Saipan's Shane “Pika-Boo” Alvarez and his cousin Roman “Boom” Alvarez, of Guam, hoisted gold medals in the Northern American Grappling Association's (NAGA) Philadelphia Grappling Championship held last Feb. 2 and 3 at the Marple Sports Arena in Broomall, Pennsylvania.
In addition, Alvarez's veteran Lloyd Irvin MMA Academy teammate Frank “The Crank” Camacho took home the bronze in the purple belt No-Gi expert light-heavyweight weight division.
Shane competed as a lightweight (150-160 lbs) in the No-Gi Blue Belt Intermediate division and bested Stephen Eisner in the finals after winning three prior matches, while Roman defeated teammate Eddie Spiker in what was also his fourth match of the competition. Roman competed in the No-Gi Blue Belt Intermediate Featherweight division.
According to Shane, he defeated his first three opponents via points by an average of 6-2, before pulling out a nice comeback submission victory for the gold medal.
“In the final I was up against a very good leg-lock specialist. He put me to the test and I admit I almost tapped out, but then I thought about the gold and about everyone back home and why I'm here, which gave me the power to withstand the pain. I eventually got out of the leg hold and locked in a rear-naked choke for a tap out win just after the three-minute mark of the match,” he described in an email.
Team Lloyd Irvin finished second overall in the No-Gi class behind Tiger Schulmann's MMA by a score of, 900-1,050; Balance Studios and Maxercise tied for third place with 560 teams points each.
Maxercise fielded the most Gi competition winners as the Lloyd Irvin group also settled for runner-up honors, 580-1,170. The latter clipped third-ranked Balance Studios by 10 points.
With upwards of 30 medalists, Lloyd Irvin did however place first overall in the Kids & Teen team grouping ahead of Tiger Shulman's MMA, 5,250-4,620, while Martinez BJJ (3,920) rounded out the third spot.
In addition, Lloyd Irvin adults finished second overall to Maxercise, 1,480-1,730, with Balance Studios finishing in third (1,130).
Lloyd Irvivn MMA Gi and No-Gi medalists, competing as adults, include, Roya Dervishian, Jose Esobar, Jeremy Gaston, Ray Hawkins, Shane Hill-Taylor, Derrick Holmes, Carlo Levell, Ross Olexa, and Ron Sheldon.
Though Shane and Roman's wins were in the blue belt-intermediate division, the two are still technically not considered actual blue belt level students.
In order to obtain an official Jiu-Jitsu blue belt they must compete and win a Blue Belt-Gi event recognized by the National Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.
Still, many of the same faces appear in both the Gi and No-Gi settings at such events.
Shane and Roman briefly contemplated entering into the Gi event, but opted out due to some injuries endured during their No-Gi gold runs.
Shane hurt his foot in the gold match, while Roman was toughing out a bruised wrist and shoulder.
“What we really have our site set on is the upcoming World Championships and didn't feel it was necessary to risk missing out on our upcoming training due to suffering a serious injury in Philly. I feel we made the right decision too because training has been going great and we are going very hard at the gym,” said Shane.
The young aspiring mixed martial arts students are still white belts, but are confident in winning gold in the upcoming World Championships, which would in turn promote them to the blue belt level.