Midwest Finishers 8
The Midwest Finishers has been a growing event in Lombard, IL since 2019. Over the years, it has been drawing increasing amounts of talent to the big 10th Planet gym in the humble Illinois suburb. Most recently it hosted its 8th event, featuring the 185 lbs 16-man bracket and 145 lbs 10-women bracket.
Notably, the 145 women’s bracket featured the return of double-champ Sheliah Lindsey, a black belt from Magness BJJ. Sheliah previously won the 135 and 145 lb bracket at Midwest Finishers. This weekend proved no different — the 25 year old earned her third belt over the course of two matches.
The other women in the bracket put up excellent matches as well. To me, Rosa Walsh, Katie Bochenek, Janine Mocaiber, and Peyton Letcher, a last minute replacement, all showed what women’s jiujitsu is all about — high paced, technical scrambles and extreme competency in all facets of grappling, playing guard, passing, and takedowns.
Overall, the matches had very few points of inaction. The EBI ruleset worked well with this group and audience. Here are the results:
Round of 16
Rosa Walsh def. Karina Aguiana: Kimura from the back in OT
Katie Bochenek def. Holly Martin: Kneebar in regulation
Janine Mocaiber def. Danielle Sabatino: Inside heel hook in regulation
Peyton Letcher def. Nabila Martinez: Aoki lock in regulation
Sheliah Lindsey: Bye
Trinity Pun: Bye
Round of 8
Rosa Walsh def. Katie Bochenek: Armlock in regulation
Peyton Letcher def. Janine Mocaiber: Rear naked choke in OT
Sheliah Lindsey: Bye
Trinity Pun: Bye
Sheliah Lindsey def. Rosa Walsh: Rear naked choke in regulation
Peyton Letcher def. Trinity Pun: Ride time in OT
Sheliah Lindsey def. Peyton Letcher: Armlock in regulation
Rosa Walsh, an Irish brown belt training with none other than the Ffion Davies, displayed an impressive, well rounded game. She had fast takedowns, combining duck-unders, arm drags, and trips and working primarily from top position. She dominated her first match positionally and threatened several submissions. Her second match with Bochenek showed her calmness within scrambles. Walsh’s patience was what impressed me the most. Whether she had the rear body lock on turtle or top pin, she controlled the position without rushing to advance. This ultimately gave her the opportunity to submit her opponents without much chance to escape.
Katie Bochenek, a blue belt from 10th Planet Lombard, created some of the most exciting matches by seemlessly exchanging top and bottom positions. She was not afraid to fall back on leg locks from any position, wrestle up, or play a high pressure closed guard or passing. Both of her matches contained high paced action and transitions from submission to submission attempt.
Janine Mocaiber, a black belt from Toronto, is probably mostly known for her leg locks, particularly her false reap. She was able to submit her first opponent after relentless attacks on the legs from mostly guard, ultimately from backside 50/50. She lost the quarters to Letcher, but it was a highly technical ten minute match.
Peyton Letcher, a brown belt from Renzo Gracie Capetown, arguably had the hardest path to victory on Saturday. She was able to submit Nabila Martinez, a highly skilled wrestler and grappler, via Aoki lock. She was then able to stave off Mocaiber’s leg attacks, threatening a few submissions of her own and even reversing a leg attack to mount. In the semifinals, she wasn’t afraid to exchange leg locks with leg lock expert Trinity Pun, getting deep into an ankle lock before finally winning by OT ride time. Overall, Letcher showed extreme competency and danger from her guard and creative, lightning fast offense.
Sheliah Lindsey had two short matches to victory. She got the takedowns quickly and finished both her opponents in less than five minutes. She used headlocks to threaten submissions and ultimately gain the pass, where she then submitted from the back twice. Not to mention, she did the same thing at the IBJJF Chicago Open the very next day, submitting two black belts and winning the absolute finals.
Midwest Finishers is popping. As a past participant myself, I am a little biased. It is a small promotion starting to bring in high level grapplers. Its camera work is one of the most impressive for any tournament of any size — multiple camera angles, moving closeups, interesting and insightful commentary. Make sure to tune into Flo and watch the next one.