Minnesota combat sports fans will have a chance to witness one the most unique jiu jitsu and grappling events in the world this Friday as “Fight To Win Pro 50” makes it’s way to Lakeville, MN. Nationally recognized Minnesota jiu jitsu black belt Brandon Bergeron will meet 2017 Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu gold medalist Thomas Keenan of Phoenix, Arizona in a high level main event match. There are currently 29 more matches scheduled that feature the most skilled mixed martial artists and jiu jitsu practitioners in Minnesota. A complete list including competition times is provided below.
Fight To Win Pro promoter Seth Daniels of Denver, Colorado described the show as a full scale rock concert production to showcase the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He went on to explain to MN Fight News that the “submission only” rule set takes away stalling and forces fighters to hunt for the finish. The result is action packed gi and nogi jiu jitsu show at the highest level which includes dramatic ring walks, flashy lights, and world class submission finishes.
“If you do not train jiu jitsu and you attend a Fight To Win Pro event, you will want to join a gym the next day” said the BJJ brown belt Daniels.
MN FIGHT NEWS (To both combatants): Can you give us some insight into Fight to Win Pro and what first time viewers can expect that sets this show apart from other competitions?
BERGERON: This will be the first Fight To Win Pro card that I will have the pleasure of being a part of. Fight To Win is an organization that is trying to make the sport of grappling more exciting for the viewers which is definitely what needs to happen if Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes hope to be able to even come close to making a living through competition. They are taking Jiu Jitsu and starting to make a league out of it with champions and contenders. That, along with the higher production values are a great step in the right direction to garnering a larger viewership and attempting to get interest from people who may not already be die hard BJJ fans. I know the production values has resulted in ticket sales to some of my friends and family who have never attended any of my BJJ matches despite me doing competitions for 10 years. Fight To Win is doing good work. The fans (and competitors) can definitely be ready for better organization than most BJJ events and a BJJ viewing experience unlike any they’ve had before.
KEENAN: Fight to Win Pro provides a professional platform for grapplers like myself who love competing. This organization is bringing excitement and professionalism into our culture by allowing us to showcase our craft and talents in front of our friends and family while actually being compensated! They have been working towards a payout of over a million dollars to grapplers all over the country this year while giving exposure and the respect of being a professional athlete to teens, lower belts, and all the way up to the highest level. So many people enjoy the gentle art and Minnesota fans and spectators will see an amazing production from the lights to the sound system and the big stage just like a live MMA card full of great energy. Talented grapplers hunting for the finish as this organization is submission only and awards victories to the aggressor and those looking to finish the match. This makes it way more exciting to watch and encourages a good pace with action and slick submissions!
MN FIGHT NEWS (To both combatants): What do you know about your opponent and how do you see this match going?
BERGERON: I know very little about Keenan. I know he won the 2017 Abu Dhabi World Pro as a brown belt before he was promoted to black belt this year. He has had two previous Fight To Win Pro matches that I know about. Aftering seeing them, I know he likes to come out aggressively. He likes to finish the match aggressively by attempting flying attacks and going for submission attempts on the ankles so he can come across as the more offensive of the competitors to ensure a referee decision victory. This strategy has worked twice for him already as he has won both of his matches by decision. I’m sure he has a strong submission game too, but at this level, everyone has pretty strong submission defense. I think my match with Keenan is going to be a real scrap and have high intensity. It’s only one, eight minute match so I don’t see either of us getting tired and I anticipate both of us pushing the pace and threatening as many submissions as we can for the full eight minutes.
KEENAN: My next opponent is Brandon
Bergeron and I expect it to be another challenge which I’m prepared for. I expect a well rounded grappler looking to put on a show in his hometown. My game plan with many of my match ups is to not look into what they do well, but rather be aware of what I need to improve on. If I look too much into an opponents “game” I believe you play into their strategy! My strategy is simple, respect all, fear no one, and believe in my jiu jitsu. I see this match ending by submission and I hope it’s entertaining and one of the best matches of the night. I’d like to invite all of the Minnesota grappling community out for a great night of jiu jitsu, to celebrate the growth of the sport and to show our support. To be there for your friends and family who train hard to have moments like this that are rare and special and most certainly memorable!
MN FIGHT NEWS (To Thomas Keenan): This will not be your first time competing in Fight to Win Pro. Can you talk a little about your past matches?
KEENAN: This is not my first time on the big stage, and it’s an honor to return for another main event in a great place like Minnesota! I actually have had some wars in my previous matches against top notch competition like Magid Hage and John Combs. Both had many threats and solid resumes and experience along with great jiu jitsu. I’m proud that I came out on top with two victories against game black belts that I respect and who bring out my will and determination because that’s what keeps me hungry and striving to get better. Magid has crazy strong grips and John is tough as nails!
MN FIGHT NEWS (To both combatants): Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
BERGERON: Just like everyone else, I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. I want to thank my coaches at The Academy, most notably Greg Nelson and Andy Grahn as well as Nate Homme for his influence on my early BJJ career. I need to thank all of my training partners over at The Academy for helping me to improve over the years and for putting their bodies in harms way so that I can train the same way I do for them. And I’d like to thank all of my students for their support and their continued devotion to our program and learning the art under me. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to focus on BJJ nearly as much as I’m able to.
KEENAN: I want to thank Fight to Win who works hard to stack cards and deliver great shows state to state across the country. Also my students, friends, family and sponsors that help me live my dream and evolve towards a more well rounded version of myself with each new challenge! Currently I’ve opened my own academy in Arizona, Arizona BJJ and feel that I’m an extension to the amazing jiu jitsu community in Arizona. I appreciate all of my friends and training partners both past and present that are a part of my journey. I want to remind others that if you want something and have a vision, you must have the courage and work ethic to go get it. Don’t stop grinding or believing in your ability.
F2W PRO 50 Minneapolis Match Schedule for Friday Night at Lakeville Hasse Arena in Lakeville, MN. You can also watch live at www.flograppling.com.
Doors Open To Public 5:00pm
600PM Jack Mcneely vs Ty Schmidt
606PM Tom Krenzel vs Branden Bell
614PM Marcus Beddor vs Jack Shreffler
622PM Jason Natal vs Dan Moret
630pm Titus Malika vs Kyle Lunde
638pm Chris Golv vs Ethan Baumann
646pm Charles Anozie vs Bobby lee
654pm Mark Somerville vs Tom Trutnau
702pm Jon Froh vs Nicholas Compton
710pm Kevin Skadsheim vs Randy Matthews
718pm Kenn Glenn vs Jason Cheng
726pm Danny Tran vs Blake Bilder
734pm Matthew Castillo vs Tyler Nothnagel
742pm Pam Sorenson vs Akeela Al Hameed
750pm Danielle Carvahlo vs Lauren Lehmkuhl
758pm David Skora vs Patrick Dutton
806pm Gialysson Adao Freitas vs Dumisani Thomsen
815pm Derek Getzel vs Cody Lincoln
824pm Evan Carothers vs Gilberto Monroy
833pm James Clark vs Gordy Flam
842pm Nate Howe vs Oscar Hipp
851pm Enrique Muniz vs Jeremy Adler
900pm Casey Hellenberg vs Zigmars Evamois
909pm Travis Wiuff vs Bruce Hoyer
919pm Matt Jubara vs Joao Alfredo Tavares Marinho
929pm Derek Barlow vs Kelly Johnson
939pm Jose Varella vs Ryan Pottembaum
949pm Roland Larson vs Timothy Blackstone
959pm Thomas Keenan vs Brandon Bergeron