A large contingent of Crazy 88 grapplers went by planes, and trains, and automobiles to Montreal for the first of the “East Coast” qualifier tournaments for the Abu Dhabi Pro. The Abu Dhabi tournament is run by an avid BJJ fan who happens to be a sheikh from the Arab Emirates. Although the tournament has horrendous advertising, making it a pain for potential competitors to figure out when and where the actual tournament is taking place, the prizes awarded are serious – winners of the Open divisions receive all-expense paid trips to the UAE to compete, even for non-Black Belts.
Fred “Two Time” Thomsen made his return to the competition mats, defeating his first opponent 10-0 and submitting his second opponent by armbar before losing a close one on advantage in the Medal Round. His performance enabled him to get into the Blue Belt Open division later in the day and earned him a Bronze medal in the Medium heavy division.
Cathy Tran-Zwanetz ended up taking 3rd in the <138 lbs Female Blue Belt weight division; submitting two opponents from the back before losing in the semifinals by armlock. She entered the Open and had a sweep-for-sweep battle with a tough girl from Cia Paulista. Still a good tournament to stay competition-fresh between the European Championship and the Pan which takes place at the end of March.
Team Lloyd Irvin will be heading to the Middle East with a strong team: JT Torres and Jimmy Harbison both won trips for their performances in the Black Belt division, DJ Jackson in the Brown, and Keenan Cornelius in the Purple. Ous!