Fight to Win Pro 41

Why The Jiu-Jitsu World Needs To Keep An Eye On Ohio

Why The Jiu-Jitsu World Needs To Keep An Eye On Ohio

When you think of Ohio, jiu-jitsu probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Fight to Win Pro is looking to change that.

Jul 19, 2017 by Averi Clements
Why The Jiu-Jitsu World Needs To Keep An Eye On Ohio
When you think of Ohio, jiu-jitsu probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. While, yes, there are jiu-jitsu academies out there that have produced some high-quality athletes, this midwestern state isn't exactly on the same level as, say, California or New York when it comes to churning out upper-echelon competitors and events.

But Fight to Win Pro is looking to change that.

After visiting Cleveland just a few months ago, the promotion is making its return to Ohio, this time for F2W Pro 41 in Columbus on Friday. In addition to all the talented athletes the event has stacked up on the undercard, it will be putting 2014 no-gi world champion AJ Agazarm and 2016 masters world champion Vitor Oliveira on the stage for the main event. And both of these BJJ standouts have ties to Ohio.

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​Vitor Oliveira in action. Photo: Chase Smith / FloGrappling

Although Agazarm was born in Florida, much of his success in BJJ can be traced to his time at Ohio State University, where he wrestled and studied for a degree in finance. After having earned his blue belt while training at Gracie Barra Clearwater in Florida, he began training at a Relson Gracie affiliate academy in Columbus, Ohio, under fourth-degree black belt Robin Gieseler. Although Agazarm was only there for a few months, he'd learned enough by then to win his first world championship as a blue belt.

Agazarm ultimately graduated from Ohio State before receiving a job offer from Kayron Gracie in California that allowed Agazarm to fully pursue his jiu-jitsu dreams and become the star he is today. However, his appearance at Fight to Win Pro 41 is proof that he'll always be a proud Buckeye at his core.

Vitor Oliveira's trip to Ohio started from even farther away; he was born in Rio de Janeiro and started training in jiu-jitsu at just 8 years old. But life eventually took him away from Brazil and to Columbus, where he settled down and started teaching and training at Ronin Training Center. Having won numerous gold medals in high-level events such as the IBJJF Pro League, the American Nationals, and the New York Open, he's one of the state's most accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioners. In addition to being part of the main event at F2W Pro 41, Oliveira will also have students representing his team on the card.

As a young, occasionally controversial athlete with a large social media following, Agazarm might bring a little more starpower to the event (particularly for other Ohio State alumni), but Oliveira is likely to be considered the hometown hero in Columbus. To spice things up even more, Oliveira previously defeated Agazarm back in 2013 during the finals of the absolute division of the American Nationals.

The audience might be divided on who they want to win during this event, but as long as jiu-jitsu finally gets its moment to shine in Columbus, you can bet that both Agazarm and Oliveira fans are going to be united in their joy at seeing the sport they love getting the recognition it deserves in their town.


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