Artaxias: New Zealand’s First Submission Only Event
Artaxias: NZ’s First Submission Only Event - (Organised by Combatroom MMA)
Porirua Te Rauparaha Arena 14th March 2015
All of the lights:
Loud music coming through the speakers, a giant projector screen, a stage with no barriers, flashing florescent lights, the MC announces the first match and then a figure emerges through the smoke. This was a Jiu Jitsu event I have never been to before. The first New Zealand Submission only event. The format and rules are simple. No points, just submission under a time limit. If there is a submission then there is a winner with a medal. If not, it will be declared a draw.
First match was Jared O’Gorman (Combat room) vs. Adam Watson (SKAMMA gym). Vanderson was the referee for the whole night. Watson was able to take O’Gorman’s back, but O’Gorman showed great defence. With the final minute to go, Watson executed a triangle arm bar from his guard and gets the tap from O’Gorman. What a great way to kick off the night.
There were some close call moments that had the audience on the edge of their seats. Rion Hakiwai (Allegiance BJJ) attempted a “Banana split” towards the end of the match on Toko Renata (Whakatane MMA) who held on and ended as a draw. Brad Kora (Whakatane MMA) attempted an armbar on Hayden Wilson (Groundworx BJJ), but Wilson’s last ounce on strength held on to defend right to the end.
Philip Allsop (Oliver MMA) and Red Dog Greg (Axis BJJ) (No Gi) started taunting each other at the beginning, but the tensest moment came when Allsop went for a takedown, knocking Red Dog off the stage and onto the floor. They restarted, there were high-pressure guard passing, attempts on foot locks but both were too slippery. The two men both had dominant positions over each other, Red Dog played it cool under fire, even when Allsop had his leg, Red Dog gave a thumbs up to the camera. The fight ended as a draw.
It was silent at times but the audience were well educated, they knew when to react. They appreciated each time a transition, sweep, submission attempt, and defence escape was made. The atmosphere was electric where every sound and movement was amplified. You can hear what the coaches were yelling out, you could even hear the breathing, panting and choking sound of the fighters.
The only female fight of the night was Alessandra Moss (Iron Wolves) vs. Krissy Hunter (Oliver MMA) No Gi. Both women wanted takedowns, but no one wanted to budge. Finally Moss gets a foot sweep and managed to take the back of Hunter. Moss went for an armbar but Hunter got out, then Hunter passed Moss’s guard, and took her back. Moss managed to get back into guard, but it ended as a draw. Both were very aggressive, and both were extremely skilful.
Jonathan Bell (Tu Kaha BJJ) took on a much bigger opponent; Danny Pauw (Marcelo Lopes team). Surprisingly Pauw pulled guard, and Bell had the strength to hold him up to shake him off. Eventually Bell mounted Pauw and went for a collar choke, was it a mistake though? Pauw bridged and swept Bell onto his back, but Bell still had the choke in deep. Pauw taps. Victory to Jonathan Bell.
The co-main event was Patrick Te Tau (GSW) vs. Marcelo Lopes (Marcelo Lopes Team). During the match Lopes went for a foot sweep but he appeared to be hurt. Lopes pulled guard but slams loudly on the mat, Lopes looks visibly hurt, but his heart pushes him forward. Lopes defend well but the pressure with technique from Te Tau is too much. Te Tau eventually gets the mount, baits with a choke, and secured an arm. Lopes defended by clasping his arms together. Te Tau spun his leg over Lope’s face. Then he palms Lopes’s clutched arm away, pulls back, straightening Lopes’ arm, lifts his hips up and secured the arm bar victory. Te Tau wins by Arm bar.
It had turned out that Lopes had injured his groin. Both men showed respect to one another, and thanked everyone for supporting New Zealand’s Jiu Jitsu scene.
The last fight was Dan Digby (Orphans BJJ) vs. Fernado junior (Tu Kaha BJJ). Junior had a crafty guard game, but Digby had a relentless top game. Junior would go for a shoulder lock, but Digby would counter with a can opener (Neck crank). During the match Junior had the fastest leg triangle I have ever seen, a blink and you would have missed it. Digby, however had great defence, as he managed to pass Junior’s unpassable guard, and went for a guillotine, Junior sweeps Digby over him. Now it was Junior in Digby’s guard. Digby sweeps Junior and both men go with the momentum sweeping each other. Digby finally gains the mount, and applies the Ezekiel choke. Junior taps. Digby is victorious by submission.
It was also the night of the armbars victories. Anaru Grant Jnr (Tu Kaha BJJ), Ben Boyce (Carlson Gracie) and Matt Gilbert (Tu Kaha BJJ) all won with it. Renan Secco (Carlson Gracie) was the only one to win by footlock/toehold.
Brad Kora’s post fight speech was special. He said, “This is one of the hardest things I ever had to do”. He’s right, every fighter who stepped onto the stage left it all in there. Their nerves, their skills, their strength and their hearts were all on display.
They should hold their heads up high. Win, lose, draw, and learn. They should be proud to be a part of this country’s first submission only Jiu Jitsu event. The talent in this country blows me away, and 32 competitors had raised the bar. There is still plenty more talent in this country, and young prodigies may rise up.
Special thanks to those who sponsored and supported the event, especially Vanderson Pires for referring and Combat Room for organising it. We’re all waiting for the next one.
- Jared O’Gorman (combat room jiu jitsu Wellington) vs. Adam Watson (SKAMMA Gym Melborne)- Winner Watson by leg triangle arm bar. Gi.
- Toko Renata (Whakatane MMA, Whakatane) vs. Rion Hakiwai (Allegiance BJJ, Hawkes Bay). Draw Gi.
- Brad Rapira (Deep Water BJJ, Wellington) vs. Cam Steer (Axis BJJ, Christchurch) Draw. Gi
- Eugene Barman (City BJJ Auckland) vs. Morgan Emery (Combat room Palmerston North) Draw Gi
- Anaru Grant Jnr (Tu Kaha BJJ, Rotorua) vs. Aaron Grace (Low key BJJ Rotorua) - Winner: Anaru Grant Jnr by Arm bar. Gi
- Ben Boyce (Carlson Gracie, Queenstown) vs. Keelan Walker (Marcelo Lopes Team, Blenheim). Winner: Ben Boyce wins by Arm bar No Gi
- Vaughan Antonio (Tu Kaha BJJ, Auckland) vs. Nassah Steed (Whakatane MMA, Whakatane) Draw no gi.
- Red Dog Greg (Axis BJJ, Christchurch) vs. Philip Allsop (Oliver MMA, Auckland). Draw no gi.
- Alessandra Moss (Iron Wolves, Tauranga) vs. Krissy Hunter (Oliver MMA, Auckland) Draw No Gi.
- Robson Moura (Marcelo Lopes Team, Nelson) vs. Ryan Nortier (Oliver MMA, Auckland). Draw no Gi.
- Brad Kora (Whakatane MMA, Whakatane) vs. Hayden Wilson (Groundworx BJJ Christchurch) Draw
- Matt Gilbert (Tu Kaha BJJ, Auckland) vs. Gareth Burke (Orphans MMA, Hawkes Bay). Winner Matt Gibert by arm bar. Gi.
- Renan Secco (Carlson Gracie, Queenstown) vs. Fernadon Pisni (DS Team, Auckland) winner: Renano Secco by toe hold/ ankle lock Gi
- Jonathan Bell (Tu Kaha BJJ, Auckland) vs.Danny Pauw (Marcelo Lopes, Nelson) - Winner: Jonathan Bell by collar choke Gi.
- Patrick Te Tau (GSW Wellington) vs. Marcelo Lopes (Marcelo Lopes Team, Nelson) winner: Patrick Te Tau by Arm bar Gi.
- Dan Digby (Orphans BJJ, Hawkes Bay) vs. Fernado junior (Tu Kaha BJJ, Auckland). Winner: Dan Digby by Ezekle choke Gi.
(Make sure to read part 2 for interviews from this event)