People keep saying it and they’re right: the women always bring it. There is also something uniquely special about seeing powerful women perform with a broken foot like Cathryn Millares did on the way to a super fight victory via rear naked choke or fight through deep submission attempts like Sofia Cassella did on a deep arm bar in her eventual overtime victory against Mona Bailey. The Finishers 9 115-pound female champion, Katya Leontyeva out of Renzo Gracie NYC may have done both.
Katya could be seen sitting down between rounds seemingly in conversation with some of her teammates from the academy, but a jacket helped hide an ice bag that was resting on her foot. I found out later, she also had a severely bruised hand in the first 10 seconds of her second match with Christina Pinto from Silver Fox BJJ. In the final against EBI veteran of cartwheel kimura fame Danielle Kelly of Silver Fox BJJ, a Renzo Gracie affiliate, Kayta ate a deep arm bar in overtime to win the match by fastest escape and earn herself the $2,500 grand prize. Her first three matches ended via heel hook, kimura, and knee bar, an overall incredible day for the purple belt.
Three teenage girls impressed everyone at the show. Carlson Gracie’s 14-year old phenom Mona Bailey out of Texas was one, she earned a victory via rear naked choke in overtime of her super fight, then made it to the second round of the tournament before losing to Sofia Cassella via fastest escape in over time. Cassella ate a vicious, deep arm bar from Bailey. Bailey did some beautiful work on the day via the triangle, finishing her first round opponent via an arm bar out of the mounted triangle after having the position as time expired in her super fight that came earlier in the day. Cassella is another one of the incredible teenagers. She made the semi-final as an 18-year old as did Trinity Pun. Both of them train at Renzo Gracie NYC, so along with Kelly and Leontyeva, it as an all Renzo final. There were a lot of future super stars at this tournament, the depth of talent at this event was extremely impressive.
Zack Moore (@ZackMooreNFL) is a blue belt under Curtis Hembroff at 10th Planet Austin. He is the author of “Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions,” which details how Super Bowl championship rosters are constructed in the salary cap era, and is available on Amazon.