Marianas Open to draw world champions

RETURNING: In this file photo, Brazil’s Isaque Bahiense bested Ecuador’s Renato Canuto by a slim 2-0 advantage in the 2018 Marianas Open's Under 180 Pounds title match at the Father Duenas Memorial School Phoenix Center in Mangilao in April. Bahiense will be defending his title on Aug. 31. Justin Bennett/For The Guam Daily Post

After traveling the globe for the past year and hosting a series of Brazilian jiujitsu events, Guam's Fury Promotions secured some of the sport’s best martial artists to compete in the Marianas Open.

Champions from Marianas Pro Japan, South Korea, Las Vegas and San Diego will compete on island for more than $10,000.

“This is the first time that we have teams from South Korea and Japan flying out in large numbers,” said Steve Shimizu, president of Fury Promotions. “This is because of our recent tours in the U.S. and Asia.” 

“Guam has now grown as a jiujitsu sports destination, not just in Asia but around the world," Shimizu said.

The Marianas Open, the largest jiujitsu tournament in the Pacific, will take place Aug. 31 at the Father Duenas Memorial School Phoenix Center in Mangilao.

Doors open at 8 a.m. Matches begin with the children's division at 8:30 a.m.

Brown belt matches will kick off at noon. The tournament will wrap up with black belt bouts.

“We have very talented local athletes," Shimizu said. “Now, the Guam BJJ community can have the choice to travel around the world, or wait for the world to come to us.”

Haisam Rida, Japan’s No.1-ranked black belt, won the Marianas Pro Japan. Takafumi Sano won the Marianas Pro brown belt division.

During the Marianas Pro Las Vegas, Nicholas Green, competing in the black belt division, claimed the top prize. Roberto Jimenez, in the same tournament, was the top brown belt.

Green is one of the world's top black belts.

In South Korea, Yong Choi, the winner of the black belt division, punched his ticket to Guam. Countryman Hyungsok Cho, who claimed the gold medal in the brown belt division, will also make the trip.

During the final stop in San Diego, Kaynan Duarte was the black belt division winner. Duarte, one of the Marianas Open's top talents, is the reigning International Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation world champion.

Joining Duarte, Isaque Bahiense, also a world champion, will hit the Guam mats.

The black and brown belt division winners each received an all-expenses-paid trip to the Marianas Open.

“Champions from everywhere mark Guam as one of the tournaments that they want to compete in,” Shimizu said. “Our local athletes now benefit from not having an expensive trip to travel abroad. Rather, they can wake up in the morning, get in their cars, and compete here in our backyard.”

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