A crew from Crazy 88 set out on a mission for submissions in the 10th installment of the Burlington Brawl, a Vermont-based mixed martial arts event. Jon “The Devastator” Delbrugge and Big Al Washington picked up first round finishes in their respective fights.
Al Washington met Robert Benoure in a bout set at 265 pounds. After trading off on the feet, Big Al’s opponent attempted to take the fight to ground. Washington defended, trying to finish with a guillotine. Eventually Benoure scored a double leg takedown and Al recomposed into his closed guard. Big Al performed beautifully off his back as he maintained a strong position, protecting himself from his opponent’s ground-and-pound. Benoure exposed his arm and Washington took advantage of the situation, throwing up a tight arm-lock with only ten seconds left in the round. As the clock winded down, Al bellied out forcing his opponent to tap.
Within the first five seconds, Delbrugge diminished the distance and fastened a tight body lock around his opponent. Philippe Robert scrambled frantically, firing wild elbows in an attempt to escape the devastator’s grip. To no avail he was repeatably whipped to the ground, eventually allowing Jon to sink in his hooks. The Crazy 88 purple belt instantly attacked his adversary’s neck, hunting for the Mata Leão. As his foe defended, Delbrugge managed to advance his position even further, locking his leg over Phiippe’s arm. The possibility to protect himself was nullified and Jon cinched in a rear naked choke, finishing the fight around the 90-second mark.
Read about Coach Jon’s experience below…
If you know me or know my story then you know that this past weekend, October 23rd 2010 has been a long time coming. For the past two years I have been training day in day out, full time. I dropped out of school and sacrificed every normal and secure thing I had in my life. Some would argue that I took a “gamble” when I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to fighting. The reality of it is I made an “investment” when I decided to do this. Everything I have done since I began training two and half years ago has been planned out, detailed, and repeated. My goal when I first walked through the doors of Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was to become an MMA fighter. Though my trainer Julius Park and I joke about how crazy I was when I first came in, I stuck with it when most people fall off the moment they realize what it actually takes to become an MMA fighter.
At our gym to compete in an MMA event is a long process. Throughout this process I have done many things: I have traveled the world competing in over 150 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches (mostly in the gi… a uniform that you do not even compete in as a Mixed Martial Artist, but an essential part of learning the ground game for Mixed Martial Arts) I had a Muay Thai fight in the east coast’s largest kickboxing association, and thousands of hours of training all before I competed as a Mixed Martial Artist. I have essentially been in a training camp for 730 days.
A few months ago my trainer/mentor, Julius Park talked to me about getting an MMA fight. We talked about when the best timing for the fight would be and how it would fit in to our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition schedule. After talking with our friends from FFA (Freestyle Fighting Academy) they put us in touch with a few different matchmakers (during this process I have learned a lot about the fight business) and those match makers put us in touch with other match makers. Pretty soon we were talking with a lot of different organizations and had a lot of good options to work with. We decided to go with a very reputable promotion in Burlington, Vermont.
We would be traveling from Maryland to Vermont to compete. For some places/ people this is a huge deal. A lot goes in to fighting. Especially the preparation part, not to mention that the few days just before the fight are the most important. For us this is business as usual. As I said before, I have been traveling and competing all over for the past two years. In fact we were sending a very large BJJ team to compete in the Miami Open the very same weekend as the MMA fight. After we choose who would be coming to corner the fight, we planned out what day we would leave Maryland to set up the last couple of days of camp in Vermont. We ended up sending seven of our guys to Vermont. A nice size group!
The flight to Vermont was very quick. When we landed the town reminded me of the movie The Hot Tub Time Machine (the high school version before the town was rundown). A cool ski resort type town with the University Of Vermont right in the middle of it. I was so happy about how everything turned out. The only thing I had to worry about leading up to the fight was cutting the weight.
Finally after sweating out the last six pounds we were ready for the weigh ins. We headed to the venue which was only about four miles from the hotel. The venue was impressive and looked promising as they were setting up. I made weight with no problems as did everyone else in the event. After we weighed in, I started my re hydration process (courtesy of Advanced Sports Performance), and I was able to put about 16 pounds back within about 8 hours.
The fight was the same day as the weigh ins so we just went back to the hotel to rest before the fights. I was the third fight of the night so I wanted to rest up as much as possible. Finally, around five o’clock we gathered up all the equipment and headed to the venue. We were given our own dressing room to warm up in and get prepared. After the rules meetings, I had to get my hands wrapped and signed off by the athletic commission. I could tell some of the other guys fighting on the card had not been training that long. They looked at us warming up and how well prepared we were with all of our equipment in amazement. My teammate Big Al Washington was the first fight of the night. Big Al went into complete crazy guy mode as he was getting ready to walk out to the ring. Very few times in my life have I seen this. Nevertheless, Big Al was well ready! Unresponsive to any type of questioning but physically ready!
The first fight of the night set the momentum for the team. Big Al submitted his opponent with an armbar from closed guard. After pummeling in the clinch for a few minutes, Big Als opponent secured a double leg take down. Big Al secured closed guard and started to control the match from there. His opponent made the mistake of getting a little too comfortable in Al’s closed guard and ended up paying the price for it. Big Al debuts is victorious!
The second fight lasted about 1:18. So pretty much right after Al it was my turn! Finally, it was here. The moment I had been thinking about for the last two and half years was here. To my surprise, I felt extremely confident. I was not nervous but I was excited. Extremely excited. I think for the first time in my athletic career I felt like I was in what a lot of sports psychologist call “the zone”. I felt loose, confident, and quick. As I was walking to the ring I noticed how packed the venue was. It was a sold out show, the town of Burlington Vermont is really into sports and fighting. They cheered for us when we came out and you could feel the energy in the stadium. When the fight started, I opened up with a left hook and clinched. I secured a body lock and eventually took my opponent down. On the ground I was immediately looking for the submission. 54 seconds into the first round I secured the rear naked choke and the submission! For some reason instead of getting up and screaming or jumping on the ropes I just waved to the crowed and got my hand raised by the ref. I like to live by the old saying “act like you have been there before!”