by Danny O’Donnell
The fourth edition of the World Master Jiu-Jitsu Championships took place on September 25th and 26th at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, Nevada as part of the Evexia Fit Festival. It was the first year that this tournament has been held in Las Vegas, as the previous three editions took place at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, CA. This edition of the Master’s Worlds was one of the biggest IBJJF tournaments this year, with registrations reaching full capacity nearly a month in advance.
Athletes from across the globe took to the mats in Vegas as the Master’s Worlds is considered one of the premier tournaments for over 30 competitors. While there were many athletes who represented their regions extremely well, the black belts from Arizona stood out. Despite often competing in the adult division, Wellington “Megaton” Dias went up to his appropriate age category and put on an amazing display of technique, winning both the Master 4 featherweight division and the Master 4 open class division. Megaton had 3 matches in his weight class and 4 in the open class, defeating Roberto Traven in the open class final.
Carlos Farias, who has been very active on the competition circuit in 2015, competed in the Black Belt Master 3 Ultra Heavy and Open class divisions. Carlos won his first match in the Ultra Heavy by submission, but succumbed to a referee’s division in the semifinal, capturing the 3rd place medal. In the open class Carlos defeated his first opponent by points and went head to head with the legendary Saulo Ribeiro in the final. Although Carlos lost the match on points, he put on an outstanding performance in one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament.
Despite recently receiving her black belt in June 2015, GD Jiu Jitsu’s Sarah Black has been making big noise, winning the American Nationals and placing 2nd in the Asian Open. She competed in Master 1 lightweight and open weight categories, defeating Maria Gonzalez in the final of the lightweight division and dropping a very close match in the finals of the open class to Leanna Dittrich of Fight Sports by points.
The standout of the Master 4 Medium Heavy division was Paul Nava. Despite competing at a high level himself, Paul also brought a group of students that he coached throughout the weekend. In between coaching his students, Paul won 2 matches Saturday and 2 matches Sunday to capture the gold.
Head instructor of Daimyo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Tuscon, AZ, Manuel Flores also put his skills to the test in Vegas. In his first match, Manuel defended an early wrist lock attempt before catching his opponent in a kimura lock. He battled through a knee injury and showed great jiu jitsu in the semifinal match, but was narrowly edged out on points, earning a 3rd place medal for his efforts.
In the Master 5 Super Heavy division, Megaton blackbelt Cecil Burch won his quarter final match by points before dropping a close contest in the semis. Cecil’s efforts earned him a bronze medal in his division. Pedro Diaz, head instructor of Tigers Lair Martial Arts Academy in Gilbert, AZ, took 3rd place in the Master 5 Heavyweight division.
Congratulations to all the Arizona competitors at the 2015 Master’s Worlds, as everyone represented the high technical level that competitors from the area are known for. The next local tournament is the AZ Master’s Cup on December 5th. The inaugural edition of this event is offering cash prizes for Male Black Belt Master 1, 2, and 3 Open class divisions and the Female Black belt Master 1 Open class division. Visit gdjjevents.com for more details.