Team SBG news, interview + more!


Team SBG competition results! + more



It's been a busy few weeks for Team SBGi.

First off, huge congratulations to Rosi Sexton for winning her fight against Debi Purcell in the Elite XC show, broadcast on Showtime. Way to go Rosi!


Shortly thereafter Gunnar Nelson soundly defeated his Brazilian BJJ black belt opponent in a cage fight in Denmark to maintain his undefeated MMA record.





Gunnar (AKA: Gunni) is a prodigy that all of you will be seeing a lot more of as the months progress. He has been training for just about three years, and recently recieved his brown belt from John Kavanagh. Rest assured, though it's only been a few years, nobody believes Gunni recieved his brown a moment too early. Many BJJ black belts, from BJ Penn to Renzo Gracie have commented on the level of technical skill and mat presence Gunni owns.






In Gunni's three years Gunni trained at the Portland gym for several months (he recieved his blue and purple from Matt last year), Kavanagh's gym in Dublin Ireland for many months, and with Karl in Manchester UK at SBGi_UK, where he is currently. He has progressed faster then any SBGi athlete to date, and all of us at SBGi are very proud of him!

Then a short time later in the UK Gunnar entered the 2008 UK Grappling Open National Championship, where he won a gold medal. Gunnar had five matches, winning all by submission, and winning all without giving up a single point!



At the same event John Kavanagh made a spur of the moment decision to enter the same event, and also brought home a gold medal!






Although the wins make us all happy, what made us more happy was that this occured after John had been told by doctors that he may not be able to do BJJ anymore due to a neck injury. Through careful training and re-hab John made his way back on to the mat. And that is far more important then any win. Congratulations guys!

Also, this last Saturday (9/27) we had two Portland SBGi athletes scheduled to fight for the title belts. Both won decisive victories, making the Portland gym 2-0 for the night!



Hamilton Ash's opponent dropped out just a few days before the event. The only opponent available was Erik Wander, who is a tough, experienced fighter that also fights a weight class above Hamiltons. Normally this is not a fight Brian or I would allow one of our athletes to take. But win or lose Hamilton would still fight for the 155lb title on the next show, and he really wanted to take the fight. So Hamilton walked in at 155, and Erik weighed in at 168.






Hamilton stepped up and did a fantastic job and won via verbal submission. Erik was a class act, and we are grateful for him agreeing to give Hamilton the fight. Hamilton worked hard, and it would have been a bummer for him not to be able to glove up that night.



Hamilton Ash def. Erik Wander : Verbal Submission - Wander did not answer the bell for the 3rd round.






Corey Roska foght for the 135lb title in a re-match with Team Quest's Damon Wood. Corey won a unanimous decision versus Damon in the previous show, dominating the action with takedowns, and total ground control. This time Corey kept it standing, having worked hard on his hands for this fight Corey walked in with a game plan of KO. He accomplished this with a wicked overhand, ending the fight at 39 seconds of the first round by knock out.



Big thanks to our boxing coach Brian Walsh for all his help, and to all the athletes on the Portland Comp Team who helped Corey and Hamilton prepare. Great job!

On that same card we had three athletes from our Berkeley CA affiliate Modern Combatives enter the cage for their first MMA fight.






We take our MMA fights seriously here at the Portland Gym. And I have to admit I was a bit nervous about having three athletes there who I have not observed first hand in training for the event. I'd feel the same about any athlete who had not fought MMA before, and who I had not had direct contact with while they prepared. No Portland athlete ever enters the cage unprepared, or out of shape. So although I know Alan, Lily and Corey are great coaches, after all they are SBG ; ) It's still a bit nerve racking to see any fighter get in there fvor their first time.

That stated, any nervousness I had turned out to be completley missplaced. All three ModCom athletes performed amazingly well. Especially considering it was their first cage fights! All three came in prepared, in shape, and ready to compete. A true testament to the training going on at the Mod Com Gym.

The first athlete Kyle Strickland lost a very close decision against Xtreme Couture's Donavan Pelaske. I could have called it either way, and we thought it may have been a draw until we heard the results. Kyle dominated the striking portion, and was able to control Donavan in the guard farily well. But Donavan came out on top by scoring the takedowns. Either way it was a great fight, and a fantastic first showing for Donavam We were all really impressed.

The second athlete Darren Modzelewski went the distance (3 rounds) and won a clear decision against the more experienced Bj San Nicols. Darren put on a technical workshop of MMA, striking, takedowns, passing, etc. Beautiful fight.

The last MODCOM athlete Dominick Haider had a fight against Team Quest's Brandon Pitts. Dominick looked composed, technical, and in the words of our boxing coach Brian Walsh. . . . ."he can hit really-really hard on top!" A skill very few MMA athletes learn to do until later in their career. Dominick dominated this fight, and won by TKO in the second round.


So MODCOM goes 2-1. An extremely impressive showing, especially considering it was the first fight for all of them. And the Roseland is a fairly high pressure event/environment. Great job! Also congrats due to Corey and Joann for some very impressive corner work. Mod Com has all the makings for a very impressive MMA team.

On top of all these wins were many more from our East Coast gyms, Ireland, UK, and more locally. It's becoming increasingly tough for me to keep track of all this, which is why we are in the process of putting up a Team SBG website which will track all the various results.

Stay tuned for4 more details!

In other news, Portland SBG Instructor James Davis is currently doing a 3 month teaching trip at our Iceland location. Though we miss having James on our mat, we know he will bring some great teaching to our Iceland affiliate. We highly suggest everyone close take advantage of his time there and get in some group classes, or privates.

Also, there is new interview featuring SBGi President Matt Thornton. You can read the full interview, which was done by Yael Grauer at:

Have a great October and stay tuned for more big news from SBGi! 



That was a damn good interview.