Having been a 7th ranked NCAA wrestler in the United States back in his youth, Babak Alimoradian started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Draculino Team Marbella just over a year ago. He picked up the sport fast, earning his Blue Belt in January of 2011.
For his first BJJ competition, Babak traveled in January 2011 with the team to Lisbon, Portugal, where he crushed his way through five fights to win the gold medal at the European Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship, in the Masters Category (age 30 to 34).
With the taste of competition (and winning!) fresh in his mind, he immediately got to work training for the World Championships, in Abu Dhabi. This time, however, there would be no age categories, and Babak would be up against much younger opponents.
After many mornings of privates with Thelmo, many hards nights of training at class, many afternoons of cardio work on the paseo, and having left behind an entire team of banged-up training partners (including seven stitches in my forehead), Babak completed his preparation, and left last week for Abu Dhabi.
Well, the competition is now over, and we’ve got some amazing news to report — Babak won seven fights leading to a gold medal. He is now the blue belt World Champion! Just after the fight, coach Thelmo Calmon gave Babak his well-deserved purple belt.
Here’s the video of his gold medal fight, against a black belt judoka who last participated in the Olympics.
On September 11, 2009, the first edition of the Don Principe MMA event took place in La Linea, Spain. Organized by Jose Antonio Merida, of Gracie-Barra La Linea (a.k.a. Cai Club), the event was a great success, and included exciting fights in the disciplines of MMA, grappling and kick boxing
Local fighter and long-time Gracie-Barra Marbella member, Mike Rios faced off in a grappling match against Crazy Sevilla fighter Alberto Gonzalez. The fight was a rematch of an earlier BJJ match in which Alberto had won. In this fight, however, it was Mike's night. Months of hard training and preparation paid off, as he won big on points, 14-0.
Congratulations to Mike on the fantastic win for himself and for the club, and to Alberto for a competitive fight!
Gracie-Barra Marbella fighters Thelmo Calmon and Mike “Tiborao” Rios have been training hard the past months in preparation for their fights this Friday night at the “Sangre y Casta” MMA event in La Linea, organized by our good friend Jose Antonio Merida, of Gracie-Barra La Linea
Next Wednesday, Gracie-Barra Marbella veteran Pablo Cabo (Bronze medal finisher at the BJJ world championships) will hold a seminar at Platinum Gym, during which he’ll present a number of the things that he’s learned from the past year living in London, England and training at world champion Roger Gracie’s gym.
Who: Pablo Cabo (Paleta)
When: Wednesday, 1 of April, from 20-21:30 hrs
Where: Platinum Gym (Gracie-Barra Marbella training center), Puerto Banus, Spain
Cost: 10 euros
If you will be attending the Pablo Cabo seminar, please confirm with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!
This past weekend, the Gracie-Barra Andalucia team traveled to Granada to compete in the Copa Granada BJJ tournament, hosted by Luis Zarate. Several of our usual competitors couldn’t make the event, and Edson couldn’t compete due to his recovering elbow injury, but even with a relatively small team, Edson coached the team to take home third place overall in the team competition.
Marcelo – First Place. Marcelo Uirapuru Azevedo won the black-belt superfight at the end of the day with a triangle submission 40 seconds into the fight. What a great way to announce his arrival in Spain!
Jose Antonio. Jose Antonio had a very tough fight in the purple belt division, losing to the 110 kg competitor (and eventual champion) on points.
Pablo Paleta – Third Place. Paleta finished third in the purple belt division. Even though he lost to the eventual champion of the division, his fight was considered one of the best and most technical of the whole event, as he moved from technique to technique against the competitor almost twice his size.
Matt – Second Place. Matt finished second place in the purple belt division, winning his first fight, and then losing in the finals.
Leo – First Place. Leo won the blue belt absolute division, and was also considered among the most technical fighters on the day. He just keeps getting better and better.
Juan – First Place Juan continued to demonstrate a great progression as he won the white belt division with control and technique.
Aida. Aida lost her first fight, but put in a very good performance, nearly securing a triangle. She keeps getting better and better.
Hans. Hans also had a tough first fight, overcoming some initial breathing difficulties, to nearly win. Hans also demonstrates better and better performance in each event.
Roberto Roberto was having a good first fight, but lost by disqualification on an unfortunate technicality (something legal in grappling, but not in BJJ).
Tanya Tanya gained experience in her BJJ tournament, losing to the eventual champion of the division.
Javi Javi demonstrated a great take-down, but lost a close one in his first fight.
Thanks to our new photographer extrodinaire Carole, we’ve got another GREAT set of photos for you. Carole is a new student with us. She runs a new interior design and architecture business in Marbella, so if you need some talent in that area, well, look no further!
This morning, as I was driving to the Muteki Dojo in Málaga for our four-hour seminar with Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhães, I have to say I was thinking about the questionable value of such events in an age where you can find half a million techniques instantly available on YouTube.
Well, today I was reminded that, when offered by a true “maestro”, the concept of the seminar still has its very important place in the training of the serious martial arts practitioner! The seminar was, in a word, excellent.
Draculino, who runs his famous academy in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is known around the world as one of the best BJJ/grappling instructors on the planet. He’s the instructor of our own teachers, Edson “Sururu” Jorge and Marcelo “Uirapuru” Azevedo. And he’s been the trainer of famous athletes such as Vitor Belfort, Babalu , and Romulo Barral — recently crowned world champion in the Brazilian Mundiales.
Draculino came to town to inaugurate the opening of the Gracie-Barra Andalucia academy in Muteki Dojo, in Málaga, Spain. (The Muteki Dojo, by the way, is one of the nicest martial arts gyms I’ve seen here in Spain!) The seminar was split into two sessions — morning focusing on Gi (kimono) techniques, and the afternoon focussed on grappling (no-gi). It was a full house, as we had nearly 20 participants, coming from Marbella, Malaga, and as far away as Sevilla.
In both sessions, Draculino carefully examined some of the classical positions — arm drag with kimono, and no-gi attacks from the back. As any BJJ/grappling practitioner will recognize immediately, these are very common positions in the fight. What Draculino offered in the seminar, was an indepth study of the evolution of these positions, analyzing many of the defenses and counter attacks. In each session, we were shown improvements on classical techniques and shown some techniques that are completely new, never before seen. They were some simple techniques, and some complex techniques — but I was particularly impressed that all the techniques are directly applicable in a fight. Overall, it was a great seminar!
On behalf of all the participants in the seminar, we want so offer a big “Thank You” to Draculino for an amazing seminar, and we are looking forward to his return next year, to continue helping to guide the evolution of the sport.
On Saturday, August 11, 2007, the first annual Marbella Open Grappling tournament was held at the beautiful Soul Beach, in Puerto Banús (Marbella), Spain. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the turnout was fantastic. In total, more than 70 competitors from all over Spain came to put their grappling skills to the test in this competition.
During the first half of the day, the event worked its way through the weight categories (divided into beginner and advanced division). As the competition evolved down to the finals, it was clear that a lot of hard training had taken place prior to the event, as an incredible level of technical ability and physical conditioning was demonstrated by every team that participated.
Particularly impressive on the day were Fran Alcalde (Sur Union) and Oriol Gaset (Alianza-MMA). Oriol won both his weight category (Advanced 77kg) and the Advanced Absolute division, especially impressive taking into account that by luck of the draw, he did not get a by in the 77 kg first round (meaning he fought an additional fight with respect to the additional competitors.) Fran Alcalde won both his weight category (Advanced 66 kg) and the Elite Absolute division, especially impressive taking into account that he was competing against a black belt!
The first superfight between Aida (GBM) and Christina (ASES) showed the crowd that grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are not just mens sports, as these talented women demonstrated an equal fighting spirit and technical expertise. At the beginning of the fight Aida locked in a tight triangle, but Christina calmly worked the escape and later scored the side control. The two battled to the end, and Christina took the superfight with a points advantage. Congratulations to both!
In the main event, Gracie-Barra Marbella’s Edson “Sururu” Jorge took on ASES Valencia’s Tito Beltran. This fight was anticipated and talked about for weeks leading up the event, as one of Brazil’s most talented fighters (Edson Jorge) faced off with Spain’s most celebrated grappler (Tito Beltran). There was almost an electric tension in the air as the two fighters stared each other down in front of the dead-silent crowd prior to the bout.
When the clock started the fighter circled in the stand-up, each looking for a takedown. Tito’s first shot was answered with a quick sprawl from Edson, but Tito responded by securing what appeared to be a guillotine attempt. Edson backed out, and the fighter again stood up. Edson dropped to butterfly guard and secured a back grip, and transitioned to secure Tito’s leg. Tito rolled to counter attack Edson’s leg, but Edson rolled back to secure a heel-hook, leaving Tito no option but to tap out.
Congratulations Sururu, and congratulations to Tito for a great fight! For sure, you can expect to see a rematch between the competitors in the future!
Our academy, Gracie-Barra Marbella, had a great turn-out of competitors, and although finishing second, demonstrated a great performance. Leo and Agusto especially showed that they have progressed tremendously over the past year. Those guys were unbelievable. Juan from La Linea was also incredible, making it to the finals! Jacobo did great in his first competition, making it all the way to the semi-finals. And Aida showed great composure and fighting spirit, competing in a superfight in her very first competition. Pablo had two very tough fights. Jose Antonio won his division. Recently arrived Leandro had a great fight. Martin Pitbull demonstrated his amazing strength! Dani had fight against Oriol in the first round of his division. New arrival Alessandro had a tough fight with the eventual winner of his division. Hans had a tough fight in his first event. And, then of course was Guara, who became animated the crowd with his amazing win over a guy twice his size in the absolute category. Leandro fought a very technical fight in the elite division. There were several other GBM fighters as well, e.g. Paulon, Tomaz, Roberto, Jose Manuel, etc. all of whom competed very well. And, of course, Edson prevailed as we all knew he would in the event everybody came for, the superfight with Tito!
The following are the results of the individual competition finals (Gold and Silver medalist):
Beginner 66 kg Magnus Johnson (Team Choco) def. Ignacio Barrachina (ASES)
Beginner 77 kg David Allen (Team Choco) def. Juan Felgueroso (GBM)
Beginner 88 kg Saul Burillo (ASES) def. Pipo (Sur Union)
Beginner 99 kg David Jacare (Sur Union) def. Kevin Mohr (Team Choco)
Beginner 99+ kg Gran Eu (Sur Union) def. Miguel Kama (Zarate Team)
Advanced 66 kg Fran Alcalde (Sur Union) def. Luis Quiñones (Sur Union)
Advanced 88 kg Fredson (ASES) def. Leandro Galati (Gracie-Barra Marbella)
Advanced 99 kg Jose Antonio Merida (Gracie-Barra Marbella) def. Pedro Carvalho (Werdum Zaragoza)
Absolute Beginner Guara (Gracie-Barra Marbella) def. Nicolae Bogdan (Werdum Zaragoza)
Absolute Advanced Oriol Gaset (Alianza-MMA) def. Pedro Carvalho (Werdum Zaragoza)
Absolute Elite Fran Alcalde (Sur Union) def. Leandro (Gracie-Barra Marbella)
The winner of the team competition was Sur Union, who clearly trained hard for this event, and brought a team of focused and prepared competitors. In second place was the home team of Gracie-Barra Marbella, and tied for third place were ASES and Team Choco. The full team results follow:
First, we want to thank all the teams, competitors and fans that came from all over Spain to participate in and watch the event. Through your support and participation, it’s clear that our sports of BJJ and grappling are alive and growing in Spain! We hope you all enjoyed the event, and look forward to next year.