UPDATE: Ellis, Ruiz, Soares claim No-Gi golds at Grappling World Championships in Serbia

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Sept. 29, 2011, 4:52 p.m. (ET)
Brandon Ruiz celebrates a victory at the 2011 Grappling World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Robbert Wijtman photo

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Three U.S. grapplers claimed gold medals in the No-Gi competition at the FILA Grappling World Championships in Thursday.

Capturing World titles were:
- Lisa Ellis (Olympia, Wash./United Fight Team) at 50 kg/110 lbs. for women
- Brandon Ruiz (West Jordan, Utah/Grappler`s Edge) at 110 kg/242 lbs. for men
- Jason Soares, Key Largo, Fla. (Freestyle Fighting Academy) at 65 kg/143 lbs. for men

Ellis won all three of her matches by submission, scoring tapouts over Anita Zdrodowska of Poland, Oceane Talvard of France and Sanja Jolicic of Serbia.

"Lisa looked fantastic" said U.S. coach Sheldon Marr. "She used three different submissions in her three matches. She was the class of the women's division."

It was the third career World No-Gi Grappling title for Ellis. She also won No-Gi World titles in 2008 and 2010, and was a World No-Gi silver medalist in 2009. She was also a World Wrestling Games champion in No-Gi Grappling in 2007.

Ruiz had to win four tough matches to win his first World gold medal in No-Gi Grappling. He had three decisions and a submission on the way to the title. Ruiz defeated Brazil's Maicon Nunes of Brazil, 6-0 in the semifinals, then stopped Mikael Knutsson of Sweden, 3-0 in the gold-medal finals.

Ruiz was a No-Gi World silver medalist in 2008 and 2009. He is the brother of 2005 Greco-Roman World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz, and was a Team USA member in Greco-Roman when he competed in that style.

"Brandon looked great. This is what he has been waiting for. It was his third time in the finals. The third time was a charm. He got very emotional after his win. It meant a lot to him and he deserved it" said Marr.

Soares, competing in his first Grappling World Championships, had three straight wins to secure his title. He opened with submission victories over Andras Kincses of Hungary and Matt Bagshaw of Canada. In the finals, Soares stopped Francisco Alcade of Spain, 3-0.

"Jason competed with a lot of heart. He is a strong competitor, but he also faced a number of strong competitors. He imposed his will on his opponents" said Marr.

Winning a silver medal was Matt Betzold (Phoenix, Ariz./The Den) at 60 kg/132 lbs. He reached the finals with a pair of submissions, stopping John Louro of Canada and Laszlo Mohasci of Hungary. Betzold dropped the gold-medal match to Dmytro Baranov of Ukraine, 4-9.

Betzold won his second career World silver medal in No-Gi, also placing second in 2009

Dropping a bronze-medal match to place fifth was Eddy Ellis (Olympia, Wash./United Fight Team) at 75 kg/165 lbs. Ellis won his first match, then was defeated in the semifinals. He fell in a bronze-medal bout to Alex Sung of Canada, 2-8.

Ellis, who was competing in his first Grappling World Championships, is married to Lisa Ellis.

Also competing on Thursday, but falling short of the medal rounds, were Tom LeCuyer (Plano, Ill./Torres Martial Arts) at 70 kg/154 lbs., Shane Cross (Denver, Colo./Grappler`s Edge) at 80 kg/176 lbs. and Michael Kelly (Hebron, Ill./Old School Wrestling) at 90 kg/198 lbs.

The No-Gi Absolute weight class will be contested on Friday. Competing for the USA will be past World champion Kelly Anundson (Coral Springs, Fla./American Top Team), plus Ruiz and Cross.

The United States won the World Team title in No-Gi Grappling in 2009 and 2010. The team standings will be announced after the Absolute division is completed tomorrow.

"We are absolutely competitive at this level" said U.S. coach Sheldon Marr. "We are still the No. 1 team in the world. We had a few heartbreaking matches that didn't go our way today. However, we had four athletes in the gold-medal finals and five athletes fighting for a medal, which is a good performance."

Clinch Gear is sponsoring the 2011 U.S. Grappling World Team with a donation of equipment including rashguards, shorts and gis.

The Gi Grappling division will also be contested on Friday. Team USA will have five athletes competing in the Gi competition tomorrow.

At Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 29

Men's No-Gi results

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold - Dmytro Baranov (Ukraine)
Silver - Matt Betzold (USA)
Bronze - John Louro (Canada)
Bronze - Kota Horaguchi (Japan)

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold - Jason Soares (USA)
Silver - Francisco Alcade (Spain)
Bronze - Matt Bagshaw (Canada)
Bronze - Charles Haddad (Sweden)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Maciej Polok (Poland)
Silver - Christian Sandberg (Sweden)
Bronze - Joseph Lopez (Guam)
Bronze - David Dimopoulos (Greece)

75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold - Sotaro Yamada (Japan)
Silver - Grzegorz Kloc (Poland)
Bronze - Alex Sung (Canada)
Bronze - Aleksandar Rajacic (Serbia)

80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold - Luca Anacoreta (Italy)
Silver - Martin Lavin (Sweden)
Bronze - Kamil Mitosek (Poland)
Bronze - Alain Mandengue (France)

90 kg/198 lbs.
Gold - Mats Nilsson (Sweden)
Silver - Pierre Pilat (France)
Bronze - Zbigniew Tyszka (Poland)
Bronze - Michele Verginelli (Italy)

110 kg/242 lbs.
Gold - Brandon Ruiz (USA)
Silver - Mikael Knutsson (Sweden)
Bronze - Hasan Bogdanov (Russia)
Bronze - Giorgios Katsinopoulos (Greece)

U.S. Men No-Gi results

60 KG / 132 lbs - Matt Betzold, Phoenix, Ariz. (The Den), 2nd
WIN John Louro (Canada), submission
WIN Laszlo Mohasci (Hungary), submission
LOSS Dmytro Baranov (Ukraine), 4-9

65 KG / 143 lbs. - Jason Soares, Key Largo, Fla. (Freestyle Fighting Academy), 1st
WIN Andras Kincses (Hungary), submission
WIN Matt Bagshaw (Canada), submission
WIN Francisco Alcade (Spain), 3-0

70 KG / 154 lbs - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill. (Torres Martial Arts), did not medal
LOSS Mario Allan Moyses (Brazil), 0-1

75 KG / 165 lbs. - Eddy Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team), 5th
WIN Ivaylo Kamenov (Bulgaria), 3-2
LOSS Grzegorz Kloc (Poland), 3-5
LOSS Alex Sung (Canada), 2-8

80 KG / 176 lbs. - Shane Cross, Denver, Colo. (Grappler's Edge), did not medal
WIN Adam Romsics (Hungary), 2-1
LOSS Milos Savic (Serbia), disqualification catch

90 KG / 198 lbs - Michael Kelly, Hebron, Ill. (Old School Wrestling), did not medal
LOSS Takanori Kuno (Japan), submission

110 KG / 242 lbs. - Brandon Ruiz, West Jordan, Utah (Grappler's Edge), 1st
WIN Clay Davidson (Canada), 3-0
WIN Hasan Bogdanov (Russia), submission
WIN Maicon Nunes (Brazil), 6-0
WIN Mikael Knutsson (Sweden), 3-0

Women's No-Gi results

50 kg/110 lbs.
Gold - Lisa Ellis (USA)
Silver - Sanja Jolicic (Serbia)
Bronze - Oceane Talvard (France)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Sandra Paszkiewicz (Poland)
Silver - Anny Hammarsten (Sweden)
Bronze - Nataliya Rogachko (Ukraine)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold - Sara Svensson (Sweden)
Silver - Irena Preiss (Poland)
Bronze - Bojana Jolicic (Serbia)

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold - Yuliya Toryanska (Ukraine)
Silver - Dusanka Bozovic (Sweden)
Bronze - Ira Tuba (Serbia)

75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold - Maria Malyjasiak (Poland)
Silver - Penny Thomas (South Africa)
Bronze - Aba Tuba (Serbia)

U.S. Women's No-Gi results

50 KG / 110 lbs. - Lisa Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team), 1st
WIN Anita Zdrodowska (Poland), submission
WIN Oceane Talvard (France), submission
WIN Sanja Jolicic (Serbia), submission

U.S. Competitors for Friday's competition

Absolute - Kelly Anundson, Coral Springs, Fla. (American Top Team)
Absolute - Shane Cross, Denver, Colo. (Grappler's Edge)
Absolute - Brandon Ruiz, West Jordan, Utah (Grappler's Edge)

Men's Gi
70 KG/154 lbs. - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill., (Torres Martial Arts)
75 KG/165 lbs. - Eddy Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)
90 KG/198 lbs. - Travis Conley, Lee's Summit, Mo. (KCBJJ)
110 KG/242 lbs - Kelly Anundson, Coral Springs, Fla. (American Top Team)

Women's Gi
50 KG/110 lbs. - Lisa Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)