This will be the writeup of my tournament experience over all with a brief description of the matches. The videos will be up monday in their own post.
I weighed in Friday night at exactly 135.5. The weigh-in was quick and uncomplicated. My info got put into the computer and off I went. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes. After that I hit up longhorns for some awesome dinner and by the time I went to bed I was back up around 141.
We arrived at the venue at about 9:45 thanks to there being no traffic and I had a breakfast of banana, some awesome chobani yogurt and a blueberry muffin and some water. Checked in at the tables and found out that my division got rolled up since there was only one other advanced no-gi competitor close to my weight. Another one showed up a little later and they made the division a 3 man division.
The purple belt division turned into a three man absolute division as well since there were only three purples that showed up. The low turnout was the ONLY thing that wasn't awesome about the event.
The rules meeting was well organized and smooth with everything being covered well and questions being addressed as needed. I got changed right before the rules meeting for my no-gi division and about 10 minutes after the meeting I was on the mats getting ready for my first match.
First match I drew Bumpkin from Team ROC who is a slick brown belt. After much shenanigans I ended up with the exact same omoplata that we worked on during my visit to Alliance HQ a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to finish it using the alternate finish we had worked on. I was frankly astonished at my victory, but super happy. I don't think Bumpkin was feeling 100% though.
After a break I took on Bubby Mitchell of RUSH MMA. I was hoping I could use my reach to catch him from guard so I pulled an guard early, but he had absolutely great top pressure and was able to pass and setup a really slick D'arce choke for the win.
After that he went up against Bumpkin since we were doing a round robin for the division and lost to Bumpkin via triangle/armbar I believe.
We had a brief break after that while they redrew the division since we each had 1 win and Bumpkin had to go up against him a second time. This time Bubby was able to avoid the submission and grind out a win on points. Bumpkin had to pull out after that as he apparently was starting to feel super nauseous and I believe had upchucked his breakfast at some point. So I went up against Bubby again for 1st and 2nd. This time I played a more aggressive standup game, but he nailed a beautiful double on me for two points. I was able to keep him in guard this time and slow him down, I hit a near sweep eventually and we ended up back on our feet, then I was able to stuff a takedown and end up on top for 2 points. I was working to pass his halfguard, but hadn't established it strongly enough to get an advantage yet when time ran out and he won by 1 advantage. I felt pretty damn good about my performance there considering the experience disparity in both of my matches. 2nd place felt great.
A brief break and then the absolute no-gi advanced division started. I was up against some 170ish pound guy. I pulled guard and made him work as best I could, but he eventually armbarred me after some very nice transitions.
I had about 30 minutes to rest, grab some water, eat a banana, and review my matches before the Gi matches started. The gi division was rolled up into an absolute division with just three of us. First match was against Clint/Quint/Kint, not sure how it's spelled (My wife informs me that A. It's KENT like CLARK KENT, and B. I'm an idiot) who was about a 180lb purple belt. With my recent empahsis on GRIP GRIP GRIP I was concentrating on establishing my grips before pulling guard. I was able to overhead sweep him, but not establish the position well enough for points, but then I hit a sickle sweep and was able to get to halfguard top and get two points out of it. He swept me back over at some point and we were tied at 2 and 2, then I can't remember what happened but I managed another sweep, which he tried to turn into a kneebar, I defended, got on top, and actually had my single collar choke locked up when time ran out and I won 4 to 2.
After that I went up against a VERY TALL purple belt named TJ who put on an absolutely spectacular display of grip work by controlling my limbs in every possible way after taking me town with a hilarious trip with his super long legs. It was, quite honestly, a pleasure to be part of such excellent ground work. His grip work was fantastic and with my new emphasis on grips I was really watching what he was doing and could appreciate the artistry.
The other fellow had to bow out due to fatigue instead of going up against TJ, so I ended up with 2nd place in the Purple Belt Absolute division. So this time out I won 2 out of 5 (Edit: I actually had 6 matches, I forgot to add in the no-gi advanced Absolute division match) matches, good enough for 2nd place in 2 out of 3 divisions.
And I was done by 1:30pm. The entire tournament ran so incredibly smoothly that I just don't have enough good things to say about it. I can only say that US Grappling earned my wife's seal of approval and I plan on making them my primary tournament. I'll probably replace both of the other tournaments in my season with US Grappling tournaments.
Again, videos will be up some time monday.