Malta Grappling Challenge 3
Yesterday I competed in Malta Grappling Challenge 3. Unlike the previous two events in which I competed as a Welterweight (70-80kgs), this time I cut down to Lightweight (60-70kgs). I'll be competing in my first 2 amateur MMA fights next September, so thought this to be a good opportunity to experiment how I'd fare competing at 70kgs.
We were 9 competitors in our division, and as luck would have it, I was one of the guys who drew the short straw and had to play in the preliminary round to get us down to 8 men.
My opponent in my first match is a Bulgarian sambo instructor. I won this match 3-2 on points. One thing I have to say, this guy was TOUGH and very STRONG (sorry for the caps lock!). Seriously, I wasn't expecting someone like that at 70kgs, it felt as if I was rolling against a guy who is much heavier in terms of strength. I was on the defensive for most of the match, (in fact he had a ton of advantages over me by the end of the match), defending his guillottine chokes and a triangle choke attack that had me very close to tapping. I got those vital 3 points by passing his guard after escaping his triangle choke, and although he managed a sweep later on, I managed to hold on and survive in my half guard till the end. I had mixed feelings at the end of this match...sure I had won but, on the other hand, it felt as if I had just had my ass kicked. As usual I had had my 'first match' jitters whenever I competed, but still I wasn't happy that I had barely scraped through.
Match 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WQz...ature=youtu.be
Second match and Quarter Final proper, I was paired up with another Bulgarian guy. Still pissed off about my earlier match, I was determined to make a good showing in this one, and thankfully, it went all smooth except for a small hiccup midway through the match. I managed to get a single leg takedown early on and passed his guard from there into side control. Stabilizing for a bit, I got full mount and held him there, gaining a 9-0 points lead. Eventually he managed to get up on his feet, with me promptly trying to get another single leg on him and it was there that I risked a bit as he attacked me with a guillottine. I defended that and managed to get the fight back on our feet, stuffing his takedown attempt with a sprawl and transitioning to an anaconda choke. Unfortunately I wasn't able to lock his legs so couldn't finish him, but still managed to hold him in north/south position till the end of the round.
I was much happier with this performance than the previous match, and was ready to face the Semi Final :)
Match 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsun...ature=youtu.be
In the Semi Final I was going to face one of my own team mates who also happens to be a judo blackbelt. From personal experience in training, I knew I would NOT want to get inside this guy's clinch! lol If he managed to get side control on me, it would be pretty much game over.
On the positive side, this guy had not been training much this year due to work commitments, so his cardio would not be top notch. He'd also had a tough match in the previous round, so I was hoping that if I could take this match to the end I could make him gas out or committ some mistake.
With that in mind, I pulled guard at the first opportunity and locked him there. The match was practically a stalemate, I didn't feel I was in danger of having my guard passed at any point really, but on the other hand, I didn't make any serious attempt to sweep him either. I did make a couple of attempts at a kimura when I thought I had the chance, but ultimately the match ended 0-0 and with no advantages to either side.
With the match going to a ref's decision, I got the short straw and my opponent had his arm lifted up in victory. I was disappointed to have lost it that way, but on the other hand, I'd played a much more experienced opponent than I am (I'm a BJJ 3 stripe white belt) to a draw.
Match 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_27s...ature=youtu.be
In conclusion, although on paper this year's bronze medal is a step back from last year's silver medal, I feel I have put up a much better performance than last year (the videos of last year's competition are posted in this section as well btw!), and also faced tougher opposition this year.
I know I have to focus on becoming better off my back, and that's something to focus on for when I compete in IBJJF tournaments abroad next year. Oh yeah, and also expose my neck less when I shoot a takedown! lol
Thanks for reading, and any feedback is more than welcome :)
For what its worth I thought you looked great for a white belt level competitor. There is really no way for me to state this properly, but from my observations I would recommend you work on raising your overall awareness level and chaining attacks together. For instance don't pull guard just to avoid a throw, pull guard to avoid a throw so you can set up an umpa sweep attempt that if it gets countered you can sit back to a guilotene.
Thanks for the comments mate, and yes, I agree that I still leave too much of a pause between one technique and another. Gotta work on that :)
Originally Posted by billythepunk