Live from the Los Angeles Theater District at the historic Orpheum Theater, once home to acts like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and a young Stevie Wonder, comes the 2020 Combat Jiu-Jitsu Featherweight Tournament.
Being a leader in the submission only movement, tournament founder Eddie Bravo originally set out to hold the classic Eddie Bravo Invitational tournaments incorporating open-hand palm strikes, it was only after proving the concept of EBI and it’s success on UFC Fight Pass that the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization, or CAMO, would give their endorsement and sanction the event. This came after ten different EBI’s and many conversations with the commission. The result now is what Bravo originally intended, the ability to showcase the art of jiu-jitsu with consideration for strikes, a throwback to vale-tudo style drawing talent from far and wide.
Perhaps the most potent thing that has developed as a result of the submission only movement has been the advent for lower body attacks. In total six of the fifteen matches of the 16-man tournament ended in an inside heel hook, a threat that has become ubiquitous in the EBI and CJJ brand of tournaments. Tournament winner Tom Halpin of Team Fight Sports would go on to win the tournament by submitting all four of his opponents.
One Jiu-Jitsu’s Richard Alarcon, victorious at last years CJJ tournament, fell in the first round by OT armbar to Elias Anderson of Lowell Anderson Jiu-Jitsu, despite some impressive takedowns in regulation. Masakazu Imanari had perhaps the match of the tournament with Demian Balderrama out of Atos, defending an arm triangle in regulation by performing a backward somersault, falling right into an inside heel-hook vs. Andre Galvao’s student. Galvao was in attendance coaching two of his students on opposite sides of the bracket. Imanari would repeat himself by catching another inside heel hook vs. Anderson in the quarterfinals.
Imanari’s countryman Hideo Tokoro would win his first round by OT Armbar against an aggressive Pablo Alfonso in a thriller that saw a lot of back and forth action in regulation. Halpin would take his first round by inside heel hook vs. Mid-city MMA product Sheridan Moran, catching Tokoro in a rear naked choke in the quarterfinals to face Imanari in the semis. Imanari appeared to be moving with intention and dictating the pace of the match, though this took an unexpected turn as he went for a signature Imanari roll only to fall into an inside heel hook of Halpin’s almost immediately and unexpectedly.
On the other side of the bracket, Jordan Holy overcame another Ato’s student in Geoff Real by RNC, facing 10th Planet Portland’s Sam Hady after Hardy was able to lock in a choke of his own against Gabriel Daffron out of Kindred Jiu-Jitsu in Seattle. Hardy fell to Holy by d’arce choke in the quarterfinals. Kevin Berbrich out of 10th Planet Poway under the Freak Brothers’ lineage took his first three rounds by OT victory, defeating Victor Galdon of Cesar Gracie Fight Team, James Partridge of Brother’s Jiu-Jitsu, and Holy in the process. Berbrich fought to the brink, but he could not stop the Irish Halpin, proprietor of his own Modern X-guard and Leg Lock Instructional.
Now that the commission has agreed to incorporate strikes in Eddie Bravo’s format, look for more events like this to be held in the future. As Eddie’s original intention was to create a showcase for jiu-jitsu being used in such a setting, we will continue to see evolution in the submission only game and perhaps even see these skill sets translate into MMA. Combat Jiu-Jitsu is, after all, the segway between mixed martial arts and sport jiu-jitsu.
Full Results – First Round
- Elias “Last Word” Anderson submits Richard “Red” Alarcon via armbar (EBI OT)
- Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari submits Demian Balderrama via heelhook
- Tom Halpin submits Sheridan Moran via heelhook
- Hideo Tokoro submits Pablo “The Hurricane” Alfonso via armbar (EBI OT)
- Jordan Holy submits Geoff “The Impaler” Real via RNC
- Sam Hardy submits Gabriel “Daffy the Duck” Daffron via RNC
- Jams Partridge submits Eddie Fyvie via heelhook
- Kevin Berbrich submits Victor Galdon via armbar (EBI OT)
- Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari submits Elias “Last Word” Anderson via heelhook
- Tom Halpin submits Hideo Tokoro via RNC
- Jordan Holy submits Sam Hardy via D’arce Choke
- Kevin Berbrich submits Jams Partridge via RNC (EBI OT)
- Tom Halpin submits Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari via heelhook (20 seconds in regulation)
- Kevin Berbrich submits Jordan Holy via RNC (EBI OT)
Tom Halpin submits Kevin Berbrich via heelhook
- Special Match 1: Luis Quinones submits Cody Owens via RNC
- Special Match 2: Spencer Mumme submits JM Holland via heelhook
- Special Match 3: Elvira Karppinen submits Brooke Mayo via heelhook