HIGH ROLLERZ 14 RECAP
HIGH ROLLERZ 14 RECAP
We know know if you’re reading this, you were most likely blazing it up on 4/20. But, do you know how much High Rollerz loves 4/20? So much that they celebrate it four f*ckin’ days early. And THEN we run it back on 4/20 proper.
That’s right, last weekend we celebrated our 420 Open Tournament Special from 10am all the way into the wee hours of the next morning. All throughout the day we had our open registration tournament going on and the entire High Rollerz HQ was packed with our amazing sponsors. Originals from San Diego had a VIP lounge set up for the fights, the Jardin girls supporting the best premium cannabis dispensary in the state, and you can’t forget Dr. Dabber’s Dab Bar, where many high rollers would be spotted in between their matches using the best glass and some great wax from Swank Tools. Guys, we even had a massage table with a massage therapist (you’re the man, Smokey) helping our fighters get right pre and post fight.
You can watch the whole event on our YouTube page where you’ll be carried through the action by UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar and his cohost, world renown black belt badass Andy Varela. We even had Rob Van Dam, Roy Nelson and Yair Rodriguez step in to call a fight. With sports broadcaster Alex Wendling interviewing numerous celebrities and fighters in the house, this entire event was lit. Read along for the play by play of the main card, or go view it on our YouTube for yourself.
FINALS FROM THE 420 OPEN
During the 420 Open that took place all day at High Rollerz HQ, each bracket consisted of an absolute weight class tournament style matches for each belt division. Where the big meet the mighty and subs are encouraged, this was a jam packed day. Each bracket ended up with two final fighters, which carried over into the main event. The first four matches of the evening were our white, blue, purple, and brown belt divisions’ finals match. Each victor was rewarded a trophy, a High Rollerz gold chain, some flower from Swank Genetics, and a $250 gift card to Jardin Premium Dispensary.
The white belts put on a great show with a few knee bar attempts and sudden-death overtime, the blues ended with an impressive kataga tami, the purple belt match with an inverted heel hook, and the brown ended up with a lightning fast submission within the first 25 seconds. Shout out to our 420 Open winners Michael Cavada, Jacobi Jones, Jason Patterson, and Mark Elliott. All of these matches displayed some incredible athletic ability. But the night is young, and we’re only getting started. From here, we take it over to our female round robin division, where a new female will carry the belt home as the champion in our intermediate division.
Zaira Cousins v Jonafina Torres
Zaira Cousins comes from Zenith Jiu Jitsu and I’ll just say, this gym runs DEEP at our High Rollerz tournaments. Cousins comes out with a great head clench and goes straight to a double leg takedown. In the scramble, Torres plays a good open guard but eventually is passed by Zaira with a d’arce attempt. Jonafina maintains a guard until Zaira finally sinks in her bicep and gets that d’arce nice and deep. With the tap, Zaira Cousins is going to the finals.
Maria Favela v Jonafina Torres
Let’s start off by saying Jonafina is a soldier. She was coming freshly off of that d’arce and before she even left the ring she told referee Darren Branch, “give me thirty seconds, I’m ready to go again.” What a badass! Unfortunately for her, Maria Favela also hails from Zenith Jiu Jitsu.
With a similar start, Favela grabs a one hand neck clench and goes for a takedown. Jonafina’s open guard gets them both back to a standup, but shortly later Favela pressures Torres against the wall and lands a clean single leg trip. The scrambles continue, but Favela seems to be the one attacking and Torres the one defending with a few counter-attacks. With just over thirty seconds left, Favela assumes the full mount position and while Torres continues to defend, she finally makes the fatal mistake of giving up an arm. Favela snatches it up to check if it bends backwards, and makes her way to the finals against her teammate.
Zaira Cousins v Maria Favela
(The Ol’ Drysdale Zenith Shakedown)
Zenith on Zenith on Zenith! Both Zaira and Maria come into the ring wearing Purple Zenith BJJ rashies, both with their hair up in a bun, you know, to make it extra easy for us to tell them apart. One thing we know at this point – Drysdale Zenith will be taking the belt home one way or another.
Another thing we know is our friend and UFC fighter Yair Rodriguez sat in to call this fight with Stephan Bonnar. Jump over to the YouTube channel to check it out.
Maria and Zaira kick it off at a good pace. They eventually make their way to the cage by the announcer booth and Zaira jumps into a guillotine. Favella’s arm is in so there’s a chance she can escape, but when the two fell to the ground, Zaira sank the choke in even tighter and got the tap. A brief rivalry between teammates, and at the end a friendly middle finger is exchanged. That’s not a way to treat the NEW High Rollerz Intermediate Champion, Maria!
A great match between teammates and friends; congratulations to the champ Zaira Cousins and to Drysdale for another victory in the High Rollerz books.
Julian Vanderlinded v Nathan Hagberg
Nathan Hagberg has been seen on the High Rollerz mats before and while this is Julian Vanderlinden’s first, he has been seen on mats around the world, including Abu Dhabi’s Grand Slam Competition. We would know that Nathan Hagberg fights out of AZ Combat Sports, but it seems like he forgot his rashguard at the crib.
This match opened up with a lot of handfighting as the two fighters jockey for position. Vanderlinden goes in for a heel hook and from there establishes back control. Hagberg defends for as long as he can but eventually Vanderlinden gets the tap. He’s moving on to the finals.
David Zennario v Michael Medrano
This is another one of those Big v Mighty scenarios. David Zennario, AKA “Super Dave” comes weighing in at a buck fourty-five and Michael Medrano walks into the cage, yoked to the teeth, and kind of resembles Yoel Romero’s stunt double. The match takes off pretty quickly and Medrano puts on a lot of pressure. Super Dave however, has an amazing open guard that proves to be virtually impossible to pass. They go the distance with some impressive jiu jitsu from both competitors. Super Dave plays his super guard, and the match goes to overtime.
David takes Medrano’s back first in overtime, but Medrano was able to escape and stand up; they run the clock. Medrano starts on Zennario’s back, and when finally given the opportunity to start in a position past guard, he sinks in a powerful RNC and seals his way to the finals against Julian Vanderlinden!
BLACK BELT FINALS
Julian Vanderlinden v Michael Medrano
While Vanderlinden comes out with a height advantage, Medrano comes out with his shirt off and his abs have abs..so he has that advantage. And UFC Hall of Famer Roy Nelson is guest calling these fights..so WE have that advantage!
Julian Vanderlinden comes out of Gracie Barra and Michael Medrano from Aesthetic Temple. Vanderlinden eventually gets a takedown against the cage and from there finds a deep d’arce. A moment later and Julian gets the tap. Julian Vanderlinden is the black belt winner of the High Rollerz 420 Open and is a straight up badass! He gets a trophy, some cash to spend at Jardin Dispensary, and some fresh flower handed over from Swank Tools. Congrats, my dude.
TIKI AQUINO v BULLETPROOF TROOP
Sports broadcaster Alex Wendling was in the middle of interviewing AJ Agazarm before his bout with Kevin Crane when all of a sudden the High Rollerz headquarters starts echoing with the sounds of a traditional Maori haka blasting from the ring entrance. Tiki Aquino is pacing back and forth with his tongue and eyes blasting out of his face, looking intimidating as hell, and yelling like a madman. Sorry Alex, cut the interview short. If it wasn’t known before then, it is now clearly known, Tiki Aquino is in the f*cking ZONE.
Bulletproof Troop walks his way into the ring shortly after, looking confident as hell with his iconic chain necklace and golden hand grenade on it. This dude looks like a boss out of Street Fighter. He makes his way to the center of the ring, throws one fist in the air and poses like a badass. He and Tiki square up, Darren Branch standing by to step in (good luck with that, buddeh), and this fight looks like it’s going to get started before the round begins. Pro Wrestler RVD steps in with Stephan Bonnar to commentate on the action!
Right out the gate, Bulletproof Troop gets Tiki against the cage. He may be a purple belt in catch wrestling, but his pressure is very evident in this match. Troop gets Tiki to the ground, but all the while Tiki stays calm and collected like a pro. His guard game is a good match against Troop’s top pressure, but eventually he flattens Tiki out on his stomach. With Tiki’s primal instinct, he’s able to thrash out of the position, and we find these two beasts back on their feet. The crowd goes absolutely wild.
Troop finds his way on top again and Tiki keeps playing a sharp ground game, but it just seems that Troop overpowers the situation. Troop goes for his signature move, a double wrist lock (which is a fancy name for kimura!), but Tiki is able to escape once again. The match goes the distance, and we go to overtime with Troop taking the back first.
This is where things turn around. Tiki is able to escape the grip and he finds his way into Troops closed guard. Then, from there, he is able to get a back take on Troop! He isn’t able to finish a sub within the minute, and the two switch places, only to come to stalemate again. We go to sudden death, and within a few moments, Troop goes in for a takedown. Tiki sprawls, but we see that catch wrestling in action where Bulletproof Troop gets an impressive reversal and takes the point for the W! What an epic match!
RYDER NEWMAN v MARTIN SANO
Ryder Newman comes out reppin’ a fresh Swank Tools rashie and fighting out of Xtreme Couture, while UFC fighter Martin Sano out of Nick Diaz Academy, comes in rocking a Khalifa Kush rashguard. We know these guys aren’t messing around because they both have impressive records in MMA and for a good while, these two are playing their standup game. Eventually, Ryder Newman takes advantage of the cage and gets a takedown. They get back to their feet and reset in the middle.
Ryder pulls off another beautiful duck-under and gets a second takedown, but Sano recovers again quickly. But we start to see a pattern when Ryder goes for yet another snappy double leg and gets yet another successful takedown. They ground wrestle for a while but the timer runs out. We’re going to overtime.
Sano takes Ryder’s back first but can’t get the tap. The tables turn, and once again no submission was available. Sudden death, first takedown wins. And with the pattern we saw throughout the match, Ryder Newman lands the fourth takedown of the fight and gets the win!
NIKLAS STOLZE v ALBERT MORALES
UFC Welterweight comes out of the smoke and into the ring fighting out of Syndicate MMA with a very familiar face in his coaches corner – Donald f*cking Cerrone. He finds himself up against the VIBES backed fighter Albert Morales who we have seen put on numerous amazing fights in the High Rollerz cage, and also in the UFC octagon. One thing for sure, is this is going to be a badass match.
The two contenders find themselves in some great scrambles but both seem very calm and collected and keep on getting back to their feet. Morales is persistent with his takedown attempts and submission attacks but Stolze doesn’t flinch to any of it. With a minute and a half left in the match we see a solid standing guillotine attempt from Albert Morales but once again, Stolze finds his way out of it. At the end of the match, Morales jumps for a flying triangle but accidentally gives his back in the exchange. With 14 seconds left, Stolze doesn’t have enough time to finish. We’re going to overtime, baby – and Stolze is taking the back first.
In the first overtime, Morales is able to rotate and get out of the back take. The timer runs out the fighters switch position with Morales on Stolze’s back. Same situation, the two stand up and kill the time. But that leads us to the best sudden-death of the night! The two go back and forth between submission attempts and takedown attempts, and it’s a very even match. The sudden death timer expires, and it goes to referee decision. After an impressive match from both contenders, Albert Morales gets his hand raised in the end. Our High Rollerz vet takes another W home to his school.
JORDAN WIRTH v JAVIER GARCIA
We’ve seen both of these fighters in past High Rollerz. Each is known for their past badassery, so we expect nothing less when either Jordan Wirth or Javier Garcia enter the cage.
Jordan Wirth scoots to the middle trying to get Javier into his leggie danger zone, but Javier finds his way past and gets into side control. But with 10th Planet on the mats, you’ve got to watch that buggie choke from here! And sure enough, Jordan goes for the buggie and almost gets it but Javier does a great job defending. The match stays on the ground for several minutes in side and half control, neither fighter able to establish a dominating position, but Javier maintains on top while Jordan maneuvers his sneaky bottom game. The two continue going back and forth, and we have ourselves a very evenly fought match. The timer goes off, and we’re heading into overtime. Even there, we find ourselves in a stalemate. How about sudden death? Are we going to conclusion there? The answer is…no! These mofos are evenly matched! We go to ref’s decision and Jordan Wirth gets his hand raised.
Rumors have it these two are trying to run it back without a timer..let’s f*cking go.
FEMALE SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP
GILLIAN ROBERTSON v CYNTHIA CALVILLO
Both Calvillo and Robertson weigh in at 125 lbs and are both UFC fighters looking at a 10-minute match for the female super championship belt. Gillian currently is the champ, but Calvillo’s comin’ in hot for that belt.
Gillian starts her game off by playing guard in the center of the ring. She does a great job defending but Calvillo eventually finds her way to side control. The two scramble and continue to play Gillian’s open and half guard game. Five minutes in and we’re in Gillian’s closed guard. The back and forth between closed, open, and half continue until the ten minutes are up. The third match in a row to go the distance, but still very entertaining high level jiu jitsu to watch! Props to both opponents.
Sure enough, both overtimes go the distance and we find ourselves in another sudden death round. Thirty seconds in Gillian is defending a takedown, Cynthia Calvillo jumps onto Gillian’s back to get the points, the win, AND the Female Super Championship belt. Well deserved for the new champ, Cynthia Calvillo!
KEVIN “REMEMBER THE NAME CRANE v “THE FLORIDA BOY” AJ AGAZARM
Last stop – the hype train has arrived at the main event of the evening. We’ve got AJ Agazarm repping Herbarium stepping into the cage first followed by Game Up Nutrition’s own Kevin “Remember the Name” Crane and this guy just oozes confidence. The entire day in the podcast room Kevin and AJ have been relaxing getting prepared for the fight, but barely exchanged a word. The smoke was thick in the room between these two, because they both knew that this moment would come.
What’s something you would never expect a jiu jitsu player to do in a match? Lay flat on their back, like they’re in a hammock drinkin’ out of a coconut on a f*ckin beach somewhere? Yeah, well that’s what Kevin Crane does. And don’t you forget it.
AJ, flabbergasted, approaches this prone Crane and jumps around him like a gazelle, trying to figure out the best way to approach this situation. AJ takes full mount (smart choice), but Kevin pushes him off and flips the situation to his favor with a heel hook (holy shit!). The two stand up, knuck it up, and get back to it. Kevin Crane pulls guard (calmly, mind you). AJ was able to sniff out the attacks, break guard, and get back to his feet. AJ gets a nice single leg attempt, but Kevin just turns it into a head and arm guillotine. But with as many attacks as Crane pulls, we learn one thing: AJ Agazarm is tough as shit! He’s staying just as persistent with his aggression towards Crane, but Crane remains as cool as cucumber.
The two get back to their feet and get into some hand fighting and Crane pulls a flying omoplata attempt but was unable to land it. With Crane on the ground and AJ trying to pass, he does a cartwheel pass to get to the other side of Kevin but winds up in a NASTY armbar situation. At this point, I personally thought it was over and had an ambulance on speed-dial, but AJ’s elbow must be made out of adamantium or some thing because this mofo won’t tap if his life depended on it.
But alas, AJ doesn’t tap and escapes with a mangled arm. Once again, the two dab it up because that was impressive. This whole match is!
The timer runs out and we go to our two rounds of over time, where neither opponent is able to submit each other. Sudden death begins and once again – stalemate. So this leaves it up to referee Darren Branch’s decision. And the winner is…
KEVIN “REMEMBER THE NAME” CRANE!
Crane remains the champion, AJ put on one hell of a fight, and we are graced with another amazing match up in the High Rollerz cage.
As another 4/20 passes, we want to thank all of those who showed up to the High Rollerz Headquarters for our special event this month, especially those who competed. If you are looking to compete in our next Open, we will be opening our books again for our July tournament. Either way we will see you next month, May 14th, for our Celebrity Open! Until then, high rollers!