Fortuna and Braga Neto. Photos: Daniel Carettoni.

This weekend’s US Open in Santa Cruz brought the goods fans of first-rate Jiu-Jitsu in California were dying for. In the absolute black belt division, Marcel Fortuna and Antonio Braga Neto were the big names who closed out the division for Ralph Gracie academy. The two opted not to fight in the final, and Marcel took the title.

Marcel, better known as Mãozinha, first got past Augusto Tanquinho with a sweep, in an evenly-matched affair, and then beat Paulo Melo in a cautious match.

Marcel on top of Tanquinho.

Now Neto submitted Carlos Melo and then got James Foster in the semifinal, going through to the final with a perfect performance.

In the weight groups, Augusto Tanquinho got the better of Philipe Della Monica (Gracie Barra America) in the lightweight semifinal. In the final, the Soul Fighters and Claudio França repe beat Rodrigo Freitas, also from GB.

The owner of the featherweight division was Theodoro Canal, who dominated his encounter with Doug Fong (Charles Gracie SF) from start to tapout finish.

In the light featherweight division, Brandon Mullins (GB Texas) recovered from a takedown by Felipe Latari (Cia Paulista) and took the title via triangle choke.

In the medium heavyweight division, Marcello Salazar came up spades. In the super heavyweight, Mãozinha did it again, beating Paulo Cesar Melo (Claudio França BJJ) with a sweep.

Now Carlos Melo won the heavyweight division after a hard-fought final with Mikey Gomez (GB America).

Other standouts were lightweight purple belt champion Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaitá), who has won everything so far this year, and the participation of Brazilian actor Claudio Heinrich, who lost to Henry Cortez in the senior 1 division.

Complete coverage of the event coming up in issue 165, coming in December. Click here to secure your copy.

Team results:


1 Gracie Humaitá Rocha

2 Ralph Gracie

3 Pitbull BJJ


1 Fabio Prado

2 Claudio França BJJ

3 Darcio Lira


1 Gracie Humaitá/ Rocha

2 Claudio Franca BJJ

3 Sandro Batata

Master & Senior

1 Gerilla JJ

2 Claudio França BJJ

3 Gracie Humaitá/ Rocha