This past weekend at the 20th Annual U.S. Open Jiu-Jitsu Tournament the Soul Fighters made a big splash by the beach in Santa Cruz, California. The Soul Fighters brought 28 team members to battle for the gold medal and a chance to become a U.S. Open Champion. With over 1300 competitors and over 100 different academies represented on the mats, the team took home 22 medals:
- 13 Gold
- 3 Silver
- 6 Bronze
Most importantly our team took home the Third Place Adult Team Trophy. Some other big highlights from the tournament were Manuel Diaz (Head Instructor at Cal BJJ) taking home the gold medal and $1,000 for winning the Black Belt 208 lbs and under division. Co-Founder of the Soul Fighters, Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa, also took home the gold as well as $1,000 for winning the Black Belt 181.5 and under division. In addition, Formiga continued his dominance by winning the gold medal and the grand prize of $2,000 in the Black Belt Absolute Division beating the ADCC Champ and rising super star Yuri Simoes in the Final. Another great highlight from the tournament was Coach Aaron Zaballos (Head Instructor at Z MATA) took home the gold in his division as well as awarded his black belt from Formiga along side his coach Queixinho, Manuel Diaz, Marcus Antelante and Grand Master Alvaro Mansor (red and black belt).
In less than a year, the Soul Fighters have been making big waves in Northern California and continue to be a huge presence and dominate force on the mats as the Soul Fighter Family spreads throughout the Bay Area, Central Coast and rest of California. Great job team! We are so very proud!!!