HIGH ROLLERZ 15 RECAP
The heat is beginning to beat down on the desert streets of Las Vegas. Summer steadily approaches and the tourists are baking outside on the city streets. Meanwhile, fighters, celebrities, and celebrity fighters baking inside (see what I did there?) over at the High Rollerz Headquarters as they get prepared for our High Rollerz 15: Celebrity Open.
That’s right, for our May event we have an 8-man tournament style bracket of fighters, backed by our badass company sponsors, and then for our main fights of night we have two matches of celebrities from one limelight or another matched up against one another. Whether you’re known for spittin’ bars or for being a sick tattoo artist – when you’re closed into the cage and knuck it up as the clock starts to count down, the crowd at High Rollerz only wants to know one thing..
..WHO WANTS THIS SMOKE?!
Enough of the build up, let’s get right in there with a recap of the night’s events.
If you’re curious about the rules of our matches, you can check out our official ruleset here.
You can read along for a play-by-play with yours truly, or check out the action on our YouTube page where you’ll be carried through the action by UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar and the champ himself, Kevin Crane. We also have some guest commentators pop on through the show, including pro wrestler Hassad Assan and MMA fighter Georgi Karakhanyan!
1: Albert Morales v Javier Garcia
The night kicks off with Javier ‘El Mariachi’ Garcia out of Combat Sub Wrestling repping Tyson 2.0 against Black House MMA’s Albert Morales, rocking his Vibes Papers rashie per usual. This man shows up every time with a team of photographers taking bad ass photos of his fights (shoutout to Emily and Jasmin!), and this event is no different.
This fight takes a technical start as the two opponents hand fight and wrestle on their feet for the first minute and a half. Javier finally gets a neck clench and is able to snap down to take the match to the ground. This is where the ground karate works its magic.
Javier plays the offensive while Morales does an expert job fending off any positions with a kimura hold and then stands and gets his back against the cage. One would think this is NOT where the ground karate works, but Javier continues to put the pressure on with a back take attempt, and eventually pounces on Morales back with a body lock and takes the match back to the ground with two hooks in.
While Javier seems to be playing mostly on the offensive, Morales continues to play a phenomenal guard game and escapes out of the back position flawlessly. He retains a half guard and scrambles ensue. Back up to the feet, Morales snaps in for a quick take down of his own. Javier plays on his back and goes for a omoplata attempt that turns into a triangle attempt, and Morales shuts it all down. Another great attack from Javier, but Morales survives another flurry of sub attempts. The round continues with this back and forth for the last thirty seconds, and the round ends without a clear victor. We go into our over-time rules, where both fighters will have one minute to defend an attack from a back seatbelt position. If the first attacker gets a tap, the defender gets the same opportunity but has to tap their opponent in a faster time.
Javier starts on Morales back, and gets off to a good start. Morales isn’t able to shake the attack and 40 seconds in, Javier gets the tap from the back with an RNC. Morales is given the 40 seconds to attack back, and just isn’t able to seal the deal. Morales is knocked out and Javier is moving on to the semi-finals!
2: Jordan Wirth v Jerry Shapiro
There’s a few words out there that when you hear them, you immediately associate them with other things. For instance, if I say “key”, you might think of the word, “lock.” Or if I say “Syndicate MMA”, you probably think of the Shapiro Brothers. But when I say “buggy choke”.. there’s one person in particular that comes to mind. And that’s Jordan Wirth.
Jordan Wirth out of 10th Planet Vegas reppin’ Jardin Vegas is matched up against one of the Shap Bros legends Jerry Shapiro. We’ve seen both of these contenders on the mats before, but never in a match against one another.
Jordan is a guard player, and goes right to business. Announcer Kevin Crane mentions passingly, “you’ve got to look out for that buggy choke these days..” Jerry finds himself struggling to pass Jordan’s guard and as soon as he gets to side control, Jordan slips right into a buggy choke, almost as if he allowed the pass to happen for this moment. And I will just say, this buggy is TIGHT. Jerry tries to shake it and brace himself with his own arm, but it’s just too deep to break. He submits, and Jordan Wirth is moving to the semi-finals.
3: Brady Wicklund v Chris Dempsey
We’ve seen Brady Wicklund numerous times at High Rollerz, always repping his green Game Up Nutrition rashie. Chris Dempsey, coming out of the Mat Factory and repping Khalifa Kush.
As soon as this match starts, one thing is clear: Brady is here to put on a show. He comes in with what Jeff Glover calls the ‘donkey guard’, and is playing this confident stand-up style but is also leaping in for take downs. Stylistically it all looks badass, and he even gets a good ankle pick out of some crazy backwards leap he does, which takes the match to the ground.
From the ground, Brady sinks in an inverted triangle and then starts attacking Dempsey’s other arm. Dempsey defends and gets to his feet, but Brady isn’t letting go of that triangle. A great photo opp, wouldn’t you say?
Dempsey picks Wicklund up about 4 feet off the ground, and decides to reintroduce Wicklund to the ground with the most epic slam of the evening. When he does, Wicklund wastes no time in recovering and keeping the attack going. He stands up, shakes it off, and the two are back on their feet. Not for long though, because Chris Dempsey f*ckin’ yeets Wicklund across the cage. Wicklund stays on the ground, flicks Dempsey off and taunts him to the ground. They go back and forth for the remainder of time with a few more triangle attempts from Wicklund, but the round goes the distance, and the two competitors find themselves in overtime.
Dempsey starts on Wicklunds back, and within the first 10 seconds Wicklund finds his way out of the position and into guard. He survives the remainder of the round and then takes Dempsey’s back. Dempsey starts, and like the beast that he is stands up with Wicklund on his back. Another impressive show of strength and skill from both competitors, but neither can find the tap, and it goes to our sudden death round. 1 minute, first one to score points wins. If the minute passes with no points, it goes to ref decision.
As soon as sudden death begins, Brady Wicklund pulls guard, negating points. The timer runs out and the round goes to decision. Brady Wicklund gets his hand raised via decision and is heading to the semi-finals.
4: Arnold Jiminez v Travis Brooks
Arnold Jiminez comes in first, out of OG Training Center and repping Insane OG, which is BReal’s (Cypress Hill) company. Travis Brooks comes in focused and with a slight weight advantage in the face off by about 25 lbs.
The two dab it up and Travis goes in to blast a double leg takedown. This puts him in a tight guillotine position with Jiminez sinking it in deeper as the two scramble around the mats. It’s looking grim for Brooks but he manages to escape. Jiminez gets to his feet, Brooks plays his guard, but Arnold Jiminez goes for another guillotine attempt. Brooks manages to escape again, staying underneath Jiminez and trapping one of his legs. Arnold knows right away he is in danger and tries to escape, but eventually Brooks gets a reverse heel hook submission.
It looked pretty damn impressive – I’d definitely recommend watching the tape on this one. Kevin Crane even said that he just showed Brooks this move moments before the fight, which is even more impressive!
5: Javier Garcia v Jordan Wirth
If you saw last month’s 420 Special, we saw Jordan Wirth match up against Javier Garcia just last month. The match went the distance and Jordan got the W, but everybody wanted to see that match ran back because it was such a close one. Well, we got our wish granted here in the semi-finals a month later with these two badasses matching up again to see who gets their hand raised in Wirth v Garcia 2.
Jordan immediately plays his guard game, which if you haven’t learned in his match history, is dangerous as hell. He keeps his shin in between him and Garcia, playing his space. Javier is able to snatch a quick heel hook attempt but Jordan is able to escape and the two separate. Back to open guard game with Wirth’s shin in between him and his opponent, and if you don’t realize the pattern yet, you see here it works like clockwork. From this position, Jordan let’s his knee shield get passed and his opponent thinks they’re safe to push into side control. With that momentum, Jordan goes into his signature buggy choke attempt. It works every time. Every. Damn. Time. Unless you’re reading this and fighting him next month. If that’s the case, LOOK OUT. You heard it here first, folks.
Javier finds himself in this rather uncomfortable position on the bring of unconsciousness for about 40 seconds, but is able to survive the effort and escape! Jordan seems to have emptied his gas tank a little bit with that attempt and Javier is able to pass to full mount. Meanwhile, Jordan uses his flexibility to do some more wild shit that one would think isn’t humanly possible. But once again, we’re talking about Jordan Wirth here. This guy just might not be human and nobody’s caught on yet.
From this insane full mount..triangle..position that Jordan defends himself with, he finds himself in a nice leg entrapment with Garcia and begins looking for the heel. He finds it, and there’s no where for Javier Garcia to go. Within seconds of the attack, the tap follows. After an impressive match, Jordan Wirth, the most flexible man on the planet, is going to the finals.
6: Brady Wicklund v Travis Brooks
These two pair up at the same weight with Brooks having a slight height advantage. Brooks immediately pulls guard and Wicklund goes for an ankle attack in response. Brooks escapes with a quick roll and the two find themselves in a dangerous 50/50 with leg attacks galore. It seems like the flurry is over and Travis gets comfortable with his leg a little too far out. Brady Wicklund sees that and snatches it up for a quick heel hook and the round is over within the first minute. Brady Wicklund is heading to the finals against Jordan Wirth!
7: Brandon Bowen v Trap Gambino
Brandon Bowen, who got his start on Vine is now a well known internet sensation with over 300k followers on Instagram. Trap Gambino, another internet sensation, has also had his fair share of MMA bouts. Both of these talented fighters come from heavier versions weightclasses and have both cut an impressive amount of weight. Meanwhile, this is another one of those Big vs Mighty situations, where Brandon Bowen weighs 190lbs these days, and Trap comes in at a 335lb advantage after losing over 100lbs throughout his MMA career. That’s still a 145lb weight difference – that’s like one Alexander Volkanovski. This guy weighs one Alex Volkanovski more than Brandon Bowen..holy shit!
The two square up in the center of the ring and Brandon puts the pressure onto Trap until they’re up against the wall. He grabs a leg and gets a single leg takedown against the cage! They go to the ground and Trap Gambino keeps Brandon in a halfguard. Brandon attempts a kimura and as Trap defends, he passes the leg and jumps into full mount. He starts to sink in a head and arm choke, and then slices his knee across Trap Gambino and get’s into position. A few moments later, and Brandon Bowen gets the tap. What a fight for this competitors first match in High Rollerz! We hope to see them both back at some point.
8: Durb Morrison v Mac Lethal
Durb Morrison is an incredible tattoo artists out of Columbus, Ohio and probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Mac Lethal, is known for spittin’ hot fire on the microphone and has been in the rap game for over a decade. He’s been on tracks with Tech N9ne and has numerous albums out worth giving a listen. But careers aside, these two are about to duke it out on the mats. This will be a gi purple belt match, and the only gi match of the evening.
The two dab it up in the middle of the ring and get to it. Thirty seconds in and Durb goes for a guard pull, but uses it for a quick butterfly sweep. The two scramble against the cage and Mac Lethal defends Durb’s attacks, but throughout the scramble Durb is slowly pulling Mac’s gi out of his belt to potentially use it for a lapel choke. Two minutes into the round and Durb yanks that gi over Mac’s head and gets a scissor choke attempt! Mac defends in half guard but as soon as Durb moves into north south, it’s looking..lethal for Mac.
Mac Lethal defends for as long as he possibly can, but Durb Morrison secures the submission and takes home the W! He gets $1,000 to spend at our exclusive dispensary Jardin, and a new dab rig from our sponsor Dr. Dabber! Congrats to Durb and Mac for putting on an exceptional performance!
9: Jordan Wirth v Brady Wicklund
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. 10th Planet’s Jordan Wirth against NorCal Fighting Alliance’s Brady Wicklund – who might I add is reppin’ Nate Diaz’s company Game Up Nutrition, while the man himself is in the building watching the fight. No pressure or anything.
The round starts with Jordan playing his guard, and Brandon is even taunting him a little bit here and there giving his ankle up. There’s one thing for certain: both of these competitors are sharp. They know their skills and aren’t afraid to give a little to take it all.
15 seconds in and Wicklund does an amazing cartwheel to pass into sidecontrol. I’m seriously going to watch that pass a hundred times until I can pull off a shitty version of it in class next week. He tries a knee on belly, Jordan reposes guard, and with that Wicklund snatches up a tight toe hold on Wirth! Wirth rolls like a damn alligator to escape the position and after rolling across the entire cage, he is safe for seconds until Brady switches to an outside heel hook. Jordan realizes he is in danger but still defends for a few more seconds. Brady is only doing leg lock attempts on the leg lock specialist, so this is definitely entertaining to watch.
Brady secures another heel hook attempt and the two begin to roll across the mat again. Two rolls in and Jordan finally taps to the attack. Brady Wicklund is the champion of the event’s 8-man bracket, and Nate Diaz was there to watch the whole spectacle. What a badass event!
Well, there you have it folks. Another night of cannabis infused jiu jitsu. We hope you enjoyed the recap and hope to see you next month.
Tune in next month for our Elite 8 Bracket on June 11th at 7pm!
Want to compete in High Rollerz? Register to compete in our July Open Tournament on 7/10! Open to all belts, men + women, no-gi & absolute. This is our only Open we have planned currently. Pull through if you think you want this smoke. See you then!
Director: Matt Staudt
Producers: Mike Imber + Matt Staudt
Host: ‘Big Lonn’ Howard + Matt Perino
Commentators: Stephan Bonnar + Kevin Crane
Referee: Darren Branch
Head of Production: Edwardo Vasquez
Lighting: Philip Franzone & Dylan Frank
Sound: Sal Rotolo
Head of Photography: Paul Adams
Art: Jud Lively + Michael Carroll
Crew: Jair Romero & Joaquin Rivera
Security: Elite Security Specialists, LLC
Produced & owned by BAM Productions