KASAI Pro 5: Results and Links to Match Videos!

KASAI Pro 5: Results and Links to Match Videos!

Join me as I post live updates from mat side at KASAI Pro 5 in New York! Including the stacked 8-man 205lb tournament.

Apr 6, 2019 by Hywel Teague
KASAI Pro 5: Results and Links to Match Videos!
Join me as I post live updates from mat side at KASAI Pro 5 in New York! Including the stacked 8-man 205lb tournament featuring Felipe Pena, Craig Jones and more. 

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Join me as I post live updates from mat side at KASAI Pro 5 in New York! Including the stacked 8-man 205lb tournament featuring Felipe Pena, Craig Jones and more. 

After a quick trip to Dallas in February for their Super Series event, KASAI return to their home of NYC for another Pro tournament. The Hammerstein Ballroom is all decked out and we've got a evening of 12 undercard matches, 3 superfights and the 8-man tourney to look forward to. 

I'm sat right next to KASAI President Rolles Gracie. 

The show is underway so let's begin. 

Steven Ramos (Essential) vs Albruce Touaev (Brunswick BJJ) No-gi 170 lbs 

A nice single leg from Ramos dumps Touaev to the mat and gets the first cheer of the night from the crowd. Ramos immediately starts fighting off kimura and leg attacks– you can see the Danaher influence here of switching up attacks from the upper to the lower body. Ramos scores two passes after his takedown and cruises to victory in a very composed performance. 

Winner: Ramos via points 7-0 – watch video

Chelsea Mapa (Training Grounds BJJ) vs Cristina Pinto (Silver Fox BJJ) No Gi 120 lbs.   

Mapa comes out to the classic Daft Punk electro track "Around the World", which appeals to my love for funky beats. Pinto changes the mood big time by walking out to Liberate by Slipknot! 

Pinto opens strong and scrambles to Mapa’s back. Mapa escapes and all hell breaks loose– kneebar attempts, sweeps, and more. Suddenly it's 6-6 on the scoreboard and we go down to a referee's decision. Mapa gets the unanimous decision and Pinto looks mad with the result– not surprising considering how balanced the match was, but there can only be one winner. Fun match. 

Winner: Mapa via decision – watch video

Alex Nemeth (Strategic MMA) vs Justin Primrose (OAMA) Purple gi 200 lbs.

Gi match now between purple belts Nemeth and Primose, the latter of which has come down from Ottawa for this match. Can I just say how appreciative I am of the fact that the are wearing contrasting colored gis: black and white. This should be a prerequisite IMO. 

They’re both playing open games and there’s a lot of movement– spinning, inverting, and so on– as they feel each other out. Primose scores a sweep manages to force Nemeth to turtle. Don’t forget there are no advantages in KASAI events. He sets one hook and works on the neck at the same time, taking a collar choke from the back with after around 3.50. 

Winner: Primose via submission (choke) – watch video

Sean Yadimarco (Savareese) vs Mathaus Anderson (Gregor Gracie) - Purple Gi 175 lbs 

Yadimarco scores a takedown early and gets 2, he does his best to pass with double under but Anderson snatches a triangle and extends the arm for the submission. Textbook.

Winner: Anderson via submission (triangle armbar) – watch video

Laura Griffith (GF Team) vs Nathalia Santoro (RGA) - No Gi 140 lbs

Gordon Ryan pumping out instructions in the corner of Santoro, his girlfriend / strength and conditioning coach. Santoro dives on the legs and works through a number of tight looking leg lock attacks that has the crowd going. She’s got a lot of support here tonight, people are calling out her name every few seconds. 

Griffith hits a pass right into a locked out armbar that tests the Brazilian’s flexibility – she hitch-hikers out and is straight back up. Close call. A lazy guard pull from Santoro gives Griffith top position and 3 points. Santoro recovers guard now she’s down 4-1 and that’s a big difference to try and recover with only 1.30 left. 

Santoro pops up from seated guard and latches on a guillotine choke, switching the grip to finish with a front rear naked– she rolls to mount and finishes it from top position. Nice finish! 

Winner: Santoro via submission (choke) – watch video

Jon Potts (Monster MMA) vs Konstantino Chioutakos (Faz Forca Team) No Gi 185 lbs

The owner of the snazziest singlets in the game, Jon Potts opts for an aquatic-themed sky blue number that reads "Welcome to the Deep End" on his back. Incredible. 

Chioutakos pulls and scores a sweep from half and hits a pass with a guillotine grip. Potts recovers a hook and when Chioutakos moves to side controls again it puts him 8-0 up only 2.30 into the match. Potts bridges and rolls but exposes his back in the process– Chioutakos sets hooks and goes to 12-0 before Potts can slide out. 

Potts scores a sweep with an omoplata and knows he's down so tries to dive on a leg, but gets stuck in the closed guard. A late heel hook attack gets him another points but time runs out. 

Winner: Chioutakos via points (12-3) – watch video

Freddy Martinez (Shaolin BJJ) vs Nick Fiore (RGA NH) Brown Belt No Gi 165 lbs

Fiore scores a takedown and works to pass the tough half guard of Martinez. He seems stuck until he scores beautiful pass exactly like Gordon used against Yuri Simoes at KASAI Pro 1. See what I mean here, it's a thing of beauty. From there he cranks the crap out of Martinez’s neck and does his best to squeeze his jaw but can’t quite get the tap. That looks hella uncomfortable. Solid 7-0 win for the RGA team member. 

Winner: Fiore via points (7-0) – watch video

Rey de Leon (10th P. NYC) vs Tony Bergamo (Mushin MMA) - Black No Gi 135 lbs

10th Planet’s Rey de Leon (aka Stingray) comes out to the dark as hell hip hop classes Dance with the Devil by Immortal Technique. I always loved how the light-hearted piano sample juxtaposed with the dark lyrics. Tony Bergamo of Mushin comes out to some upbeat samba percussion. They couldn’t cut more different figures. 

Man I did not expect this match to go like this! Tony Bergamo hits a lovely takedown that seems to set the tone for the rest of the bout. Leon answers with a series of sweeps, just racking up points non-stop. Bergamo gets shut out and Leon walks away winner. 

Winner: Leon via points (8-2) – watch video

Athos Miranda (MGA) vs Pierre Olivier-Leclerc (Tristar) - No Gi 170

Canadian Leclerc is one of those Tristar guys who is part of the extended Renzo family, as evidenced by Garry Tonon– fresh from his MMA fight in Singapore– in his corner. He’s also a KASAI Pro veteran, having competed in the 185lb tournament last year after winning the qualifier event. Athos Miranda from Marcelo’s is a super tough black belt and deserves more credit than he gets. 

They’re so closely matched there’s not a lot they can do to each other in the regulation 6-min round, so it goes to a 2-man golden score OT. Leclerc looks close to passing but Miranda just about gets his hooks back in– from there he works the classic Marcelo Garcia-style X-guard and hits a sweep to win. 

Winner: Miranda via golden score – watch video 

Look who just sat down at matside... 

Vinicius Ferreira (Alliance) vs Sergio Vilas (RGA) - No Gi 205 lbs

They call Vinicius Ferreira "Tractor" and with good reason– he looks like a +200lb Jon Calestine, all blocky and thick. A 2-point sweep early in the match puts him ahead and Ferreira looks set to win– that is, until the last 10 seconds of the match when Vilas– half showboating, half frustrated with Ferreira's chippy antics– shoots a double leg that makes it even. We go to golden score. 

OK, brief moment of confusion here. Vilas gets a kneebar from bottom that has Ferreira’s leg locked out straight. That’s worth one point in KASAI rules, which should have been the end of the Golden Score. The officials maybe thought it was a two-minute OT, and let Ferreira fight on and hit a sweep. When the ref stopped it for a blood check, they organizers stepped in and fixed it. Vilas got declared winner, as he should have been immediately after the kneebar attempt. 

Winner: Vilas via golden score in OT – watch video

Matteo Martinez (East Coast United) vs Stanley Rosa (BAMMA) - Black No Gi 185lbs

Last time I saw Stanley Rosa was at ADCC Trials where he put in strong work by taking silver at 88kg. Martinez is sticking to him like glue and shutting down anything from the RGA team member, avoiding kimura's and leg attacks. They stay at 2-2 right until the last 10 seconds where Rosa scores 1 for a leg attack, giving him the win. 

Winner: Rosa via points (3-2) – watch video 

Carlos Rosado (GB LI) vs Kurt Chase Patrick (10th P. Fairfield.) - Black No Gi 155 lbs

Rosado is a veteran of multiple KASAI events and it’s not hard to see why. He’s a super entertaining competitor and he brings a TON of fans and supporters with him. 

I wasn’t lying when I said Rosado was entertaining! He dives on a crucifix and looks close to taking a choke but Patrick throws him off. Not to be deterred, Rosado magics his way out of danger and latches onto the back– suddenly it’s 6-0 to Rosado and all Patrick can do is defend. Patrick slips out but Rosado regains the position to win 10-0. One of his fans from the upper balcony shouts out “You’re still number one!” 

Winner: Rosado via points (10-0) – watch video

OK, quick break and we'll be back in a few for the main card! The tournament is about to begin....

KASAI Pro 205lb tournament

KASAI Pro tournaments use a round robin format. The competitors are split into two groups of four: 


  • Felipe Pena
  • Jackson Sousa 
  • Tex Johnson 
  • Valdir Araujo 


  • Craig Jones
  • Kaynan Duarte 
  • Jon Blank 
  • Pedro Marinho

As a reminder how this works, everybody fights everybody in the groups. Points are awarded for how matches are won with 3 for a submission, 2 to win via points, and 1 point for a draw. The person with the most points advances to the final to fight their opposite number for the other group. 

Match 1: Felipe Pena vs Valdir Araujo (Group A)

"Baby Monster" Araujo came in on late notice to the tournament but let's not forget that just one week ago he was fighting in the ADCC Trials in Brazil, where he took second. Everybody considers Pena the favorite and as I mentioned in my article, his opponents would try to make his night as difficult as possible. Araujo did just that, scoring first with a near-takedown. Pena gritted his teeth and worked non-stop to claw back a sweep late in the match– but it looked harder than people were maybe expecting. Just goes to show how deep this group is.

Felipe Pena def Valdo Araujo 2-1 – watch video

Match 2: Aaron Tex Johnson vs Jackson Sousa (Group A)

Kind of a weird finish in this match. Tex was on a leg– surprise, surprise– and had worked through a couple of attacks to win two single points before Jackson tapped to a heel hook. It caught everyone by surprise– the commentators, the crowd, and us– it almost looked like it wasn't even on, but it had to have been

Tex Johnson def Jackson Sousa via submission – watch video

Match 3: Craig Jones vs Pedro Marinho (Group B)

Why does Craig Jones hav so much local support? Maybe because New York has become something of a second home to him. So much so, that he says he is repping Absolute AND Renzo Gracie. An interesting development, but not a surprise. 

Danaher and Gordon Ryan are in the corner for Jones, who has a size advantage over KASAI Qualifier winner Marinho, a purple belt from Gracie Barra. Not that it counts for much, as he beat a number of black belts en route to earning his spot here. 

Marinho's aggressive passing and awareness of the leglock game sees him playing from the outside. Jones's insistence on playing from seated guard and Marinho's avoidance sees the match end 0-0, a scoreless draw. 

Craig Jones vs Pedro Marinho– draw – watch video

Match 4: Kaynan Duarte vs Jon Blank (Group B)

All eyes were on Duarte going into this, with the majority of pros predicting him vs Pena in the final. A big question was how he would handle the submission attacks of Blank, and if this was a test then Duarte passed with flying colors. He cruised to victory 9-0, passing the guard, scoring takedowns and working from top position. highloght of the match was Duarte turning a simple arm drag into a beautiful move right into mount. Slick. 

Kaynan Duarte def Jon Blank 9-0 – watch video

Group standing after Round 1:

Group A

Tex Johnson – 3

Felipe Pena – 2

Valdir Araujo – 0

Jackson Sousa – 0

Group B

Kaynan Duarte – 2

Craig Jones – 1

Pedro Marinho – 1

Jon Blank – 0

Match 5: Tex Johnson vs Valdir Araujo (Group A)

It's no secret than Tex likes leg locks– in fact, he even said in his pre-match interview that what he does is "break shit". He tried his best to crank something on Araujo for nearly six minutes, scoring a point for a sub attack early. Araujo answered with a solid kneebar attack that evened it and saw the match go to a draw. 

Aaron Tex Johnson vs Valdir Araujo 1-1 – draw – watch video

Match 6: Jackson Sousa vs Felipe Pena (Group A)

Oh man! We've talked before about Jackson's weakness for leglocks– I didn't expect him to almost tap Felipe with a leg attack! It was kind of rough the refs didn't see fit to award a point for the attack, which has Pena visibly grimacing. 

Felipe Pena def Jackson Sousa 3-0 – watch video

Match 7:  Kaynan Duarte vs Pedro Marinho (Group B)

How often do you see a standing wristlock attempt, and in no-gi??? Almost never is the answer (unless you're Vagner Rocha). Marinho scored a point for slapping on a nasty looking wristlock that briefly had Kaynan in trouble and set the tone for the match. 

Unflustered, Duarte scored a sweet double leg that put the scoreboard at 3-1. A pass to mount and an attempt at a mounted triangle saw Duarte win by a huge 10-1. 

Kaynan Duarte def Pedro Marinho 10-1 – watch video

Match 8: Craig Jones vs Jon Blank (Group B)

Both men have incredible taste in music. Jones enters to Down Under by Men at Work, Blank chooses the 1965 ditty Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows. Incredible. 

Jones came in with a much smarter strategy this time. Rather than rely on his leglocks he swept Blank and played from top, passing the guard and taking the back. It took a couple of attempts but he managed to secure the RNC for the tap. 

Craig Jones def Jon Blank via rear naked choke – watch video

Group standing after Round 2:

Group A

Tex Johnson – 4

Felipe Pena – 4

Valdir Araujo – 1

Jackson Sousa – 0

Group B

Kaynan Duarte – 4

Craig Jones – 4

Pedro Marinho – 1

Jon Blank – 0

Superfight: Mayssa Bastos vs Fiona Watson

The first superfight from the main card: the diminutive but deadly Mayssa Bastos against the scrappy Fiona Watson. 

Bastos scored early with a lovely sweep to pass, which lit a fire under Watson. She threw up a nice triangle that had Bastos on the run but the Brazilian used her trademark squirmy game to find the back and lock in a match-ending strangle. 

Mayssa Bastos def Fiona Watson via rear naked choke – watch video

Match 9: Valdir Araujo vs Jackson Sousa 

After a rough opening match and a much closer second, Jackson seems to have found his rhythm. A reversal and a double-leg takedown earn him four points. He's realized he needs to be more aggressive. A couple of lengthy medical stoppages sucked the wind out of this match. 

Jackson Sousa def Valdir Araujo 5-1 – watch video

Match 10: Felipe Pena vs Tex Johnson 

Holy crap! Holy crap! Holy crap! Tex just heel hooked Felipe Pena! And it looked bad! The winner of this match was guaranteed a spot in the final, and that means it's Tex who goes through and not Felipe... what an upset! 

Rolles leans over to me and says, "This just goes to show how tough KASAI is. A guy wins every belt in jiu-jitsu there is and comes to KASAI and loses. Anything can happen, anybody can beat anybody on any given day. The ruleset, everything." 

Tex Johnson def Felipe Pena via heel hook – watch video

Match 11: Pedro Marinho vs Jon Blank 

A solid start for Pedro as he hops over the guard and starts working top. The out of nowhere BAM Blank hits an armlock to win! Stunning submission from the 10th Planet black belt. 

Jon Blank def Pedro Marinho via armlock – watch video

Match 12: Kaynan Duarte vs Craig Jones

Another crucial match: the winner of this will go into the final. Jones goes for a leg and Kaynan spins, hits the truck and takes the back– somebody's been working their leglock defense! It was a matter of moments before Kaynan got the finish via rear naked choke, which means he will face Tex in the final. 

Kaynan Duarte def Craig Jones via rear naked choke – watch video

Final group standings: 

Group A

Tex Johnson – 7

Felipe Pena – 4

Jackson Sousa – 2

Valdir Araujo – 1

Group B

Kaynan Duarte – 7

Craig Jones – 4

Jon Blank – 3

Pedro Marinho – 1

Superfight: Romulo Barral vs Marcos Tinoco

They say the strongest person out of Marcelo Garcia's gym is Matheus Dininz, but the word is that Marcos Tinoco has the strongest grips. 

It certainly looked that way when he and Romulo tied up– it was a wrestling-heavy match and Tinoc scored twice with inside trips from the lcinch that put the Gracie Barra veteran down. 

An emotional Tinoco poured it out during his post-fight interview with Kenny Florian. The father of a young child won the crowd's admiration with his talk of how tough it is to balance his duties as a father and professional athlete and how he depends on his wife to support him. 

Marcos Tinoco def Romulo Barral via points 4-1 – watch video

205lb Tournament

Third place match: Jackson Sousa vs Craig Jones

As Felipe Pena was unable to continue following Tex's brutal leglock, Jackson Sousa was given the chance to go into the third place match against Craig Jones. The Aussie's speciality is the Brazilian's weakness, and Jones exploited his knowledge of the leglock game to submit Sousa with a DLR ankle lock. 

Third place match: Craig Jones def Jackson Sousa via ankle lock – watch video

Superfight: Edwin Najmi vs Dante Leon 

"I don't care about bad positions, I don't care about points, I only care about putting on a show," says Edwin Najmi. He wasn't kidding– less than 10 seconds in and he's already showboating. 

Dante playing a smart strategy of sitting to guard as soon as they touch. People know that if you shoot on Edwin Najmi, you get darce choked. Leon is looking to get underneath the legs or to come up with ankle picks, but Najmi is elusive. 

Najmi scores 1 for a kneetap that knocks Dante down but he can't hold it. Najmi is looking for kneecut passes but Dante's legs are everywhere and he's managing distance well. Leon almost comes up on a rear body loc but Edwin rolls out of bounds and they get reset standing. 

Every time Leon comes up on something Edwin is out of there and gone. It's a pattern repeating itself over and over, that is until Edwin tries bailing out of another backtake and ends up off the mat and on to the hard floor. The docs check him out and pronounce him good to go, but this may have taken the wind out of his sails. 

Najmi shoots and Leon snatches a front headlock and turns it into a backtake. They get rest in the middle and Leon hasn't even set the hooks or the body triangle before the choke is already on and Najmi is tapping. 

"I hope this isn't my last KASAI of the 2019 season, this is event is amazing. I want more," says Leon.

Dante Leon def Edwin Najmi via rear naked choke – watch video

205lb Final: Tex Johnson vs Kaynan Duarte 

A perfectly-timed ankle pickin the opening 5 seconds saw Kaynan on top, but I'm not sure Tex has a problem working from bottom. Duarte wraps up an estima lock that gets him a point, giving him a total of 3. 

It looked for a second that Kayna would hit the same leglock defense to back take that he used against Jones, but Tex was a little more prepared. Lighting could still strike twice though. 

The crowd were getting pissed because the clock was running out and Kaynan doing his best not to engage with Tex, getting penalized twice. He was biding his time though, and hit a cartwheel guard pass to north-south that put him firmly in control and 6-1 on the scoreboard. 

Final: Kaynan Duarte def Tex Johnson via points (6-1) – watch video

That's it! Thanks for joining us – watch the full event replay here