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By Tom Bell

Braulio Estima is delighted with the success of the first British Open to be held at the Coventry SkyDome Arena and has declared everything about the new venue as being perfect for future events.

Over 1400 athletes registered to compete at the event from academies all over the world and there was a positive buzz about the new venue, which can hold up to 3000 at maximum capacity. Competitors and spectators could enjoy a full view of all eight mats inside the venue, whilst perusing the food and merchandise stalls inside the venue which encircled the podium, which impressively stood looming above the bullpen and competition area for all in the arena to see.

The multiple world champion, Estima, spoke exclusively with Jiu Jitsu Style as proceedings came to a close and offered his thoughts on the sixth British Open, moments after the black belt absolute final between Roger Gracie black belt Antonio ‘Juniao’ Junior and Lucio Lagarto Rodrigues black belt, ‘Mad’ Jack Magee.

“The event was amazing,” says Estima. “It’s another big step for the jiu jitsu here in the UK and I’m so glad that every year we come and we try to push the boundaries. We just showed today a different level of tournament. We had a good level, organisation, everything on time, a great new venue and we’re going to keep improving. We had a lot of great matches, a lot of black belts like the absolute final just now with Juniao and Jack Magee – it was an amazing fight. There were lots of submission attempts and that’s what you need to see.”

Magee took Juniao the full ten minutes in the final, ultimately losing by points, with Juniao claiming the last gold and last victory of the two day event.


Neil Simkin, the head coach of the Junior UK BJJ Elite Squad, took up his usual residency on the microphone, but credit must go to him for much of the juvenile talent on show this weekend. At one point, the number one and number three ranked junior competitors in the world met on the mats, both proudly wearing the elite squad patches on their gis. Simkin’s work has seen junior BJJ in the UK soar to new heights and looks set to continue with the youth squad now working alongside BJJ247 to help fund the stars of tomorrow.

“Year by year, the level of jiu jitsu here has been improving,” states Estima. “You see some of the white belts, you see some of the kids right up to the black belts that it’s very clear. I’m very happy that somehow I am helping to build up the evolution of jiu jitsu here in the UK.

“You look at the kids, even as a white belt I couldn’t do some of the things I saw today by them. It shows this is the perfect sign that what we are doing is right. Five years from now, how big are we going to be? How strong is UK jiu jitsu going to be? It’s such a small place but it has so much passion. You can see it in everyone involved, everyone is trying to push the sport in the best way and it shows in the community. This is our six year hosting the British Open and we have a very positive vibe and everyone feels at home wanting to support this because it is one of the triggers that makes the evolution of jiu jitsu happen even faster.

The event largely improved for both the spectator and competitor in the new venue, with more stalls, a more impressive podium and greater seating options available, which enabled the atmosphere of the event to really be captured and improved upon from the previous open-hall NEC event of 2014, bringing a greater feel of prestige to the competition.

“Yes, we were aiming for more of an event that a competition,” explains Estima. “We started very small in the Cox Moor Leisure Centre, we built up and we can only run after you start to walk. So, we went from one day to two days, we then moved to the BodyPower Expo to get a bigger, better dimension for the event but then we kind of got stuck with that event – we wanted something special, just for us and that’s what we got here in Coventry.

“We got this venue, it was a big step for us in terms of investment but it is all worth it for the amount of feedback we have got from the athletes. The size of this place is perfect, the lay out is perfect, it’s been so good for us that we can develop and deliver what a pro athlete deserves in terms of infrastructure and quality of the set up. It’s a big step and we’re always going to try and improve more and more. The faster we run, the more distance we cover.”


Estima now has his sights set on getting back on the competition mats himself, flying out to the UAE less than twenty four hours after the British Open had finished. The aim now is to make it to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for when the ADCC comes to town, bringing some of the most decorated grapplers on the planet together to compete.

“Well, I’m going to Abu Dhabi to get treatment on my shoulder – that’s why I pulled out of the World Pro and my hope by doing that is to be able to get myself on track to fight the ADCC in August,” says Brualio. “It’s very much up in the air right now because of the bad injury, I have three tears on my ligaments at the top, the front and the back and if this treatment goes well I’ll be carrying on fighting. Shoulder first, a seminar too in California and Asia, and back to the UK.”

The event is expected to stream online and confirmed super fights include Andre Galvao vs Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu, UFC Hall of Famer Matt Huges vs Renzo Gracie and a clash of legends in Mario Sperry vs Ricardo Liborio on top of the already stacked divisions, including names such as the Dean Lister, Romulo Barral, former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, Kron Gracie and many more, leaving fans looking forward to August 28th.

Issue 26 with cover star Roger Gracie is available NOW! Get your sub from as little as £18 HERE.


May 20, 2015 — Jiu Jitsu Style