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SIAN CAPTURES COPA BROWN GOLD

Eric Sian take the brown belt absolute as another festive day at the Copa de Marianas wraps up.

By Jeffrey Ochavillo

It’s that time again for all of those fans and fighters of BJJ, the Copa de Marianas rocked the mats of the Phoenix Center on Saturday with a wide range of competitors from different dojos coming out for this one tournament to display who was the best. It was an all-day competition that had incorporated many divisions from white belts to brown, and got things interesting with the addition of the no-gi division that comes once in every couple of years. In the end, submissions were given, fighters were held breathless, and winners had to be made.

Josh Santos (Vida BJJ) battles Mike Sanchez (Purebred) in a featured match. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Josh Santos (Vida BJJ) battles Mike Sanchez (Purebred) in a featured brown belt match. (photo by Andre Gadia)

With the absence of defending purple belt absolute champion Frank “The Crank” Camacho, many other fighters such as Eric Sian and Kevin Cruz were there to fill the gap to bring the light back into this tournament.

Competing for the gold in the Brown Belt  Absolute Division were Eric Sian and Javier Mirelez, both from Purebred and very close teammates. In a friendly competition it was Sian who prevailed with a 5-0 submission, as Mirelez could not escape Sian’s strong guard. Sian remained on top for the entire fight and found a gap to put Moralez on a stack. To finish it off, Sian used a technique he called “gooncho” to secure the win and the gold.

“Not having placed in Copas de Marianas for brown belt in the past, it was a great feeling to finally earn gold for the very first time. Even though it was against my teammate, it made the match even more fun and the gold just topped it off,” said Sian about his first gold medal.

In another interesting matchup of fighters was in Purple Belt 131-145 Division, Kevin Cruz came high above the pack and over the runner up, Scotty Eclavea, with a 16-2 victory. With both fighters winded after three minutes of grappling and tugging, Cruz found a way to pull guard then followed with a clean sweep. With that he took the dominant position on top and put Eclavea on a hold. It was a long five minutes but Cruz held him down long enough to secure the win.

After his match, Cruz mentioned the feeling of gold as he was still trying to catch his breath. “It feels great because all of my hard work didn’t go to waste. Having to deal with school and work at the same time made it difficult to be fully prepared, so I had to get as much training in.” He took in more air and concluded, “No matter win-or-lose, always have to come here fighting hard.”

Jayronne Gandaoli of Purebred won the female absolute division gold while teammate Rebecca Tomada placed silver.

At the end of the day, it was Purebred that dominated the tournament by taking all of the places in the overall division counting.

The event was a great turnout for many fighters who wanted to display their talent in the sport of BJJ. Even though the players and the fans start fierce and rowdy both on the side and on the mat, at the end of the day they will shake hands and hug it out and celebrate together enjoyment BJJ has brought to all of us today.

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Purebred's Alan Cepeda goes up against a Vida BJJ foe. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Purebred’s Alan Cepeda goes up against a Vida BJJ foe in the purple belt division. (photo by Andre Gadia)

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Trev Jones (Zenith) compete on his way to the purple belt gold medal. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Trev Jones (Zenith, black gi) compete on his way to the purple belt gold medal. (photo by Andre Gadia)

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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