We’re a proud sponsor of this event, and because — as De La Soul taught us — three is the magic number, we’re going to give you a preview of the event in bite-sized chunks of three.
WHAT: Toro Cup 6
WHEN: Feb. 11, starting at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Triangle Jiu-Jitsu/Cageside Fight Co., 124 Latta Road, Durham NC.
THREE REASONS YOU NEED TO GO TO TORO CUP 6
The Matches: More matches than ever (22 as of this writing), featuring athletes representing more than 30 schools. This is real growth, and the chance to watch old favorites as well as lesser-known and rising athletes. I get around a fair bit, and there are several athletes on this card I haven’t seen compete. That’s exciting.
The Cause: Toro Cup always picks a charity, and Gis for GIs is the first second-time recipient. A great cause that helps provide active duty military and veterans with jiujitsu gear, the charity makes a tangible difference in peoples’ lives.
The Community: Every one of these events is bigger than the last, and it’s a great melting pot for local grapplers. Plus, there’s always great food. Adobo Joe Filipino Food Truck and Yellow Bear Bakery will both be back for your weight-missing needs.
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS TORO CUP
Time Changes: There are more matches than ever at this Toro Cup, but the times are also shorter for everyone but the black belts. This should keep the contests at a quick pace.
Four black belt matches (more than ever): One consequence of the scene’s growth — more high-level competitors. Some of that involves homegrown talent advancing up the belt ranks, and some of that involves gifted competitors moving to North Carolina or the surrounding states.
Four women’s matches (more than ever): There would have been five if the opponent for Kim Rice (blue belt world champion, medalist at the purple belt worlds, and newly-minted brown belt) hadn’t suffered an unfortunate knee injury at the last minute.
THREE MATCHES TO ANTICIPATE HEAVILY
Nakapan vs. Greg Walker: Not bad for a last-minute match! Nakapan Phungephorn of BETA Academy is a mainstay of the competition scene, a happy-faced pressure machine who, like Prince, has earned the right to go by one name. Greg Walker of Team Gustavo Machado is a warrior in every sense of the word who stepped up to take this match just this week, and we can’t wait. Greg is coming off an outstanding performance at Toro Cup 5, where he earned a submission victory despite a hand injury, and you can hear him talk about that on our Toro Cup 5 recap podcast.
CJ Murdock vs. David Porter: Everyone we talk to is anticipating this match between two avid, top-tier competitors. Always a solid competitor, CJ Murdock’s game has grown exponentially over the past few years, highlighted by a stint training in Brazil and augmented by training at Great Grappling, which he talked with us about a few months back. Pedro Sauer black belt David Porter always goes for the finish, has a funky and entertaining style, and has a new DVD about his feared D’arce Choke that he broke down on a podcast for us. This match is going to be bonkers, because both guys are good everywhere, and both guys have outstanding fundamentals — and plenty of unorthodox tricks up their sleeves.
Josh Williams vs. Bobby Gurley: This is a no-gi match. Josh Williams is a Toro Cup veteran, having taken on tremendous competition (including Laban Propst and Andrew Bitner) during his four Toro Cup matches, and is a physical beast with great technique and a excellent taste in spats. Bobby Gurley is coming off an outstanding performance at the Projitsu invitational. I’ll be very interested to see what each guy’s strategy is for this match: I’m sure each would like to be on top, but Josh Williams’ guard and leg lock games are also excellent.
Want a more in-depth preview of these and other matches? We talked to matchmaker John “Bagels” Telford about them on the most recent podcast. And be sure to check the podcast this Sunday, when David Porter will join us to break down his match, talk about the card, and maybe share insights with another surprise guest.
THREE WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR TORO CUP EXPERIENCE
Support the Cause: Bring a gi to donate to Gis For GIs. If you’re moved to donate, you can of course do that — but even if you’re broke, turn that gi you don’t need any more into a pursuit that can change somebody’s life.
Take Pictures and Tag Dirty White Belt Radio on Facebook: If you’re posting pictures, tag us, and we’ll pull together an album. CAM Photos and Design will be on-site to shoot the event, but it’s always great to have multiple perspectives. If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtags #torocup6 and #dirtywhitebelt.
THREE MORE MATCHES TO ANTICIPATE HEAVILY
… because you know we couldn’t pick just three.
Anthony Elbert vs. Josh Murdock: Anthony Elbert is coming off of his first IBJJF gold medal at brown belt, topping the podium at the Atlanta Open — and delivered a quick victory by choke at Toro Cup 5. Josh Murdock has put on incredible performances over the past year, including wins over Gardner Watkins and Telford, plus a memorable close match against Deandre Corbe at the last Toro Cup. It’s going to be fast-paced, it’s going to be relentless, and Josh always says he wants to show people how exciting gi jiujitsu is. I think he and Anthony will do that in this match.
Marc Yates vs. Chico Santiago: Marc Yates is one of those transplants we talked about above, a Robert Drysdale black belt now training at Elevate MMA. Chico Santiago’s Combat Club out of Jacksonville has produced some terrific jiujitsu athletes, and this promises to be a compelling heavyweight matchup.
Cody Maltais vs. Nicholas Walters: Two Toro Cup veterans square off at black belt. These guys have actually split matches at brown belt, with Maltais winning no-gi and Walters winning in the gi — but they haven’t competed in two years or so, and they’ll have a rubber match at black belt.