With 4-time World Champion Grappler and sometimes-golfer Hillary Williams running the brackets and tournament director Leonardo Xavier ensuring the event’s standard of conduct maintained world-class integrity, Zebra Mat Systems was able to deliver on its promise of bringing international-style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling competition to the Houston area. Grappler’s World War, held this past Saturday at the Berry Center in Cypress, TX, featured a few new wrinkles for the local tournament scene, including flying in world champions such as Williams and Bruno Bastos to referee, product giveaways and custom medals, along with strict IBJJF rules for competitors and officials alike.
By my estimation, a little over two-hundred competitors enjoyed the stadium setting at the Berry Center, which is about as close as we’ve gotten locally in terms of emulating the top-level environment seen at events such as the Pan-Am’s and the Mundials. While the Berry Center wasn’t filled like the Tijuca Tênis Clube gymnasium in the old days just yet, it does bode well for Houston that the ZTS group has put forth the investment to eventually bring that environment to local competitors and fans. These promoters literally pulled out all the stops to ensure their virgin event lived up to a standard of excellence and were very impressive in that regard.
As far as the action on the mats, the highlight of the day was a No-Gi superfight between BJJ black belts Jorge “Macaco” Patino of Gold Team and Corpus Christie resident Hector Munoz, of Paragon BJJ. Giving up a thirty-pound weight advantage, Munoz fought valiantly against the highly-regarded Gold Team leader.
Amongst others, impressive competitors included Jason Soliz (Sugarland MMA), Michael Perez, Kurt Pantle, Nick Schultz (all with Paul Thomas BJJ), and many other winners whose names I may not have. Great job to the top-notch referee crew (pictures below) and others whose work helped make the event a success, including Adam Villareal, Fight Medics, and TheCageDoor.net, amongst others.
Note – Select videos of matches from this event can be found on my fight community YouTube channel. Subscribe today and get future video tournament footage uploads directly to your inbox.
Photos – Grappler’s World War, Cypress TX – Saturday, December 4, 2010