MMA Champ Juan Puerta Takes Gold in First Ever IBJJF Competition

Brown belt and MMA fighter Juan “Leadfeather” Puerta is pretty at home in a competition setting. He’s been a dominant performer in recent MMA fights (oh hey, flying knee victory), and is the reigning flyweight champion for TitanFC. But he’d never actually set foot on an IBJJF mat until this weekend at the Spring International Open in Miami. Which he won, beating last year’s champ by points in his first matchup.

“I was mostly trying to figure out the the game since I’ve never competed jiu-jitsu,” he told Jiu-Jitsu Times after taking the gold.

Puerta didn’t exactly mean to wait this long to give himself the full IBJJF experience. A wrestler with 500+ matches over the course of his teen years, he started training jiu-jitsu as part of a comprehensive MMA journey, focusing on matches which would help him get a professional fight contract rather than traversing submission hunter territory.

But with another Titan FC bout coming up on June 28th, “Leadfeather” felt ready for a new challenge–and the Miami Open just happened to be nearby. And he’s happy he did.

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“Once I figure out the rules I think I’ll be able to open up more for submissions.”

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Yeah, that sounds about right.

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Kimberly Kaye
Kimberly Kaye is a purple belt under NOLA MMA's Professor Matthias Meister, Mestre Valencio Cocada, and Ray Lopez. When she's not being choked or kicked by large Louisianians, she's an integrative wellness coach working primarily with fighters and autoimmune disease patients. In her free time she rehabilitates of deaf bully breed dogs no one else wants. Kimberly coexists with the rare diseases CIPO and Ehler-Danlos Syndrome, and is an advocate for disabled individuals in the martial arts community and world at large.
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