HIGH ROLLERZ 13 RECAP
HIGH ROLLERZ 13 RECAP
Ahh, you can smell the season change in the air. But if you were within a square mile of the High Rollerz HQ on the night of March 19th, you’d be smellin’ something else.
..THIS SMOKE, FOOL!
High Rollerz 13 hit hard last weekend with 8 teams of 3 (each consisting of 2 black belts and 1 brown belt except for one team of last minute heroes) who fought in elimination matches to the finals. The style resembled quintet style rules (with 3 fighters instead of 5), where when one opponent is submitted or goes to decision, the victor remains in the cage and is matched up against the next opponent from the other team. First team with all 3 contenders defeated is eliminated from the tournament. If you’re curious about our official rules, you can check out our official ruleset here.
You can read along for a play-by-play, 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 our very own, the incredible Jessica Eye!
1: Goleta Locs v Southshore
Right out the gate, this event started out blazing. Rhenan Henrique, a black belt from team Goleta Locs matched up against Ricky Rozay from team Southshore. And can we just say, Roszay stepped up as a blue belt to compete in this competition. The cajones on this man – much respect. But within two minutes of the match, Henrique quickly showed why he is a black belt. After a quick guard pull to a heel hook, Rozay was trapped, and Henrique got the tap. This puts him up against team Southshore’s next opponent, Fernando Gonzales.
Fernando Gonzales is a veteran in combat, and also a becoming a vet on the mats at a purple belt. He steps in and immediately starts to engage with Henrique and attempts a guard pull after some cage work. But this puts him in danger! Because as we see on display early in the evening, Rhenan Henrique knows a thing or two about leg attacks. He gets the second tap of the evening with a straight ankle (after numerous heel attacks from both fighters). Now we see Henrique match up against team Southshore’s Joseph Goodman.
Goodman rolls in with some immediate leg attacks of his own. Rhenan returns fire with his own heel hook and knee bar attempts and Goodman spins out of everything like a freakin’ ninja, ending up on top and in control. They eventually stand up, but shortly after Rhenan sits down to pull guard. I don’t blame him, the dude’s tired. He just fought off two other guys before this beast. After a few more leg lock attempts, they stand up, work the cage, and after Goodman sprawls for a takedown, they exhaust the timer and Goodman gets the first hand raised for team Southshore of the evening!
As brief and triumphant a victory as it was, shortly after Joe Tussing came into the cage for team Goleta Locs and cleaned up with a quick guillotine. Team Goleta Locs makes it through the first round of elimination!
2: Hooligans v Ronin Jiu Jitsu
Rafael Domingos is the owner of Ronin Jiu Jitsu, and put a team together from his school. We’ve seen his school’s fighters on the mats before and they put on an impressive performance each time.
Team Hooligan’s first fighter on the mats is Jose Munoz, who’s up against Ronin’s Henrique Fernandes. Both of them displayed great defense in what came up to be mostly a stalemate. Both exchanged takedown attempts, guard positions, and neither could get the tap. Munoz from team Hooligan gets the decision after having a little more gas in his tank than Fernandes.
He’s up against Ronin’s Jean Pereira next. And we’ve seen Pereira’s skill before at High Rollerz 11 up against Jordan Wirth. He comes out and immediately puts the pressure onto Munoz against the cage and goes for a back take against the cage but shortly after goes to the ground and attempts a guillotine and then a triangle in a quick series of attacks. Munoz defends with a double underhook and continues to lay pressure onto Jean Pereira. Pereira sinks in a De La Riva guard but Jose Munoz does some great defense of his own and sinks in a gnarly heel hook attempt. They both gator roll back to the middle and Pereira explodes out with almost a backflip into top head control. The crowd goes wild, but Pereira’s not done. He traps Munoz’s leg and goes for a head and arm choke to quickly receive a tap.
Pereira finds himself up against Hooligan’s Issa Able next, and Issa comes out with some serious pressure. Jean is trying to play guard but Able continues the knee slices and pass attempts until they both stand again. As soon as they do, Issa goes for a leg take, finds himself playing guard, and quickly gets both his legs over Pereira’s head for a deep armbar. Pereira taps, and Issa finds his way to the final opponent from Ronin’s trio, Matheus Guada.
The round starts as each opponent sizes one another up. Things get heated with a few leg sweeps (or kicks, we’ll let you decide) but eventually the fight goes to the ground. Matheus plays a beautiful butterfly guard, but Issa is able to pass right before the round ends. As a draw, the match is settled with overtime.
In overtime, Issa starts on Guada’s back and gets a neck crank in :34 seconds. Guada attempts to beat that time in his round of overtime and really goes for it with some spinning sh*t (a flying armbar for those technical blokes) but doesn’t get the tap before the time surpasses the :34 mark.
Team Hooligans moves on to the next round and team Ronin is out!
3: 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu v Zenith Jiu Jitsu
First off let’s start by saying team Zenith was in the HOUSE with about thirty members from their gym in the from seats at our event. When their team were called to the cage, they blew the roof off with next level hype. That’s what we’re talking about.
There were multiple 10th Planet teams competing at this event out of different states, but the one that donned the team moniker is the 10th Planet out of Las Vegas. And the words “Zenith Jiu Jitsu” and “Robert Drysdale” carry their own weight at any jiu jitsu competition. So everyone knew this match would be a banger. First up for 10p is Luis Navarro and for team Zenith is Nick Hartmann.
Immediately the action takes off with Navarro attempting to take down Hartman against the wall, but Hartman fends him off with a guillotine. Navarro remains persistent against the cage and eventually gets both of Nick’s legs and slams him onto the mat. He then continues to keep Nick’s head against the cage to keep him from maneuvering on his back, but Nick eventually swings his leg up for a triangle and then a gogoplata attempt. Luis defends, but Nick eventually gets a kimura hold from the bottom and uses it to sweep to the top! He maintains the grip to completion with a tap from Luis Navarro. A great match! Nick finds himself against Mike Lady.
Mike Lady came in sparing no time with some immediate takedown attempts. Hartman did his signature guillotine attacks from the takedowns, but Lady was successful in taking the fight to the ground. Mike stayed on Nick’s back until he set up a north-south choke, but then went to a STRONG guillotine from the top. And with that, he gets the tap at the 3:25 marker, with just over a minute in a half into the match.
Drew Palomo steps in for team Zenith and this dude’s looking strong as hell. Some hand fighting ensues and Palomo takes Mike down with an overhook grip and pulls guard. They don’t stay there for long because Palomo quickly sets up an inverted shoulder lock from that butterfly guard, and quickly receives the tap. This was one of those moments where if you blink you might miss it. Drew Palomo goes on to fight 10th Planet’s final fighter Jordan Wirth. Rumor has it, he wears no gi.
A quick start to to Drew Palomo v Jordan Wirth as Ayala springs into guard with a guillotine attempt that takes the fight the ground. The guillotine looks tight but Jordan manages to survive! Palomo switches up to a triangle attempt, and from there Jordan displays his insane flexibility and escapes to be on top and unleashes some attacks of his own. After a buggy choke attempt gone gogoplata from Wirth’s insane guard, Palomo snaps into a knee bar attempt. Clearly a great matchup between athleticism and flexibility on display here. The time eventually runs out after five minutes of intensity, and Jordan gets his hand raised by the ref.
Wirth is immediately put up against another opponent with Morris Ayala. It goes quick – Jordan goes for a imanari but quickly gets stuffed, passed, and subbed with a hard kimura. Morris Ayala takes Zenith to the semi-finals.
4: Stoner Bros v Honebadger
Stoner Bros comes out the gate with Miguel Enrique up first against team Honeybadger’s Alika Anderman. Alika gets the initial takedown against the cage on Enrique. Anderman uses the cage to his advantage and maintains control for a while. Enrique maintained a nice half guard and brought the match back up their feet. Alika was able to keep control against the cage standing as well, and brought it back down to the ground. Once again Enrique maintains half guard again and begins to attack a kimura. Alika maintains control and wins by decision. Up next, Tiki Aquino.
Tiki comes out guns a blazin’ with some impressive footwork and then a double leg shoot. He gets the back, runs Anderman against the cage and uses the momentum for a foot sweep take down and goes in for a flurry of attacks. This guy is sylistically wild, and his movements are unpredictable. Tiki continued to sap Alika’s energy with his knee on belly position and making his opponent carry his weight. After a full round of top pressure, Tiki Aquino gets his hand raised to go against Hosea Kim next from team Honeybadger.
Hosea Kim comes out looking strong but Tiki Aquino still has some gas in the tank. These two go back and forth with for the first four minutes and Kim finally establishes a back control. But not for long! Ending the round with an armbar attempt, Hosea Kim gets his hand raised after an action packed five minutes.
Next up, Chepe Machinegun comes in for team Stoner Bros to see what Kim has left. And immediately, he takes Kim down and sinks an armbar. From there, Tim Silva comes in for team Honeybadger.
Chepe comes out moving like an absolute animal with what looked like some wrestling background. Silva gets pressed up against the cage but takes Chepe down with a judo throw. The energy output on this match was nuts! Both are essentially coming in fresh at 100% so both are exchanging takedowns, recoveries, and explosive action. Neither can get the tap in the five minute round, and we see it go to overtime!
In overtime, Chepe quickly gets an armbar within 10 seconds of his overtime on the back. Silva has to respond with equal speed or team Honeybadger is out of the tournament. It wasn’t an easy time to beat, and Chepe ended up getting the W for team Stoner Bros.
5: Roman Mori v Luke Sanchez
For the #1 Contender in Purple
Roman Mori was last seen at High Rollerz 9 War Games, where veterans from separate branches matched against one another, and now he’s enlisted again in the High Rollerz ranks to fight for the #1 purple belt contender against Luke Sanchez.
After some fighting for double underhooks, Sanchez goes for a great sweep but Mori quickly recovers. Mori makes his way to top mount, eventually takes Sanchez’ back, and sinks in a deep RNC. Sanchez taps, and Roman Mori is the new #1 purple belt contender here at High Rollerz.
6: Goleta Locs v Hooligans
Both teams were able to submit their previous opponents with one completely fresh fighter on their teams, so both brought them out first. Hooligans’ Willie Audifre went up against Goleta Locs’ Joey Lester. Audifre takes the top quickly, moves to north-south, and then finds himself in full mount on top of Lester. Audifre makes a quick back take and sinks an RNC on Lester for the tap.
Next up for Goleta Locs, the guy that smiles a lot while he tries to choke people unconscious: Rhenan Henrique.
After some movement, Rhenan goes in for a quick sweep against Audifre and while successful, Willie frees himself and stands back up. Some handfighting ensues, Audifre shoots for a single and Rhenan ends up getting his back. While Audifre had some great attacks of his own (ending the match in a triangle as well..advantage!), it wasn’t enough to get his hand raised. Rhenan moves forward and is up against Issa Able. Let’s see if Issa Able to pull this off..
Rhenan Henrique and Issa Able start off with some neck wrestling, and Issa goes to pull guard. They both go through a series of leg attacks and stand it back up. Seems to be a pretty even match up. Issa continues to put the pressure onto Rhenan and it starts to show. As our announcer Stephan Bonnar says, “Rhenan put his back against the cage, put his arms out like Jesus..and got double legged. He was kind of asking for it.”
Issa then takes top control and switches from numerous positions. Henrique is clearly gassed, and Issa conserves his energy for the next match. Time expires and Issa gets his hand raised.
Issa is up against a fresh Joe Tussing, who finds himself in Issa’s guard pretty quick into the match. Issa remains aggressive with a triangle attempt that Joe barely gets out of and takes Issa’s back. After a scramble, Tussing is once again in Issa’s guard and gets quickly armbarred. Another one of those blink of an eye moments. Great work by Issa Able, moving the Hooligans to the finals!
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7: Zenith v Stoner Bros
The Tale of Nick Hartman
Alright guys, it doesn’t get much more epic than the sh*t you’re about to hear right now. I try and keep this narrative with no spoilers, but if you’ve made it this far, you clearly know what’s about to go down.
Team Zenith is up against team Stoner Bros. Nick Hartman comes out for Zenith and he’s towering over the cage like Stefan Struve, but he’s looking determined and ready to rip. Stoner Bros brings out ol’ Chepe Machinegun as their starter. As we saw in Chepe’s first match, he’s got some skill with his takedowns. So what does Nick think to do? Sits down to bypass that skill, but immediately lifts Chepe over into a beautiful sweep to sidecontrol. Nick manages a few controlling positions but eventually the two reset in the middle and once again, Nick sits down. Some may knock it, but it’s a very intelligent strategy and hey, this is competitive jiu jitsu, baby. Nick plays the ground game and finds a straight ankle on Chepe Machinegun for the tap.
Nick Hartman – 1
Stoner Bros – 0
Nick Hartman is now up against the wild Tiki Aquino who comes out looking wild as hell. I don’t know what this guy is smokin’, but I want some. Nick plays like he’s in for the long haul and sits on his butt again. Tiki then proceeds to circle Nick like some sort of basilisk with wide eyes stalking its prey. He eventually enters Nick’s guard with some praying mantis style walking, and Nick smiles and shrugs it off. The pressure is on from Tiki, and then he appears to almost break out into a freaking haka above Nick. This is some seriously wild sh*t. They then continue to scramble back and forth throughout the match until it ends with an excellent back attack by Nick to which Tiki barely escaped in the last seven seconds. The round ends, and Nick Hartman gets his hand raised to move ahead. A brilliant fight fought by Tiki Aquino, but Nick Hartman has other plans tonight.
Nick Hartman – 2
Stoner Bros – 0
It’s Nick Hartman against Miguel Enrique, but Hartman see’s the finish line in the distance at this point. He plays guard again, makes his way to half and starts attacking a kimura. Miguel defends and even goes for a great reversal RNC but Nick explodes out of it. The two end up against the cage and Nick keeps top pressure. He eventually falls back into a leg lock, and Miguel tries to return the attack. Nick remains the aggressor throughout the fight and the match goes the distance to get his hand raised by decision. He makes it through an entire team like an absolute LEGEND and this story will go down in High Rollerz history!
Womens Brown Belt #1 Contender Bout
8: Jennifer Perez v Maira Mazar
The winner of this match finds themselves in the #1 contender position in High Rollerz ladies nogi brown belt division. Jennifer Perez matches up against Maira Mazar in a lot of neck wrestling in the middle of the cage. Maira maintains decent control of the center of the ring but Jennifer continues to put on the pressure. Eventually, Maira gets a take down into Perez’ guard. The two tussle through multiple pass attempts throughout the match but neither could find stable ground for a submission. We move into overtime and even there we can’t find a winner! We move into sudden death, where whoever scores first is the winner, and Maira goes in for a single leg takedown against the cage. Maira Mazar is High Rollerz new #1 contender for the women’s nogi brown belt strap. She will be up against Valerie Wong in an upcoming event!
9: Hooligans v Zenith
It all comes down to this. Team Hooligans is up against team Zenith Jiu Jitsu, and they both have displayed amazing skills tonight. Let’s see who takes the big W tonight.
Up first, legend of the night Nick Hartman against Issa Able. A quick turn around from Nick’s grand slam, and he goes straight to his guard game again. Issa passes and sinks a DEEP heel hook, but this guy is apparently not human. However, whatever he is, you can tell he still does get exhausted after a while, and it starts to show. Issa Able’s pressure is taking it’s toll on Hartman. Shortly after, Issa gets in a guillotine from full mount and Nick Hartman finally falls. Rest easy bro, you did great today.
Issa Able v Drew Paloma, let’s go.
Drew comes out like a bat out of hell. He pushes Issa against the cage and uses it to take him down and after a scramble goes for a quick katagatami and gets the tap. Palomo goes no slo mo and he’s able to move to the next opponent, Jose Munoz.
Munoz comes out with some fire as well. We are fighting in the finals, after all. Palomo plays his guard a bit and even throws a few jumping guillotines out, but you can see that he’s getting burned out no his second opponent as well. Munoz uses his weight to keep the pressure on Drew, but even with that Palomo ends the round with getting Munoz’ back for some extra advantage and gets his hand raised at the end of the match! Hot damn we’re going tit for tat here!
Drew Palomo clashes up against Willie Audifre, and Audifre comes out knowing Palomo is tired. He jumps into a full mount position pretty quickly and capitalizes on Drews exhaustion. But still, Drew’s got some fight left in him yet. He pulls off an amazing sweep and comes out on top of Audifre. Some back and forth, but eventually the bell rings and they go the distance. While Drew had some explosions in that match, Audifre took the hand raise and we move to the final opponents of the finals.
Morris Ayala comes out of Zenith’s corner and just starts PRESSING. He goes in for a take down and quickly wraps up the match with a head and arm choke against Willie Audifre. Zenith takes the championship, and the entire team from Zenith goes absolutely bonkers.
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.
Don’t forget to register to compete in our 420 Open on 4/16 the day of HR14: 420 Special! Open to all belts, men + women, no-gi & absolute. This is our only Open we have planned currently and our first since August of last year. Come through and celebrate the holidays the best way possible. See you then!
Director: Matt Staudt
Producers: Mike Imber + Matt Staudt
Host: ‘Big Lonn’ Howard + Matt Perino
Commentators: Stephan Bonnar + Jessica ‘Evil’ Eye
Referee: Darren Branch
Head of Production: Edwardo Vasquez
Lighting: Philip Franzone & Dylan Frank
Sound: Sal Rotolo
Photography: Paul Adams
Art: Jud Lively + Michael Carroll
Crew: Jair Romero & Joaquin Rivera
Security: Elite Security Specialists, LLC
Produced & owned by BAM Productions