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nogi

From Sacramento to Lisbon and in-between

black belt , competition , friends , gi , IBJJF , Jiu Jitsu , no gi • Mar 4, 2018
Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

 

My life has taken me to some very unexpected and wonderful places lately and I have been given many opportunities. Just last week my appointment as a Board Member for The Professional Boxing and Combat Sport became official and I will be commencing my new role soon. It’s a massive honour, which I will write more about later.  However, this also means that between my own training, competing, full time work, running a business, more and more coaching commitments, teaching seminars and privates, speaking at events and attempting to have a private life, I have very little time to update this blog, which I will try to be better at.

 

FIGHT TO WIN PRO – SACRAMENTO

My year started off with a bang as I travelled to Sacramento to have my No Gi Worlds final rematch with Pati Fontes at Fight To Win Pro. I flew in by myself and didn’t know anyone in town, but thanks to the incredible BJJ community, I wasn’t alone for long. Dave Kovar of Kovar Systems and his beautiful family hosted me for the few days, drove me around Sacramento, cooked for me and were simply amazing company.
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I was lucky enough to train with Marcos Torregrosa and his badass team at Yemaso BJJ, who were all super technical, committed to their training and skills and most of all just super nice people. The atmosphere at Yemaso reminded me of Absolute back home, and I’m super thankful I got to finish my prep there. I have no doubt that Marcos and his lovely wife Nikki, will be friends for years to come bound by our love for BJJ and burgers.

When I found out I would fight Pati on the card I was very excited about this match up. I believe that I didn’t show my best at Worlds and that I could do much better. I spend my Xmas/NY period fixing the mistakes I made and training very hard. Lachie and I drilled and specific trained the bits that needed improvement and I was very confident going into the fight.

IMG_9287IMG_9314Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

Fight To Win Promotion put on amazing shows and I was so glad to be a part of it. Everything was professional, run smoothly and I had a ton of fun. We had a great fight and I executed my plan that I worked on with Lachie. I had a few sub attempts at the start of the fight with a guillotine I didn’t finish, and a few leg lock entries from the saddle, which again I couldn’t quite execute. Pati had me in a guillotine and a non-threatening toe hold attempt, but the action was back and forth all fight. With about 30 seconds to go, I saw a an opening for a heel hook, and thought I was close to getting the tap, but the time run out. Although I made some mistakes in the fight as I didn’t finish my subs, I was happy with the improvements from our last fight. I lost the judges decision, but gained a ton of confidence and seriously enjoyed myself out there.
Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJPurchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJIMG_9299

 

IBJJF EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – LISBON, PORTUGAL

The next day I flew back to LA and had Erin pick me up and entrain me for a day before we flew out to Portugal to tackle the European Championships together.

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After a long flight we met up with Margot and Steph in a cute old apartment in Lisbon. The best thing about BJJ competition travel for me is meeting my friends from all over the world, training, sharing information, going through the struggles of cutting weight together, the sadness losing and the joy of winning together.
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It’s been ages since I had the pleasure of rolling with Margot, the ever improving technician, Erin and  brown belt Rose of Ladies Only BJJ, who just finished Medical School and is pretty much my hero. I met and rolled with so many people from all over the world and had a constant smile on my face each day.

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I felt great on comp day and had the privilege of being cornered by one of the black belt legends Shanti Abelha whom I’ve looked up to for years. I won my first fight against a tough Tassia Pimenta by a cross collar choke from mount.

More pictures at maggieleft.com. Watch all the fights at flograppling.comMore pictures at maggieleft.com. Watch all the fights at flograppling.com

I was expecting Talita Alencar in the final, however she got disqualified in her first round from a leg cramp, and my final was set against Vanessa English. I pulled guard, but lost 2 points as she tapped my shin. I worked my collar sleeve guard and nearly landed a balloon sweep to mount, but I wasn’t tight enough and we both ended standing up. Instead of pulling again, I hesitated, and Vanessa jumped closed guard quickly. That’s when good BJJ ended from my end. I defended arm bars for 8 minutes and the couple of times I managed to stand up and break the guard, I ended up back in Vanessa’s closed guard. I lost the final by 2 points, frustrated with my performance, but came away with plenty of things to improve on. I feel like I wasted my opportunity at the shot at the European Title, but after drowning my sorrows by eating 6 Portuguese egg tarts and making a drilling plan, life was looking pretty damn good again.liv euros 26815013_986234231533236_5415995646019317254_nIMG_9734

We spent the rest of our days in Lisbon exploring the beautiful city, eating more egg tarts, dancing and going on day trips to beautiful neighbouring towns of Cintra and Cascais.

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It was such a fantastic trip, but I was also looking forward to getting back home and not leaving my physio business for that long again. I missed my training partners, my routine and Lachie!

I had a 5 hour stop over in LA and decided I wanted to go and train, so I did a no gi session at Meraki BJJ with Ryan Hall. What an awesome way to break up the long flights!

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My next major comp will be the Abu Dhabi World Pro. Really wish I could do Pan Ams as well, but overseas trips from Australia are not only very expensive, but also extremely time consuming. But on the plus side, I’m excited to be in a building/learning phase with my BJJ for the next few weeks before I build up for Worlds again.

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ONE FC Grappling Challenge, Macao

competition , Jiu Jitsu • Aug 21, 2016

ONE FC announced that they will hold a grappling competition on the same day as the MMA event ‘Heros of the World’ in Macao only 3 weeks ago. I noticed that the prize money on offer was the same for men and women, which unfortunately is still really rare in the jiu jitsu world. Additionally, the organisers were putting everyone up in a hotel for a night in Macao, therefore offloading some of the travel costs. When Lachie and Craig decided to compete, I asked my work if they would give me a day off on Saturday and after they agreed, I booked my flights.

I entered the Elite division, which was for women with 5 + years of grappling experience and black belts. I knew that my idol Michelle Nicolini would be fighting in the same division, but I never back away from a challenge. In my opinion, the more experience I can get fighting the absolute best in the world, the better. It was only a couple of years ago, when I first attended Michelle’s seminar as a blue belt.

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Our flights were brutal. We left Friday lunch and got to Hong Kong lat at night. When we checked into the hotel, I had a minor panic attack. For those who don’t know, I get pretty claustrophobic. In fact, it took me years to get over it when training and competing, but I still hate small, confided spaces. Our tiny room had no windows and a small double bed and that was enough to make me freak out and run outside. Since it was nearly midnight and we really needed to get to sleep, I had no choice but to take a deep breath and go back inside.

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After a terrible night’s sleep, we got up early and sailed on a ferry to Macao. We went straight to the competition venue, which was the impressive Venetian Hotel. I felt like I was in Vegas with all the shops, bright lights, canals, gondolas, chandeliers and masses of people, who mainly were there to shop, gamble and eat.

The boys were up first. Mikael unfortunately lost first round by toe hold, Lachie lost a very questionable ref’s decision and Craig fought his way to a third place in the stacked Elite heavyweight division.

Photo @AFG

Photo @AFG

I had a three person division. First up was Angela Lee and I. Angela is a young MMA phenom, and ONE FC Champion. I pulled guard quickly, but made some mistakes and had to turtle. Angela tried to guillotine me, but after months of doing our ADCC submission specific training, I am pretty used to being in bad spots and didn’t panic. I got out of a submission threat and quickly regained my composure and set up single x. I swept and attacked her foot, but as a response Angela grabbed my leg and reaped hard, which caused her to get disqualified. It’s not a good feeling to win that way, as I really wanted to dominate and show good BJJ.

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Angela then fought Michelle, and lost by toe hold, which meant Michelle and I were set for a final. I still pinch myself that I got to compete against my idol. 3.5 years ago when I was a blue belt Michelle autographed my belt for me and now I got to tap hands with her in a competition. It was such an honour knowing that I would be fighting my favourite BJJ fighter in the final, however I had to be careful not to be as start struck as I was in Abu Dhabi World Pro and make myself believe I deserved to be there.

warm up

I pulled guard quickly and we spent some time grip fighting. I defended a few toe hold attempts and then locked in a kimura trap from bottom half guard. I transitioned to an arm bar set up, but it was sloppy and I never controlled Michelle’s posture, so she escaped without a problem. As I spun back to recover guard, I was caught in a tight toe hold and tapped.

It wasn’t my greatest show of jiu jitsu, but the experience alone is worth more than any medals. I am proud of the work I put in and I know that I am always improving. However, I have such a long way to go to hang with the best, let alone to be competitive at the highest level, but I guess that’s what gets me to training every day and strive to be better than yesterday. Step by step, I will try to close the gap and be the best I can be.

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ Patricio Reyes

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ AFG

Photo @ Lee Li

Photo @ Lee Li

liv craig money

I received $US1500 for my efforts, which will go towards paying for my flights to Hong Kong and for flights to No Gi Worlds.

We spend the rest of the day having a look around the casinos, eating some delicious local cuisine and watching ONE FC. Exhausted, we went to sleep early and woke up at 5.30 am the next day to catch the ferry back to Hong Kong, then boarded the plane back to Australia. We landed at about 11pm on Sunday night, and I was back at work at 8am on Monday morning.

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In all, it was a fantastic weekend, but extremely exhausting. It was totally worth the long travel though, and we will be back for future ONE Grappling events. The organisers made us feel welcome, everyone had a great time and the prize money on offer was a major drawcard. On a personal level, I loved fighting the best athletes on the planet, and it can only make me a better, stronger and a smarter athlete.

Photo @ AGF

Photo @ AGF