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Southwest Grapplefest VII Excites on Multiple Levels

Paul Fladten
29 July 2012
Southwest Grapplefest VII Excites on Multiple Levels

Combat Sports Club returned to the Santa Ana Star Center on July 28, 2012, for the Combat Sports Expo 2012 and Southwest Grapplefest 7.

The event featured not only the regular regional grappling championships for men, women, and children of all ages and skill levels in both Gi and NoGi; but also showcased its first CrossFit competition, Westside Power Gym's Strong Man demonstration, and a mitts exhibition by Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA fighters Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Buddy Roberts, Tim Means, Travis Marx, Diego Brandao and Jodie Esquibel, with assistant striking coach Brandon Gibson.

Combat Sports Club's declared core purpose is "to facilitate the safe development of its athletes and to foster camaraderie and sportsmanship through fair competition." Grapplefest participants included not only area Jiu Jitsu schools like Santa Fe BJJ, ABQ BJJ, Gracie-Barra BJJ, Flow Roller BJJ, Alchemy BJJ, but also mixed martial arts gyms like Team 4Corners, Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, Mean1 MMA, FIT NHB, J5 MMA, Lovato Total Fitness, Fitness Kicks, ABQ Kickboxing, Bio Dog MMA, and Judgment MMA.

Coach Gerald Lovato of FIT NHB (himself a professional cagefighter) pointed out that, "tournaments like this are good for anyone going into MMA. This was the first competition I did, before I did MMA." Beyond the benefits of new partners and technique, Lovato also pointed out that, "It's good to get mat time in front of large crowds."

"Grappling is an integral part of MMA," pointed out Coach Chris Luttrell of Jacksons and Mean1. "Tournaments like this one are a great way to validate the techniques learned in class, and new partners are always a great way to improve. Also, it's important to come and network, meet other people in the world of combat sports.'"

Not only are the tournaments beneficial to the competitors, but also to the friends and family who support each one in the chosen sport, whether MMA or just grappling. "It helps educate them on positions and point systems," said Luttrell. This is key in any sport, and it helps draw people closer in shared knowledge and love of the activity.

Combat Sports Club is a local promotion that brings welcome business to the Rio Rancho area; the concourse surrounding the area was filled local vendor booths; including Damage Control Mouthguards, Max Muscle, Cricket, Westside Power Gym, MD Unleashed, Schwag Custom Screen Printings, 1st Call SportsMed Solutions, and it was also an opportunity for the concourse food businesses of Pizza 9 and Blake's Lotaburger, to have business for the day.

Regular sponsors of Grapplefest include ABQ Sports Magazine,, Jackson-Winkeljohn, Max Muscle Rio Rancho, Damage Control Mouthguards, RCJ Machado Jiu-Jitsu Association, Southwest Pro-Am Grappling League, Radioactive Fight Gear, OTM Fight Shop and Straight Chiropractic.

For full results of the grappling and CrossFit tournaments, visit, and stay tuned for the next Grapplefest, taking place on October 20, 2012 at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, NM.

Last Modified:
29 July 2012

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