It’s time to return to work for those hungry competitors. After a few weeks of relaxation and easier training, the competitions are beginning to rev up again. The first “Summer Open” event in the United States took place in New York this past weekend. This event was the second Open in New York this year and the first in the summer, indicating that New York will now be hosting this popular event at least two times a year.

At the venue on Saturday, the warm temperatures inside the building made warming up very easy. You almost immediately broke a sweat just upon walking into the gymnasium. However, the real heat was felt on the mats, where there was a good mix of newcomers and well-knowns showcasing their skills.

In the black belt category’s light featherweight division, the man to look out for was Daniel Beleza, coming off his improbable win against Guilherme Mendes at last month’s Worlds. On Saturday, Beleza showed why he was the favorite and won both of his matches, submitting the always dangerous local talent Mark Ramos and then outpointing Josef Manuel in the final.

At featherweight, we saw a great showcase of new, local talent between three rookie black belts. In the first round of a round-robin, Josef Manuel’s student Isac Chaves was the first to claim a spot in the division’s final by defeating Renzo Gracie Newark’s Raphael Fernandes in a back-and-forth battle. But, due to the round-robin rule, Fernandes wasn’t finished yet. In his second bout, Fernandes was able to rebound and defeat Kioto BJJ’s Ramon Flores to set up a finals rematch with Chaves. In the final, Fernandes exacted revenge by submitting the Nova Uniao black belt with a footlock in another exciting and fast-paced match. Chaves and Fernandes have dueled against each other on the local scene since they were blue belts, so we look forward to seeing their future exchanges and how they will develop overall in the deep black belt featherweight category.

At lightweight, Osvaldo Augusto fought brilliantly to take gold even though he went up a weight class and was at a disadvantage in size. In the final, Augusto defeated the always tough Renan Borges, who still remains in search of his first IBJJF title in New York City.

Middleweight provided the audience with a big surprise as the tough, yet underrated Daniel Tavares defeated the popular Lloyd Irvin star DJ Jackson in the semifinals. Tavares started the match with a sweep to the mount and took a 6-0 lead. He never looked back, securing his spot in the final. The joy of that big win would be short-lived, as Worlds bronze medalist Vitor Oliveira meant business and submitted Tavares rather quickly with a choke. Also, this wouldn’t be the last we’d hear from Oliveira, as he came out strong in the absolute as well.

At medium-heavy Alliance Atlanta’s Chris Moriarty fought well and took the gold with two wins. The Romero Jacare student defeated rookie talent Jurandir Conceição in the finale.

Finally, in the only match in the super-heavyweight division, Roger Ambrosi of Renzo Gracie defeated Atos’ Leo D’avila Corréa by points.

In the absolute, Oliveira came out strong again and showed his dominance in the final. Against a growing rival in DJ Jackson, Oliveira took the Lloyd Irvin ace down twice and passed Jackson’s guard for a convincing 7-2 finals victory. Oliveira may be one of the most overlooked black belts in jiu-jitsu, but he is one of the toughest around and is always capable of giving any top-notch competitor a fight.

In the brown belt absolute, newly promoted Ricardo Almeida student Maximilian Bohanan came out strong and looked sharp in his first brown belt tournament. The silver medalist at purple belt middleweight at the Worlds last month won three matches, including a narrow 6-4 win over a tournament standout Kevin Mahecha, to attain gold. The gold also served as a source of redemption, as it helped Bohanan get over his only loss of the day in his weight class final against Marcelo Garcia’s Dillon Danis.

There is your recap of the New York Summer Open. Stay tuned for more updates on other events coming up in the near future. Osss!

Photo: Vitor Oliveira (top) (Erin Herle/Gracie Mag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor
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Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.