Here's me and Aziz surveying the crowd before the action started, and trying to not get kicked.
He shot, I sprawled, I landed on top. Not the smoothest of starts but it worked out for me.
He went for the guillotine but I had known it was coming for at least 10 seconds because of all the people yelling, "GUILLOTINE!"
Fortunately for me, by the middle of the match he had already used up most of his energy trying to sweep me and I was able to get mount, and subsequently, an ezequiel.
He opened with a shoot but I saw this one coming as well (last Machado Nationals, I lost after getting double-legged pretty early, so I spent the next year working my sprawl).
Here's me thinking, "He's trying to choke! Thank God!"
Here's Matt shouting instructions at me. I didn't have a clue what was going on until a bit later.
I got to mount again and started looking for an ezequiel, which fortunately I was able to find.
Neither of us was willing to commit to a shoot, so we were standing for a fair while. I managed to pull him into a kind of sprawl, which didn't really work...
...as he used it to drive in and get takedown points.
He went to consolidate his position but we landed outside the mat and they brought us back. He started to get a kneeride but I blocked his leg and rolled to my knees.
He went for it, giving me the chance to underhook his legs and shuck him off.
He ended up putting me in hook guard, which I passed by pushing his knees down and hopping forwards.
Me and Matt.
A handshake, a first place trophy and congratulations from one Mr. John Will. I'm not going to lie to you: this felt SWEET.
Aziz, my wife and I were joined by our good friend Justin, who took us all out to a restaurant called Sofia for a post-competition dinner. The portions here are, as you can tell, massive. All of these dishes are "small".
I'll be putting up pictures of the Bangkok competition as soon as I have them. I forgot to bring my own camera, but Rob loaned me his and I got a few photos. Also, a nice value-added feature the organisers had was the option of getting professional photographers to take pictures of your matches for a small fee (I've never seen anyone else offer this type of service but it's a great idea and I hope more people do it). So when those come in I'll try and put them up as well.