Fighters grapple for NZ selection
Some of New Zealand's top Brazilian jiu jitsu fighters will be competing at the Grapplers Challenge tournament at the Highbury Whanau Centre on Saturday.
This is a buildup tournament for selection for the Oceania championships next year so a lot of top grapplers will be attending.
The qualifying tournament is in Auckland in October and most of the top competitors should qualify for the Oceanias in Guam in March.
Vaughan Antonio from the UCOL club is one of Manawatu's top hopes after he won two silvers at the Oceanias in Sydney in March.
He also has several young up-and-coming fighters from his gym, including Kieran Te Kurapa, Dan Hunia and Micah Hatch, who should be competitive.
Because it is a warmup to the Oceania qualifier, some of New Zealand's top fighters are coming, including a few mixed martial arts fighters. There are 80 adults entered, but organisers were hoping for a lot of late entries.
A lot of fighters who don't often compete in this part of the country are coming down from Auckland.
The tournament is going to feature several big-name martial arts exponents with Steve Oliver, a world no-Gi champion, Nick Daly, a multiple MMA title holder, Dan Digby and Brandon Ropati, who both hold numerous MMA titles all entered.
Ropati has just returned from a fight in Japan while Daley has come back from an MMA fight in Australia. There are cash prizes in the absolute division which is any weight.
The kids' competition starts at 9am and the adults at 10.30am.
- © Fairfax NZ News