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Saturday the IBJJF held their second Heavyweight Grand Prix in Las Vegas at the Evexia FitFest, this time a No-Gi tournament. Eight competitors battled it out for a $40,000 grand prize in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here is a round by round breakdown of how the tournament played out.
In the first match of the day Joao Gabriel Rocha (Soul Fighters) faced off with Patrick Gaudio (GF Team). It was a back and forth stand up battle between them, with both athletes getting multiple advantages for near takedowns out of bounds. In the end it went to a referee decision, with two out of three referees giving Joao Gabriel the victory.
Up next in the Grand Prix was Luiz Panza (Checkmat) vs Vinicius “Trator” Ferreira (Alliance). Panza jumped closed guard early and spent a couple minutes working from there before Trator eventually forced open the guard. Trator threatened with a few over under passes, but Panza’s guard retention was on point in a series of exchanges. Trator would force half guard and flatten out Panza, the half guard gave Trator the winning advantage at the buzzer.
Onto the other side of the bracket with Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa (Atos) vs Tim Spriggs (Lloyd Irvin). Hulk secured an early single leg to go up 2-0 and landed in Spriggs closed guard. They spent a considerable amount of time there before Hulk was able to stand and open the guard, then Hulk quickly passed with a body lock to go up 5-0. After Spriggs recomposed, Hulk would pass again and mount to finish the match with a dominant 12-0 victory.
The final match in the first round was Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu (Fight Sports) vs Victor Hugo (Ribeiro). Hugo pulled guard early and was constantly defending guard passing attempts from Cyborg, however looking very impressive with his guard retenton against the veteran. Cyborg’s relentless passing attacks were the deciding factor in the match, and he went on to win by four advantages.
Watch: Lucas Barbosa vs Tim Spriggs
The first semifinal matchup was between Joao Gabriel Rocha and Vinicius Trator. Trator pulled guard early and kept trying to work his way to the saddle, hunting for kneebars. Joao Gabriel continually stuffed Trators attacks and racked up five advantages to win the match and head into the final.
The other semifinal will be an easy contender for No-Gi match of the year, between Hulk and Cyborg. Hulk came out firing and got in on the legs for a few snatch single legs, finishing two of them and going up 4-0 early. Hulk may have used up all his energy in the wrestling exhanges, about halfway through the match he was clearly breathing harder than Cyborg. Cyborg would then turn up the pace attacking with takedowns of his own. Two fleeing the mat calls by the referees during takedown attempts gave Cyborg the four points needed to tie the match, with the two penalties for fleeing the deciding factor.
It is Cyborg vs Joao Gabriel Rocha in the final for $40,000. The match was a stand up battle with Cyborg pressing forward and mostly counter wrestling from Rocha. The turning point in the match would be late when Joao sat with a guillotine on the feet, Cyborg ended up nearly passed after the attempt and put Joao in trouble for the last minute of the match. The unanimous referee decision goes to Cyborg and he is the 2019 IBJJF No-Gi Heavyweight Grand Prix champion.