gene cook jr. podium

We had a great time with family and friends at the 2015 IBJJF Vegas Open. The event was held at the Las Vegas Sports Center across the street from the airport. The event ran very smooth and the venue was very accessible to spectators.

I had originally signed up as M5 Purple Medium Heavy but unfortunately there were no competitors in my division so I made a decision to move down to M4 and move up to Heavy Weight. I was able to have two opponents in this division. I really like the bracket when there are three competitors because it makes it real simple. The athlete that wins two matches wins the bracket. Since I had a bye I was able to see both of my opponents compete with each other and make some mental notes.

My first match was against James Headen of Zenith BJJ Las Vegas. He won the Pan Ams in 2015 as a Blue Belt and was recently promoted to Purple Belt. I knew he was going to be tough because of his experience. Once we we established grips he tried to take me down. I actually ended up landing on top of him in half guard and was able to stay in top half guard until I saw the opportunity to Americana his left arm.

Gene Cook Jr.

My second match was with Gary Love of Brazilian Top Team Long Beach.  I watched him pass guard a couple of times in his first match so I knew I had better be first to act. I decided to pull guard and wait for my opportunity to make my move. Unfortunately he was physically stronger than I was. Every time I got control of his collar or sleeve he would break my grips and maintain his posture. With less than 30 seconds to go the score was 0-0 and so I knew I had to do something to secure the win. I saw and opportunity to armbar him from guard and so I went for it. I had the arm deep and was cranking it pretty hard.

GaryLove_Gene_Cook_armbar gene_cookBJJ

GaryLove_armbar2 GaryLove_armbar3


I was able to reach out and grab his leg for the sweep but just as he was falling the buzzer went off! The ref gave me the match by advantage due to the armbar.

Gene Cook jr

Now it was on to the Open Class Division. Unfortunately I only had one competitor. His name was Kevin Rosenthal of Paul Silva BJJ in San Diego.  I had a good 50 lbs on him but that’s why they call it the Open Class right? He proved to be a formidable opponent and almost wrist locked me about one minute into the match. I ended up sweeping him from closed guard for 2 points. When I stood up to pass his guard he nearly swept me but I came up on top.


There was a lot of back and forth action in this match but in the end I prevailed winning the match 9-0.


It was great day for myself and the Carlson Gracie Team as a whole. Now it is time to focus on the American Nationals on July 10th. See you there!