian Mendez defeats Noah Tills DQ (Reaping)
Chad George defeats Rey De Leon Split Decision
Rodrigo Antunes defeats Omar Sabha Split Decision
Felipe Fogolin defeats Fernando Machado Guillotine
Jason Youseph defeats Ryan Robinson Split Decision
William Wheeler defeats PJ Montano Decision

Brown Belt Results
Kevin Crane defeats Sid Skrob Decision
Marvin Castelle defeats Darby Faulkner Heel Hook
Kauan Barboza defeats Drew Sklov decison
Josh Smith defeats Morgan Smith Decision
Ricky Lule defeats Cole Franson decision
Catherine Fuhro Perret defeats Tara White decision

Purple Belt results
Connor Donaldson defats Kevin Melendrez Triangle
Richard Arreola defeats Steven Calderon decision
Andrew Lopez defeats Wes Jarrell split decision
Tyson Blair defeats Clarence Chaney Armbar
Eric Medina defeats Abner Cifurentes Bow and Arrow choke
Albert Tapia defeats Hunter Robichaux decision
David Augustine Fraser defeats Myles Moudy decision
Andrew Ryan Murillo defeats Kevin Melendrez decision

Teen Results
Tainan Dalpra defeats Joao Capociama brabo choke
Liam Moss defeats Juno Lucero decision
Jacob Kassama defeats Andrew Kisselbug decsion



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