It has been two weeks since the event and the dust has finally settled and life is back to normal. The inaugural event went off great with The Warehouse at The Fairfield Theatre Company providing an incredible setting.
All of the competitors arrived on time and made weight like the professionals that they are. The first match to kick off the event was a thriller between Tori Applegate from 10th Planet Gulf Shores and Faye Farrales from the Renzo Gracie Academy. After a closely contested match that saw a lot of heavy top pressure and control from Faye, Tori was able to get to the mount and secure an arm bar for the victory with only 25 seconds remaining. That excitement is exactly why we chose to feature these two competitors as the opening match of the event.
Onto the first round of the men’s tournament, we saw submission victories by Oliver Taza, Frank Jackson, and Jon Blank, as well as an overtime win by Matheus Lutes. Following the completion of the first round and a short intermission to wipe down the mats, the viewers were treated to a great display of jiu jitsu between two young ladies in the second special match. This was a rematch between 12 year old Evyn Nile from GFTeam CT and 13 year old Julianna D’Antonio from SJBJJ. Evyn narrowly won the first match and looked like she was well on her way to a submission victory in this one. She was attacking aggressively from the start and locked in a tight triangle from the mount that looked to be the end.
Julianna, however, was able to persevere and survive the triangle and arm bar attacks for several minutes before forcing the match into overtime where she would eventually take the victory. These two young ladies put on a fantastic display of skill, toughness, and determination and we definitely look forward to having them back in a future event!
The first match of the semifinal round of the tournament featured Oliver Taza from Tristar/Renzo Gracie vs Matheus Lutes from Unity. Lutes quickly attacked with a standing scissor takedown but Taza stayed calm as he worked out of the leg entanglement and eventually got a heel hook submission of his own to move onto the final.
The second match of the semifinal round put Frank Jackson from Gracie Farmington Valley against Jon Blank out of 10th Planet Bethlehem. Frank was able to narrowly escape an early heel hook attempt by Jon before succumbing to a toe hold.
The third special match of the event featured a pair of brown belts, Jillian DeCoursey out of East Coast United and Rachel Beach out of Apocolypse Jiu Jitsu. It was great to have two highly experienced women showcasing their skills on the Radius stage. Jillian was tough on top, attacking with a guillotine before eventually getting the kimura submission for the victory.
This brings us to the final match of the tournament. I am sure that most people had Oliver Taza making it through his side of the bracket and getting to the finals. I am not so sure that anybody outside of those of us who know Jon Blank personally saw him getting this far. Both of these guys wasted no time and got straight to business on the mat. Taza started off working to pass the guard while Jon played half guard and hunted for a kimura grip. Taza eventually passed but Jon forced him to north/south before inverting and catching an arm bar as he spun through. The arm was fully locked out before they even landed, and Taza had no choice except to tap. Jon Blank may have been an unknown coming into The Radius Invitational, but his performance, especially with a submission over a competitor of Taza’s caliber, should definitely put him on the map.
Thanks again to everybody that contributed to the success of this event. We would not have been able to put on this event without the support we received from the competitors, spectators, friends, family, students, and the greater jiu jitsu community. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out our sponsors: Physical Synergy Fairfield, Signarama Norwalk, Sicchic Fight Wear, Defense Soap, and Muddy Paws.
We are taking a few months of to regroup so stay tuned for information on the next Radius Invitational!