It was deja vu for no-gi jiu-jitsu fans at Sapateiro 9 in Florida this weekend when Renzo Gracie teammates Jon Calestine and Ethan Crelinsten once again met up in an exciting final round. Just weeks before, the two had faced off in the finals of the Onnit Invitational, with Calestine coming away with the victory in overtime. During this matchup, though, Calestine didn’t need extra time on the mat to get the win.
The 145-lb bracket was a tough one, with rising stars like Ian Murray and John Battle also giving it their all in hopes of earning the championship title. Pretty much every match was fast-paced and exciting, and many of them ended in what seemed like the blink of an eye. But because they’re so familiar with each other’s styles, Crelinsten and Calestine’s match presented extra challenges for each competitor. Calestine was, in typical fashion, constantly on the hunt for leg locks, but Crelinsten did a great job of being able to slip out even when it seemed like he was done for. In the end, though, Calestine was able to secure an Aoki lock, tapping out the 2017 ADCC West Coast Trials winner and earning $2,000 in the process.
“I wasn’t really performing at my best in my first match [against Joey Lugo],” said Calestine, “But by the second fight, I was feeling a lot more like myself.” Because of a quick submission in the main event, Calestine barely had time to catch his breath before the finals, and he admitted that he was feeling it when he went against the very tough Crelinsten. “Ian [Murray]’s a tough opponent, and I was a little tired going into the match with Ethan. Ethan’s super tough, too. I always know it’s going to be war when we have to go against each other.”
For both Calestine and his training partner and corner, Matt Kaplan, the taste of victory was particularly sweet given the techniques they’ve been drilling recently. “We’ve been working on a lot of new stuff. I knew Jon would win because no one’s ever going to be able to leg lock him in competition,” said Kaplan, who was particularly happy about not only Calestine’s win, but the way he won. “[Renzo Gracie teammate] Eddie Cummings said that Jon would never be able to get the break with an Aoki lock, but clearly he was wrong.”
Calestine will be looking to continue his winning streak next week in Texas, where he’ll be competing in the 155-lb bracket at the Kumite.
Sapateiro 9 also featured multiple superfights, with Mike Padilla facing off against and ultimately submitting Ben Zapata (who replaced Joe Baize after a last-minute injury) in the main event. Padilla thanked Zapata for “stepping up on short notice” and agreeing to compete against him. “I would like to wish Joe Baize a speedy recovery, and hopefully we can make that match in the future,” he said. “I would like to really test myself in a match with 10th Planet killer Nathan Orchard, who I have a ton of respect for.”
For Sapateiro promoter Josh Leduc, the day was a successful one. “This was the best event in Sapateiro history. We are the biggest pro event in the southeast and have consistently brought top level talent to the area. I want to congratulate Jon Calestine on the amazing win, and I look forward to having him back for the absolute tournament at the end of the year. Everyone performed amazing, and I’m looking forward to Sapateiro 10 in Nashville, Tennessee on Jully 22.”
Check out the rest of the superfight results below:
Round 1 Superfight Results
Gage Griffin defeats Jack Couch via heel hook
Kevin Cross defeats Rob Witzgiman via inverted heel hook
Carter McHenry defeats Max Jolly via rear naked choke
Round 2 Superfight Results
Savonna Devoucoux defeats Gabby M. via face crank
Round 3 Superfight Results
Mike Lugo defeats Kagan Pierce via armbar
Round 4 Superfight Results
Corey Brown defeats Werther Marciales via kneebar
Round 5 Superfight Result
Mike Padilla defeats Ben Zapata via choke