by William Murphy, Ph.D., 3rd Degree Black Belt in BJJ

Saturday, June 11th was a great night for the grappling community, as the Sapateiro Invitational put out their second installment of what has turned out to be one of the most technical submission grappling events in Southwest Florida. The night was packed with action from top to bottom and was a real showcase of some of the top submission grapplers in the country, with Oliver Taza taking home the championship with three heel hook submissions.
The opening round was filled with action, three of the four matches ended in submission. After spending almost the entire match fighting out of a spectacular flying triangle, Nathan Orchard submitted ADCC Vet Craig Jones with a heel hook with only four seconds left in the match. Oliver Taza went to war with Tony Barr Way trading leglocks, until Taza finally caught Way, and Josh Bacallao landed a slick high elbow guillotine on the always tough Orlando Castillo.

In the Semi-Finals Oliver Taza caught Nathan Orchard in a heel hook after surviving a few close encounters, to secure his spot in the finals. Chase Hannah who won his first match by fastest escape, squared up with Josh Bacallao in an action packed match that Bacallao ultimately won in OT.

The finals were a display of leglocks versus quick agile passing attempts as Oliver Taza quickly went to work attacking Josh Bacallao’s legs with a vengeance. Bacallao showed some very strong passing attempts using his patented movement based passing style, before Taza ultimately caught Bacallao in an inside heel hook to become the second member of the Danaher Death Squad to win the Sapateiro Invitational with all submission wins.

The main event of the evening was a 20 minute submission only match between EBI star Gordon Ryan and UFC Vet Vagner Rocha. This match went the full 20 minutes to a draw, with Gordon Ryan actively attacking the legs, and Rocha actively trying to pass the guard and work his attacks from the side control position. Vagner Rocha aggressively worked pressure against Gordon Ryan’s face with closed hand pushes, which frustrated Ryan’s attempts to secure a leglock that he could finish. Ultimately neither man could get the job done in the submission department, but the drama that would ensue would make up for that.

After the match Rocha took the mic and called out Garry Tonon to a submission only match, these two have some history from 2015’s ADCC; in which Tonon beat Rocha by points and Rocha claims to have broken Tonon’s foot in the match.

The Sapateiro Invitational is in talks with both competitors to get this grudge match between Rocha and Tonon set, hopefully at the next Sapateiro event which will be held August 6th, 2016. This will feature an 8 Man Heavyweight Bracket, Super Fights, and a portion of the proceeds will go to help the victims of the Orlando Night Club Shooting.

If you missed the event you can watch it below: