Midwest Finishers 9
This Saturday we saw Midwest Finishers’ first edition of the 115 lb female straw-weight championship. It was, however, not the first time we saw many of the competitors, each who brought distinct styles to the bracket. Most notably, returning 125 lb champ Alex Nguyen is now champ-champ, after winning two matches by submission and positionally dominating the finals match, ultimately winning by ride time.
Overall we saw more matches going to overtime than previous MWF brackets, perhaps has a by-product of competitors being generally smaller and faster, and consequently harder to submit. Competitors who won more were very good at attacking from closed guard, which slowed their opponent’s down, attaching to the head and attacking chokes to pass or gain back control, and pressure passing.
Round of 16
Tam Dang def. Tisha Muentes: Triangle in regulation
Stephanie Hernandez def. Betty Huang: RNC overtime
Theresa Calloway def. Wuyang Wong: RNC in regulation
Brittany Way def. Kaitlyn Dunaway: Ankle lock in regulation
Cristal Contreras def. Anne Le: Armbar in overtime
Veronica Joy def. Grace Jolicoeua: Armbar in overtime
Linda Mihalec def. Natalie Faris: Ridetime
Alex Nguyen: Bye
Alex Nguyen def. Tam Dang: RNC in regulation
Theresa Calloway def. Stephanie Hernandez: Mounted guillotine in regulation
Brittany Way def. Cristal Contreras: Armbar in regulation
Linda Mihalec def. Veronica Joy: RNC in overtime
Alex Nguyen def. Theresa Calloway: Armbar in regulation
Brittany Way def. Linda Mihalec: Armbar in regulation
Alex Nguyen def. Brittany Way: Ridetime
Although Cristal Contreras was stopped in the quarterfinals, her first match showed relentless transitions from position to submission. Over ten minutes, Contreras remained almost entirely in control of the pace of the match, repeatedly spinning into inside sankaku from passes and even rolling into it from the dogfight position. At every point in the match, she was setting up submissions from the gogo clinch, rolling back take, outside ashi, and quarter mount. Her opponent was able to defend each submission, but the future is promising for the young former wrestler. Contreras is a blue belt training out of 10th Planet Lombard.
Theresa Calloway came to Midwest Finishers gun blazing, literally running toward her opponents in each match. She displayed heavy side to side outside passing, where she didn’t make contact until she cut an angle she liked. When she was uncomfortable, she disengaged. When she was comfortable, she locked on to the head or arm and finished the match. On top, Teresa is one of the quickest grapplers I’ve ever seen. Opponents who lost patience with her passing style gave her opportunities to capitalize and win the match. Teresa is a purple belt from 10th Planet San Diego.
Brittany Way had a seamless run up until the finals, submitting each opponent in regulation. Her first match ended in a 40 second ankle lock and her two other matches showed a strong closed guard and poised open guard. Both of her two winning armbars came after clinical setups from closed guard and top side control. Way is a black belt training in Florida.
Alex Nguyen was the top seed in this bracket for a good reason. She submitted her opponent in her first match from the back in about 40 seconds. Out of all the people who dealt with Calloway’s speed and circular passing, Nguyen was quick to close the distance and shut down a main feature of Calloway’s game. The finals match was a rematch from just a few weeks ago, where Nguyen submitted Way in less than a minute at the Finisher’s Only Summer Bash. Although Way survived 10 minutes and much of the overtime, Nguyen completely dominated the match, wrestling up quickly and pouring on the pressure passing. Nguyen is a black belt training from Standard Jiujitsu in Maryland.
When people think of 115 lb grapplers, they probably think mostly about fast, inverting and tricky guards and a flurry of complicated leg lock exchanges. Although we saw some of those things, we also saw a fair bit of wrestling, pressure passing, half guard, and closed guard. The two black belts and finalists in the bracket displayed very little flashy or risky technique. They focused on solid, fundamental jiujitsu — progressive, positional control and submission once all defenses were nullified. This isn’t to say you can’t win with berimbolos and buggy chokes. But, challengers for this title will have to remember their basics and watch out for Nguyen’s deadly leg drags.
You can watch the full event on Flograppling.
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