Mike Atkin Results
- Senior 2 Gi Blue Belt Medium Heavyweight (194.5 lbs) -GOLD
- Senior 2 Gi Open – GOLD
Mike should have competed at Senior 4 which is for grapplers between age 51-55. Unfortunately, Mike would get only one match in that age division. The situation at Senior 3 was the same – only one match! Rather than settle for an “easy” Gold, Mike exhibited his competitive spirit when he decided to drop down to Senior 2 in order to get more matches. His opponents would be 41-45 years old, almost a decade younger than Mike.
DAY ONE: Domination
We arrived early to the Tijuca Tennis Club. We had some paperwork that needed to be taken care of and we wanted to get it out of the way and focus on the matches. With Guigo’s help, we took care of the administrative stuff pretty quickly. Mike had 6 other people in his division.
His first match was vs. a grappler representing Carlson Gracie Team. After a few moments of gripping, the Brazilian realized he would not take Mike down and he jumped guard. From there, Mike was able to use his heavy-hip passing style to get up 3-0. He added a knee-on-belly for good measure and won the match 5-0.
His 2nd opponent was from Royler Gracie’s school. He had received a bye in the 1st round and seemed very nervous. As soon as the match started, he pulled guard but it was sloppy. He essentially pulled Mike on top of him into side-mount. Well, you never look a gift horse in the mouth so Mike wrapped up his arm and Kimura’d him. Very quick match!
In the finals, he faced a grappler from Renzo Gracie NYC. I was pretty confident going into the final because I saw how tired Mike’s opponent was. After his semi-final match, I had seen him hanging over the fence, head down, exhausted. I knew that Mike had been doing the Circuit for a few months now and could break his opponent’s will just with conditioning at that point. The match started and his opponent jumped guard. Mike struggled to pass but his opponent controlled the grips very well. Just when it looked like Mike would lock his opponent down in 1/2-guard, the NYC grappler hit a nice sweep, unbalancing Mike and coming on top!
Thanks to the 30-second drills, Mike countered immediately, coming out the back door, and driving his opponent off the mat with a double-leg! No Points! After the restart, his opponent wearily began gripping and pushing into him…bad idea. Mike hit a beautiful Seio, sending his opponent right to his back. Later during the day, Brazilians would come up to Mike, making the Seio motion with their arms and congratulating him – it really was a great throw! Once on the ground, Mike passed his opponent’s guard, winning the final 5-0.
DAY TWO: Mike *Earns* The Medal
Filled with confidence, Mike entered the 16-man Open Division with high expectation and he didn’t dissapoint. He faced off against a European first and won on 2 advantages. Although the score was close, Mike remained in control of the match from beginning to end.
In the quarterfinals, Mike used an outside-trip takedown and a pass to outpoint his opponent from DeLaRiva BJJ 5-0.
I’ve always heard it said that the semifinals are the toughest matches in tournaments. It definately was in this case. Mike faced off against a Brazilian Giant and had the fight of his life. Outside of Mike’s finals match at the PanAmericans, this was the roughest match I’ve seen Mike in. Mike would jump over his opponents leg and would get rolled right over. Both fighters would scramble back to the feet. During one exchange, Mike managed to get what seemed like a fight-finishing armbar but his opponent just stood up and swung Mike off his arm like an insect. Mike even tried his Seio but even when Mike went under his opponent, nothing happened – his opponent was too strong. The Giant put his hooks in on Mike but Mike hustled and managed to escape rear mount before points were awarded. When the whistle blew, Mike was ahead by a few advantages and would go to the Finals! With Gi burn covering his face, Mike told me he was exhausted, that he had nothing left. Lucky for us, the officials misplaced the tournament bracket sheet, giving him ample time to recover. Most of the time, this type of nonsense is better avoided, however in this case, we were quite happy with the lack of organization!
Almost half-an-hour later, Mike walked onto the mat for the Finals of the Open division. Ironically, it would be another East Coaster that he would face in the finals. Both fighters brought strong takedown skills and the match was uneventful, each one countering the attacks of the other and neither affording the other any opportunity to score. Mike remained aggressive throughout and the referee would award him a decision! Very close match!
Mike, newly crowned World Champion, already has a list of things to work on and is planning to come back to training after a short break (one day).