Manglona rules NAGA event in Phoenix

Keli “Maga’lahi” Manglona continues to reap awards in the U.S. mainland after recently competing in two consecutive grappling and Jiu-jitsu events.

Manglona scooped up gold and bronze medals in the tough 2015 North American Grappling Association Phoenix Grappling Championship held on Feb. 28 and March 1 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Keli “Maga’lahi” Manglona continues to put the CNMI on the mixed martial arts map while competing in various jiu-jitsu tournaments in the mainland. (Contributed Photo)

Keli “Maga’lahi” Manglona continues to put the CNMI on the mixed martial arts map while competing in various jiu-jitsu tournaments in the mainland. (Contributed Photo)

The Airman Warrior of Glendale’s Luke Air Force Base in a week before that placed second in another equally tough tournament, the 10th Arizona International Open of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

The Tinian native, fighting out of Team John Crouch Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, topped the men’s Gi purple belt cruiserweight division in the NAGA event beating Ralph Gracie’s Rich O’Toole via chokehold.

He then finished third in the men’s No-Gi expert cruiserweight class behind champion Kyle Boehm and runner-up Curt Howard, who are Arizona Combat Sports teammates.

NAGA was formed in 1995 and it organizes submission, grappling, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournaments in North America and Europe. They hold the largest submission and grappling tournaments in the world where more than 200,000 participants join.

Manglona, in the Arizona International Open, settled for the silver medal in the Over-18 purple adult heavyweight (208 lbs) division won by GD Jiu-jitsu Academy’s Adrian Nez.

“It was another great weekend of competition. Two consecutive weekends of great competition and I can’t complain with the merchandise I pulled,” said Manglona, who is this year’s United Grappling Federation California State Grappling champion.

“Thank you God for keeping me healthy. Thank you to my family and friends, whether near or far, for all the love and support, and thank you to my coaches and team for all the help,” he added.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.
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