Double Gold for John Combs at Abu Dhabi Trials
On Sunday, January 24th, John Combs of ETC Boulder was in Long Beach, CA, to compete in the United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation’s (UAEJJF) Abu Dhabi US National Pro tournament. This competition is a qualifier for UAEJJF’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship, which is to take place April 19-23. John dominated the brown belt division at the tournament, taking gold both at his 85 kg weight class and in the absolute.
Leading up to the tournament, John has been hitting morning training sessions at ETC Boulder to prepare. He also has two weekly lifting sessions with strength and conditioning coach Russ malloy. Going into the tournament, John was expecting to come up against Brian Morizi, who has been John’s toughest competition lately, having beat him in November at No-Gi Worlds. Morizi was absent from the brown belt division at Abu Dhabi trials because he recently received his black belt, leaving John to sweep the tournament at brown belt. John says he’d like to face Morizi again, but for now that match will have to wait.
Throughout the tournament, John found himself dealing with a lot of spider guard and 50-50 guard, which were some of his biggest challenges in last year’s competition season. Since then, he’s been training in these situations frequently with Professor James, and his game was more equipped for them in this event.
With a total of five matches over the course of the day (two at weight, and three at absolute), John executed five submissions, with his longest match lasting three minutes. For John, this longer match was both his favorite and his most challenging. It was the final fight of the absolute division, and John found himself once again playing 50-50. He glimpsed an unlikely opportunity, and went for a darce choke, finishing his opponent.
For John, this win means a ticket to the United Arab Emirates to compete in April. He’s been grappling since he was 14 years old, and doing Jiu Jitsu since 18, and he says, “I’m definitely excited. I never thought this sport would take me this far or give me an opportunity like this.” He’s expecting to run into some of the best of the world in the UAE this spring, and he’s looking forward to seeing how he matches up.