Strong U.S. team to compete at Grappling World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, October 17-20

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 11, 2017, 1:34 p.m. (ET)
2011 Grappling World champion Brandon Ruiz (right) battles Gabe Beauperthuy at the 2017 U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Las Vegas. Ruiz will compete in No-Gi and Beauperthuy in Gi in the Senior division at the 2017 Grappling Worlds in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

A team of 20 Grappling athletes will represent the United States in the 2017 Grappling World Championships, set for October 17-20 in Baku, Azerbaijan and hosted by United World Wrestling

The competition will include both No-Gi Grappling and Gi Grappling divisions. The USA will enter athletes in both the Senior and the Veterans age groups.

The team will be led by three past UWW Grappling World champions, Jayson Patino (Orlando, Fla./American Top Team) and Brandon Ruiz (Taylorsville, Utah/Edge MMA and Fitness) on the men’s side and Lisa Ward (Olympia, Wash./United Training Center) on the women’s side.

Ward has won the most World gold medals in Grappling in USA Wrestling history with five, including four in No-Gi and one in Gi. Ward’s No-Gi World titles were in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. She also has a 2008 Gi World gold medal. In total, Ward has claimed eight UWW Grappling World medals, second on the all-time record list behind only Tara LaRosa with nine. She will be competing at 53 kg in the No-Gi discipline.

Ruiz was a 2011 UWW Grappling World champion in No-Gi, and also has won four World silver medals in No-Gi (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014). He will compete in the No-Gi competition in the unlimited weight class.

Patino was a 2014 UWW Grappling World champion in No-Gi, and also won World bronze medals in 2013 in No-Gi and Gi. He is entered in No-Gi in the 71 kg weight class.

The team will also feature two other past World medalists. Jessica Phillippus of Glenwood, Iowa (United Training Center) won World bronze medals in 2015 and 2016. She will compete at 53 kg in Gi. Bobby Yamashita of Northglenn, Colo. (All Navy), a 2013 World bronze medalist in Gi Grappling, is entered at 77 kg in the Gi discipline.

Four members of the U.S. Senior Grappling World Team will compete in both No-Gi and Gi. They are Aaron Johnson of Greenwood, Ind. (Edge MMA & Fitness) at 62 kg, Carlos Soto of W. Lafayette, Ind. (Team Impact Indiana) at 92 kg, Shawn W. Scott of Millersville, Pa. (Team Palay) at 100 kg on the men’s side, and
Breanna Stikkelman of Simi Valley, Calif. (Street Sports) at 58 kg on the women’s side.

The United States will also have eight athletes competing in the Veterans division (35 years old and above), including three who also are on the Senior World Team. Two members of the USA team this year were medalists at the Grappling Worlds in the Veterans division last year. Gabe Beauperthuy of Colorado Springs, Colo. won Veterans World gold medals in both Gi and No-Gi last year, while Jason Cumiford of Anchorage, Alaska won Veterans World bronze medals in Gi and No-Gi last year.

The U.S. team will be outfitted with gear from Nike, provided by APS, USA Wrestling’s Merchandise and Apparel sponsor. The U.S. athletes entered in the Gi discipline will compete wearing Gameness Gis, the U.S. Grappling World Team Gi sponsor.

The team will be coached by Eddy Ellis of Olympia, Wash., a former U.S. Grappling World Team member who is a coach with United Training Center. Serving as referee with the U.S. delegation is Rich Tado of Lake in the Hills, Ill.

Within United World Wrestling, the USA has been a world power in No-Gi Grappling. The USA won World team titles in No-Gi in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. It also was Gi World team champion in 2008 and 2009.

The qualifying event for the USA team was the 2017 U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev., April 27-29 at the South Point Hotel and Casino. The Trials event was broadcast live by FloGrappling and FloWrestling.

2017 GRAPPLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Baku, Azerbaijan, October 17-20

2017 U.S. Senior No-Gi Grappling Team

Men
62 kg - Aaron Johnson, Greenwood, Ind. (Edge MMA & Fitness)
66 kg – Luis Quinones, Los Angeles, Calif. (10th Planet HQ)
71 kg - Jayson Patino, Orlando, Fla. (American Top Team)
77 kg – Steven Ramos, New City, N.Y. (Essential BJJ)
84 kg – Koffi Adzitso, Murray, Utah (Edge MMA and Fitness)
92 kg – Carlos Soto, W. Lafayette, Ind. (Team Impact Indiana)
100 kg – Shawn W. Scott, Millersville, Pa. (Team Palay)
Over 100 kg - Brandon Ruiz, Taylorsville, Utah (Edge MMA and Fitness)
Women
53 kg – Lisa Ward, Olympia, Wash. (United Training Center)
58 kg - Breanna Stikkelman, Simi Valley, Calif. (Street Sports)

2017 U.S. Senior Gi Grappling Team
Men
62 kg - Aaron Johnson, Greenwood, Ind. (Edge MMA & Fitness)
71 kg - John Morgan, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Hypermodern Jiu-Jitsu)
77 kg – Bobby Yamashita, Northglenn, Colo. (All Navy)
84 kg – Jacob Hockenbury, Indianapolis, Ind. (Team Impact Indiana)
92 kg – Carlos Soto, W. Lafayette, Ind. (Team Impact Indiana)
100 kg – Shaun W. Scott, Millersville, Pa. (Team Palay)
Over 100 kg – Gabe Beauperthuy, Colorado Springs, Colo. (United Training Center)
Women
53 kg – Jessica Phillippus, Glenwood, Iowa (United Training Center)
58 kg – Breanna Stikkelman. Simi Valley, Calif. (Street Sports)

2017 U.S. Veterans Grappling Team (35 and older)
66 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Aaron Johnson, Greenwood, Ind.
77 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Jason Cumiford, Anchorage, Alaska
77 kg – (No-Gi) Gregor Strakl, West Valley City, Utah
84 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Dan Brecht, Sunset Beach, Calif.
92 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Scott Lanham, Pasadena, Texas
92 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Carlos Soto, W. Lafayette, Ind.
92 kg- (No-Gi) Jeff Anderson, Zeeland Mich.
Over 100 kg – (No-Gi and Gi) Gabe Beauperthuy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Coach – Eddy Ellis, Olympia, Wash.
Referee – Richard Tado, Lake in the Hills, Ill.

Event Schedule

Wednesday, October 17
No-Gi Grappling, Veterans and youth divisions

Thursday, October 18
Gi Grappling, Veterans and youth divisions

Friday, October 19
No-Gi Grappling, Senior division

Saturday, October 20
Gi Grappling, Senior division