Grapplers Sanchez and LaRosa win gold at the Rio International Open in Brazil

By Jason Townsend | Sept. 07, 2008, 4:31 p.m. (ET)
On Sunday August 24, three American grapplers stepped onto the mat in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for FILA's first International Grappling Open.

The event featured athletes from USA, Canada, Argentina, Israel and Brazil.

The obvious lore for the American athletes was a chance to compete against the Brazilian grapplers on their home turf and come back stateside with Gold.

Women's MMA star and 2007 U.S. World Team Trials Champion and World Wrestling Games Champion, Tara LaRosa won gold in her weight division and then entered the Women's Absolute Division (Open Weight) were she earned a bronze medal.

Matt Sanchez of Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento, Calif. won the 136.5 lbs. division with victories over some tough Brazilian competitors including a barnburner win in the finals over Sao Paulo Black Belt Pedro Munoz. Matt was a runner-up at the 2007 World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey and third place at the 2007 U.S. Grappling World Team Trials and is the favorite in the division at this year's World Team Trials.

Malcolm Havens of Grappler's Edge earned a bronze medal in the tough 202.5 lbs division. After winning his first match, Malcolm was dominating his second opponent and then suffered a disqualification on a questionable illegal move call. Malcolm battled back to earn a bronze medal.


Women's 121 lbs.
1st Place: Tara LaRosa
2nd Place: Tatiana Teixeira

Women's Absolute
1st Place: Gilda Oliveira
2nd Place: Fernanda Maseli
3rd Place: Tara LaRosa
3rd Place: Ana Maria

Men's 136.5 lbs.
1st Place: Matt Sanchez
2nd Place: Pedro Munoz
3rd Place: Rodolfo Marquez
3rd Place: Jefferson Nunes

Men's 202.5 lbs
1st Place: Rodolfo Vieira
2nd Place: Lucio Rodriguez
3rd Place: Mauro Roberto
3rd Place: Malcolm Havens