Archive for February, 2010

Recent 10th Planet News

Posted in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by jaytan716

To say that 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu has started the year off with a bang would be an understatement. Only six weeks into the year and not only has Eddie Bravo’s network of schools competed and placed in several major tournaments, but they also saw the promotion of Bravo’s second black belt in the 10th Planet solar system – Sean Bollinger (Riverside). Denny Prokopos (San Francisco) became 10th Planet’s inaugural black belt in September last year.

Denny Prokopos & Sean Bollinger become 10th Planet’s first black belts ever

“We’ve got a lot of resistance going on from the traditional community, which is kinda crazy. I never meant it to start that way. I was trying to improve jiu jitsu for jiu jitsu. . . Having Denny represent, that’s where we need to be right now,” reflected Bravo in a video interview after the promotion.

For Prokopos, receiving his black belt “was like graduating college, with a Ph.D., and to be the valedictorian of my class. And I’m also graduating from one of the finest jiu jitsu universities in the word.”

That 10th Planet degree was put to the test six weeks later, as Prokopos competed in the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championships in November, taking third place in his Black Belt Adult division against jiu jitsu masters such as Rodrigo Ranieri and Baret Yoshida.

“Right off the bat, I proved that I’m a world-class black belt. . . It’s one thing to know about the style. It’s another thing to be able to use it and apply it at the highest levels.”

Of his mentor, Prokopos said “it’s one thing to have a jiu Jitsu coach, it’s another thing to have a jiu jitsu coach, somebody that you love, somebody that you respect so much as a person.”

On the heels of Prokopos, Sean Bollinger was also recognized for his skills and expertise with his black belt in late January. The young head instructor of 10th Planet Riverside was apparently caught off guard with the promotion, saying “Eddie was all like ‘you need to win first place in a big tournament’ . . . I was thinking I’d have to go do a NAGA or Grapplers’ Quest. Go get a gold real quick and then I’d get my black belt. So when he came out and gave me [my belt], it was definitely a surprise. But I think I’ve put in the work. I do feel good about it.”

Both Prokopos and Bollinger face new responsibilities as the sole 10th Planet black belts, not just for that level of recognition, but also as they spearhead their own school branches. With Bollinger’s school taking the 10th Planet reach into the Southern California Inland Empire, Prokopos’ San Francisco dojo has stood for the past two years amidst other noted grappling schools like Cesar Gracie and Jake Shields’ respective Gracie Fighter academies, as well as MMA gyms such as Fairtex and American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).

Additionally, Bollinger is training for an MMA fight against second-generation star Ryan Couture, scheduled for March 26th at Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships in Las Vegas. Bollinger is currently 2-0 in amateur MMA competition.

“It’s a win-win situation for me. That’s how I look at it. I just feel blessed with the opportunity. . . Because I think I could build a good name in that whole organization. Especially after this fight, when people know what’s up.”

Additionally, a group of students from Headquarters and Burbank were also recently promoted, including new blue belts Will Allen, Mel Blanco, Alex Branom, Steve Cox, Matt Dempsey, Scott Elkin, Karen Ferguson, Michel Francoeur, Juli Fung, Tommy Gavin, Carlos Hernandez, Matt Horwich, Alan Jouban, Howard Lee, Richard Mattke, Kyle McGough, Anthony Nealy, Rachel Tan, and Wade Thomas.

Congratulations to all the recent 10th Planet promotions for the deserved recognition of their hard work and spirit.

10th Planet at Gracie Nationals

One of the bigger annual jiu jitsu tournaments, the Gracie US Nationals, took place as part of the Los Angeles Fitness Expo in Los Angeles in January. Among the placers were silver medalists Juli Fung (Burbank / Headquarters; Female Beginners 135 lbs.), Miguel Orozco (Burbank; Male Beginners 135 lbs.), and John Bottello (10th Planet Arizona head instructor; Male Advanced 145 lbs.).

“I feel fantastic. I learned so much, I can’t wait to do the next one,” said Fung after her win.

Amir Allam (Burbank / Headquarters) had a particularly busy day, not only claiming gold status in the Men’s Advanced 206 lbs. division, but also treating fans to an impromptu special exhibition match against MMA fighter Josh Barnett, who showed up only to discover that there were no other opponents in Barnett’s division. Faced with clocking out early for the day, Barnett asked Allam to roll in an exhibition match, to which the purple belt agreed. The scrap itself was competitive between opponents until Barnett caught Allam with a leglock.

Especially worthy of note was the Davila family’s accomplishments, as young Victor Jr. and his uncle Jose (both Burbank) claimed gold in their respective divisions.

Headquarters’ purple belts Ralf Warneking, Ian Quinto, and Dave Callaham also competed at this tournament, as did a large contingent from 10th Planet Phoenix, which included (beside Botello) Annie Jamarillo (Phoenix), Joe Montoya, and Ruben Garcia.

“It was great competing alongside people from Headquarters and Burbank. After the tournament, we celebrated my birthday. Eddie’s show the night before was great too. Just a fun time all around,” said Botello.

“I thought it was great that Arizona came all the way out to compete and trained with us all the week before,” noted Fung in the days after the event.

Scottie Epstein coaching Team Liddell for TUF 11

As reported previously on the Legends MMA blog, brown belt Scottie “Einstein” Epstein (Headquarters) will be featured as Chuck Liddell’s jiu jitsu coach for the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which is anticipated to debut on Spike TV in April.

Regarding the show itself, Epstein is bound to confidentiality, but when asked if he was enjoying the experience, the enthusiasm was obvious: “it’s been a great experience. . . I was led to believe it was the worst thing ever. I’m like ‘what are you, kidding me?’ I get paid to train motherfuckers. I’m a roommate with Chuck Liddell. All our food is covered. Anywhere we want to go; just one phone call and we’re red carpeted. I wish my whole life could be like this.”

Epstein also spoke positively about the fighters themselves, noting “all the guys that I teach really want to learn. They pull me to the side and ask me how to do something. They’re very open-minded.”

Filming is scheduled to end in early March, at which point Epstein and Liddell will focus on preparing for a second rematch against Tito Ortiz, scheduled for UFC 115 in June.

10th Planet at Grappling X No-Gi Tournament

Finally, you could say that this year, February 14th was for lovers and fighters, as the Grappling X No-Gi tournament took place that day in Long Beach, CA. Of the several different 10th Planet schools representing at the tournament, Burbank in particular shined brightly, with gold medals for Kim Ferguson (Women’s Advanced 130 lbs.) and Richard Mattke (Men’s Beginner 180 lbs.), silver for Ronnie Castro (Men’s Novice Absolute Division) and Aren Asefi (Men’s Novice 145 lbs), and bronze for Miguel Orozco (Men’s Novice 135 lbs.), Rachel Tan (Women’s Beginner 115 lbs.), and Michael Pack.

This being his freshman tournament, Castro particularly impressed his teammates. Purple belt Dustin Shaw (Headquarters) noted “entering the absolute division is a big step for anybody, especially if it’s their first tournament. And he was doing really well against all these guys that are just as big as him and competing for years. So I think he’s going to be a really good competitor, very quickly.”

Headquarters member Erik “Compella” Cruz also noted Orozco’s steady and rapid development, noting “he put his opponent to sleep. That kid’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with. He’s already really smooth.”

Not to be overlooked, Burbank’s Michael Fausto battled through five bouts in a stacked division to a laud-worthy fourth place finish, finishing most of his opponents with triangle chokes.

Headquarters earned their fair share of battle bling as well, as Steve Cox (Intermediate 145 lbs) and Drew Springer took gold. Dawna Gonzales (Women’s Beginner 130 lbs.) and Conor “The Hurricane” Heun (Men’s Advanced 175 lbs.) placed silver in their respective divisions. Dustin Shaw claimed bronze in his Advanced Men’s 145 lbs. division.

Of his own debut in the Men’s Advanced 175 lb. bracket, Compella said “at first, I was nervous going in, but once I got through it, I was like ‘I can do this again.’ I really thought – one or two changes here or there, I can easily win. I don’t see it too far in the reach.”

Also competing were Headquarters members Scott Palmer, Sanni Wehbe, Jr., and Jason Eisner.

“I think everybody did really well. It was amazing to watch Conor roll his first competition back after knee surgery. . . Compella put on a rubber guard clinic. . . Loved watching the other advanced guys – Justin, and Jason Eisner. . . It was beautiful to watch, and it was exciting to watch all the beginner people just go for it. There was not one person on a 10th Planet team that I watched that I was not just absolutely thrilled and proud of, because everybody pulled off something that we worked on every day. And you can’t ask for more than that, and us being an incredibly supportive team, cheering each other on,” said Gonzales.

“There was a time I can remember where 10th Planet would have four or five people in a tournament, and that was a pretty good turnout. . . and [people were] constantly saying that we never competed, and all this stuff that we did never really works and whatever. Now we’ve got all these up and coming people coming in there and winning their divisions. First and second place all over the place,” reflected Shaw.

Other 10th Planet / Pro MMA Fighter Notes

Congratulations to traditional black belt / 10th Planet member George Sotiropolous for his dominant victory over Joe “Daddy” Stevenson in his homeland of Australia at UFC 110. Sotiropolous employed every bit of his 10th Planet repertoire, on top and from bottom, to threaten and thwart Stevenson, himself a black belt under Robert Drysdale. The native Aussie walked away with a 30-27 unanimous decision.

And speaking of 10th Planet students in the UFC, kudos, props, and best wishes go out to Burbank’s Alder Hampel and Dan Hardy (Headquarters), as they prepare for Hardy’s March 27th challenge for George St-Pierre’s UFC welterweight title.

Check back here for more 10th Planet news.

CAMO Event Round-Up for the Weekend of 2/19 to 2/21

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports on February 23, 2010 by jaytan716

Two CAMO Events Debut in Northern California

Continuing the streak of packed houses and fervent crowds, Northern California was the place to be for amateur MMA last weekend, with back-to-back CAMO-sanctioned events.  Friday night, Capital Fighting Championships presented “Friday Night Fights” at Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness facility in Sacramento, while Dragon House MMA wrote Fog City history by hosting San Francisco’s first-ever amateur MMA event, drawing a sellout crowd to their gym.

As Sacramento’s favorite MMA son, Urijah Faber’s reputation for intense competition and upstanding sportsmanship precede him.  So it should come as no surprise that Faber’s Cali Kid promotions would stage an event with those same qualities.

“The crowd definitely liked [the fights].  We had three of four fights end in the first round, so it was definitely crazy. . . The hearts of these guys was pretty impressive,” commented matchmaker Tabrez Ansari, adding:

“Urijah’s all about the spirit of competition.  He addressed the crowd before the fight and said ‘there are no losers in this. It takes a special person to even step in here, so do not boo, and applaud each person’s effort regardless of the outcome.’ And he was very impressed with the crowd, and impressed of all the fighters.”

Among the standouts of the night, Ansari pointed to Overcome MMA’s Alex Ivanov as demonstrating overall talent.  “His wrestling, jiu Jitsu, and stand-up looked great.”

Ansari also noted that “Team Buhawe in Fresno and Folsom MMA were extremely impressive.  They had about 50 people representing Team Buhawe.  They had a really good support for their team out there. . . The coach for Folsom MMA is named Sean Ward.  He really gets his community and his members involved.  They have a ton of support.”

Match results from “Capital Fighting Championships presents Friday Night Fights” are as follows:

136 lbs. – Zach Smith def. Raymond Aguilar via submission, R1, 1:20.

161 lbs. – Ray Heredia def. Steve Cartwright via KO, R1, 0:30.

156 lbs. – Chaz Sanchez def. Karsten DeSario via submission, R1, 1:21.

160 lbs. – Richie Smith def. William Piper via TKO, R2, 1:31.

161 lbs. – Mario Soto def. Brandon Smith via unanimous decision.

171 lbs. – Alex Ivanov def. Richard Nero via TKO, R3, 0:13.

145 lbs. – Paul Ruiz def. Rick Inzunza via submission, R1, 0:55.

170 lbs. – Jesse Roberts def. Carl Hoffman via TKO, R2, 0:34.

Dragon House MMA

Ninety miles and 24 hours later, Sifu Zhong Luo and his Dragon House MMA kicked off their first amateur MMA event, which likewise featured competitive matches and an avid audience.

“Everybody’s happy with how the show came out.  Good matches, fair fights. . . The next one is going to be bigger.  Probably get 100 seats extra.”

As several other California promoters have echoed, Luo noted his impressed surprise over how many amateur fighters carry themselves with the skill and manner of many professional fighters: “These amateur guys come in, but the way they prepared themselves, they way they diet and the way they fight, it’s pretty close to the pro level.  Some of them, even better than some of the pros I’ve seen.”

Luo had no problem pointing out a few specific names: “One of them, Greg Ulatowski, from Charles Gracie’s school, he really stands out.  Had a really spectacular win. . . Paradise [Vaovasa] was good.  He’s from my gym, and is an up and coming young guy. He’s fighting guys, like, eight or nine years older.”

“Who impressed me the most was Justin Vizcarra.  Because that guy, from Verretts MMA, he used to be a 290 lb. guy. Two hundred ninety pounds, last year, when I saw him.  He dropped to 205 for this fight.  He was two different people.  He got a really tremendous win against a guy from U.S. Karate.  Decent stand-up.  Decent wrestling.”

Match results from Dragon House MMA’s event on 2/20/10 in San Francisco are as follows:

205 lbs. – Justin Vizcarra def. Nazal Parvin via submission, R1, 2:58.

170 lbs. – Greg Ulatowski def. Trevor Jodsaus via TKO, R2, 1:39.

145 lbs. – Andrew Rynhard def. Andrew Hansen via submission, R3, 1:13.

135 lbs. – Brandon Lozada def. Brian Liu via TKO, R2, 1:06.

155 lbs. – Paradise Vaovasa def. Devin Butler via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Gerard Frantz def. Steven Summers via submission, R1, 1:54.

170 lbs. – Idres Rahmani def. Sasualei Faamausili via TKO, R1, 1:16.

175 lbs. – Riley Wills def. Abraham Vaesau via submission, R3, 1:28.

170 lbs. – Gabe Pena def. Riece Keck via KO, R1, 0:38.

That same night, another amateur MMA event took place in Chulalar.  Match results are as follows:

Justin Rios def. Andrew Piersons via TKO, R2, 0:47.

Wayne Cole def. Richard Smith via technical decision, R2, 2:00.

William Butler def. Thomas Quintana via technical decision, R1, 1:49.

Cory Martinez def. Samson Castillo via decision.

Craig Dunlop def. Primo Delfino via submission, R2, 0:16.

Evan Rodriguez def. Abaham Diaz via technical decision, R1, 2:00.

Capital Fighting Championships anticipates hosting another fight night on April 17th.  Dragon House MMA expect to announce their next event soon, but in the meantime, replays of their Feb. 20 event will air on local channel Access SF – Channel 29, beginning Saturday, Feb. 27, at 6pm, with replays scheduled over the following several weeks.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit

CAMO Event Round-Up for the Weekend of 2/11 to 2/14

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports on February 15, 2010 by jaytan716

Fighters, Not Lovers, in Canoga Park for Valentine’s Day Weekend

This past Sunday might have been for lovers, but Saturday night was alright for fighting, as American Hapkido Karate hosted their first “Fight Factory MMA” event at their Canoga Park training facility.

“All the fighters were so good. All the coaches that came were so amazing. Everybody really gave the gym a lot of energy on that night,” said gym manager and matchmaker Brandie Bogosian.

Easily the hottest fight came third from the top, as Gevork Chilalyan and Luis Morales battled in an all-out slugfest which had the crowd standing and vociferous. Chilalyan, winning by unanimous decision later got Fight of the Night honors.

“He was so excited. Every single day, he’d ask me ‘did you get a fight for me? Did you get an opponent for me? I can’t go to sleep. I have to fight.’ He brought maybe 80-90 people with him,” commented head trainer and promoter Master Sayed Qubadi.

Match results from “Fight Factory MMA” are as follows:

170 lbs. – Eric Steans, Jr. def. Oscar Paiz via submission, R2, 1:45.

145 lbs. – Danny Worthen def. Kian Danesh via TKO (doctor’s stoppage), R2, 2:00.

205 lbs. – David Neace def. Gary Luisi via submission, R2.

135 lbs. – Ronnie Tanner def. Cameron Harris via DQ (illegal intentional head kick to a grounded opponent).

170 lbs. – Gevork Chilalyan def. Luis Morales via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Oscar Avila def. Vahe Ambarchyan via split decision.

155 lbs. – Jimmy Chavez def. Willy (Wei) Chua via TKO (doctor’s stoppage), R1, 1:10.

The next Fight Factory MMA event will be a Pankration event on May 15th, followed by MMA in August. American Hapkido Karate will also host boxing and kickboxing / Muay Thai events on alternating months.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit

CAMO Event Round-Up for the Weekend of 1/29 to 1/31

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports on February 1, 2010 by jaytan716

Proof is in the Punching at ‘Proving Grounds’ in Pasadena

The trend of debuting amateur MMA shows continued this week at John Bostick and Savant Young’s Fight Academy in Pasadena.  The event featured nine highly competitive cage matches which made for an exciting, competitive night of fights and an official sellout attendance.

“There was strong support.  Teams were coming in groups of 10 and 20, so it made it easy to fill the house up.  It was a good night.  Everybody enjoyed themselves . . . it had that real feel of how a show should feel inside of a gym.” said matchmaker and Fight Academy head instructor Savant Young.

Young, a veteran of Affliction, WEC, Shooto, and the IFL, opened up the Pasadena branch of David Dunn’s Santa Clarita school in August 2009.  When the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) delegated amateur MMA regulation to CAMO, hosting events at the new gym was a logical next move.

“We’ve created our niche in Pasadena, as far as where people come to train and potentially do amateur fighting . . . I wanted to be the first one that spearheads the whole legal thing in Pasadena, and we were definitely successful at that last night,” Young explained.

Match results from “Fight Academy: Proving Grounds” are as follows:

150 lbs. (catchweight) – Reshan Sabaratnam def. Jonathan Clegg via TKO, R2, 1:35.

155 lbs. – Frank Miller def. Clinton Cornelison via TKO, R1, 0:55.

160 lbs. (catchweight) – Derek Johnson def. Kyle Sereg via TKO, R1, 1:35.

135 lbs. – Oscar Torres def. Eddie Briseno via TKO, R2, 0:58.

145 lbs. – Matt Reis def. Sharif Elassiouti via unanimous decision.

127 lbs. (catchweight) – Kelvin Martell def. Louis Reyes via unanimous decision.

178 lbs. (catchweight) – Dorien Tharps def. Ryan Escobedo via TKO, R3, 0:43.

205 lbs. – Waldo Nava def. Wolfgang Steinbeck via submission, R2, 0:26.

170 lbs. – Nick Huizar def. Anthony Olivas via unanimous decision.

As for highlights of the night, Young commented “there were a couple, actually.  I don’t want to take anything away from any of the kids. . .The main event had one of my guys, Nick Huizar, [against Anthony Olivas]; they stole the show. . . [We had] one guy from California Kickboxing.  The other guy was from PKG, out with Ian Harris.  They did real well.”

Fight Academy Pasadena expects to hold their next amateur MMA event in late March.  For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit