Jiu-jitsu, one of the fastest growing sports in the world, has sparked a wave of new federations to rise and offer prestige, incentives, and prize money to their athletes
The United Arab Emirates Jiu-jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) one of the biggest organizers for the sport kicked off their Grand Slam Series at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Tokyo, Japan last 15 July. Carrying the Philippine flag were Annie Ramirez of John Baylon Clube de Jiu-jitsu and Eros Vincent Baluyot of Atos.
Two-time World Champion Eros Baluyot has proven yet again he belongs with the elite with his gold medal victory.
Baluyot fought and bested three people to reach the top of the Light Featherweight brown belt division and a cash prize of $1,200.
The 24 year-old phenom won his first two fights via points but was able to win his final match via a choke from the back against Paulo Yaginuma from Brazil. Baluyot earlier won a gold medal in the Abu Dhabi Edition of the Grand Slam earlier this year.
Annie Ramirez has been an imposing figure in the grappling scene since she was in her collegiate days.
A former UAAP Judo MVP, the former Growling Tiger managed to come home with the Silver medal.
The 26-year old Bicol-native was able to train earlier this year in California in the headquarters of one of the most successful and competitive teams in the world, Checkmat.
She managed to squeak out her semifinals match with a win via an advantage only to lose to a hometown hero in the finals via advantage.
Ramirez credits her success to her training camp in the US which helped her level up even more as she was able to spar with the likes of multiple-time World Champion Michelle Nicolini, who constantly pushed her throughout that period.
“Sobrang okay kasi nakakaroll ko lahat ng women’s from white to black at mostly pa ay professional bjj athletes like Michele Nicolini etc. Marami ako natutunan nung nag training ako doon,” she said.
Ramirez’ next stint will be to represent flag and country in the 2nd edition of the Asian Ju-jitsu Championships in Hanoi, Vietnam this coming August.