As the first tournament in the U.S. in 2023, the Austin Winter Open took place on Saturday January 28th and Sunday January 29th and brought out the top competition teams in Texas. Despite the fact that the European Championships were the same weekend, the Austin Winter Open was a well attended event that brought out many competitors eager to win their first gold medals of the new year. LEAD BJJ and CheckMat were the standout teams, as they won first place gi and no-gi trophies, respectively.
Joao Gabriel Rocha of Alliance was the standout competitor of the event. In the gi he won four matches to take open class gold. “I had two submissions and no points scored against me in this championship. I’m very happy to be back after three years without fighting in the IBJJF. I felt a little out of competition rhythm after having several fights on the same day, but it was only my first event of the year. My goals this year are to compete as much as I can and compete in the IBJJF ranking, and to be a World Champion. I feel like I’ve reached a point in my career where I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to prove to myself.”
In the female black belt open class division, Team LEAD’s Emily Fernandez won gold after winning her match by submission. Emily submitted her opponent with an armbar from the triangle. She commented on the next tournament she plans to compete in. “Next week is the Oklahoma City Open. There are more girls signed up, so I’m excited about that.”
Johnatha Alves and Pablo Lavaselli both won two matches in the lightweight division. Johnatha also competed in the open class, where he won two more matches before losing the final to Joao Gabriel Rocha. Rolando Samson of Atos Jiu-Jitsu won middleweight gold with two victories, including a finals win via armbar in the opening seconds of the match. CheckMat’s Elder Cruz won three matches in the heavyweight division to take gold.
2023 Austin Winter Open team results:
1. LEAD BJJ
2. Gracie Barra
3. Six Blades Jiu-Jitsu
2023 Austin Winter Open No-Gi team results
2. Brazilian Top Team
3. LEAD BJJ