MMA: Team Smasher Malta compete in London international Grapplers’Showdown

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 8:00

Last Sunday the 14th of September Team Smasher Malta competed in the Grapplers’ Showdown MMA Amateur Tournament at The International Combat Sports show SENI at the soccerdome in London, the biggest Martial arts EXPO in UK.

Some of the greatest names in Martial arts where at the event from K1 champs to current UFC starts. The team brought in a successful haul of 4 gold medals out of a possible 5, and 2 silver medals Maltas most successful MMA team to compete abroad! The initial rounds where fought on Mats in the grappling area then the finals were in the shows main 20ft Professional MMA cage in the main area. All of Team smasher’s competitors made it to the final:

In the Juvenile category, Team Smasher’s Dejan Briffa faced Antoni Kowalski. Dejan instantly took the fight to Kowalski landing more strikes in the clinch before Briffa pushed his opponent against the cage wall and achieve a swift double leg takedown in to side mount. Kowalski had plenty of fight left however and after regaining closed guard, attacked with an armbar that looked to be locked in. Briffa showed plenty of heart and determination and transitioned to get out of a deep armbar, then proceeded to control his opponent from side control, landing Ground and pound knees to the body till the end of the round, thus earning himself a well deserved victory!

The -70kgs category final was an all Team Smasher affair, as team mates Matthew Camilleri and Stephan Swain squared off against each other. After an initial exchange of punches and knees strikes, Camilleri pushed Swain against the cage and shot for the take down. Swain avoided being slammed down by pulling into half guard, and while covering himself, tried to work his way into open guard and escape back to his feet. Camilleri applied heavy pressure however, and his ground and pound was clearly distracting Swain from his objective. After a period in which the match seemed to have stalled, both fighters were stood up by the ref. Swain landed a good kick to Camilleri’s leg, but the latter countered with another well timed double leg takedown, and although Swain sprawled, he could not avoid being taken down. With just seconds remaining, Swain locked his half guard and attempted a guillottine choke which however wasn’t sunk in enough, and Camilleri resisted it with ease. At the end of the match, Camilleri had his arms raised as the victor.

In the -80kgs category, Team Smasher’s Murtuz Gadzhiev faced Italian Valter Cocco. Cocco started aggressively with a flurry of kicks, but Gadzhiev countered this with his wrestling skills to throw his opponent down and achieving full mount. Cocco kept moving, attempting a number of sweeps before finally regaining half guard and then later on closed guard, from which he pulled in Gadzhiev close in to him to limit the damage from ground and pound. After a couple of minutes of this, the referee stood both fighters up due to lack of action. Gadzhiev immediately tried to replicate his earlier throw, but mistimed it, landing him on the bottom in closed guard. Cocco stood up and attacked a straight leg lock which Gadzhiev managed to defend, even achieving a sweep in the process. Gadzhiev maintained top position for the rest of the round, but could not pass his opponent’s guard nor land any significant blows. At the end, it was his opponent who had his armed raised in victory in what was a very tightly contested round.

In the -90kgs category, Team Smasher’s Terrence Portelli faced Saul Grosshuesch. Portelli used his longer reach to land a number of kicks on his opponent’s legs before going for a judo hip throw. While the throw wasn’t executed perfectly, Portelli still managed to land on top in scarf hold. From there Portelli continue his aggressive strategy, feinting achoke on his opponent while working his way into full mount. Grosshuesch attempted a couple of sweeps which Portelli countered easily, all the while working his ground and pound with relentless pressure, forcing his opponent to tap out due to strikes after 2mins 40secs of the match.

In the Open Weight category, Team Smasher’s Josef Hazzouri faced Kirk Preston. Preston started immediately with a push kick which was caught with ease by Hazzouri, who then swept his opponent’s leg sending him crashing to the ground within seconds. Preston managed to gain closed guard, but was unable to do much else except clinch Hazzouri close to him and try to minimize the latter’s ground and pound. Hazzouri for his part was content to work Preston’s ribs, landing a series of powerful blows while maintaining top position. Despite being stood up a couple of times by the referee, the rest of the match followed this same rythm. Hazzouri sweeping his opponent down with powerful kicks and using his superior weight and strength to utterly dominate his opponent. At the end, it was clear who the victor was even before the judges gave their verdict, thus adding another gold medal to Team Smasher’s Medal of the day.

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