Rangamar is back, takes featherweight gold


Derrick Rangamar, top, grapples against Nick Cruz, during their semis bout in the featherweight class of last Saturday’s Art of War 11: Submission Grappling/BJJ Tournament held at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Derrick “El Peligro” Rangamar had a triumphant return to the mat after winning the featherweight championship in the Art of War 11: Submission Grappling/BJJ Tournament held last Saturday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Rangamar, who missed the 2014 and 2015 editions of the same competition, topped the featherweight class after edging Guam and Spike 22’s Kenji Okiyama, 2-0, in the finals. Rangamar advanced to the title match after dominating Nick Cruz in the semis, 11-0, while Okiyama followed suit after winning via rear-naked choke at the 3:10 mark of his five-minute Final Four bout against Lorenzo Attao. Cruz settled for the bronze medal.

The Saipan MMA fighter’s victory in the featherweight finale denied Okiyama a second gold medal and ended Jesus Attao’s two-year reign in the division. Jesus moved up to the higher weight class (lightweight) of last weekend’s tournament.

Earlier in the bantamweight finals, Okiyama whipped Jay “Tabi” Muna, 18-0, while Eden Dela Cruz won the consolation bout against Kenny Velasquez, as the latter tapped out just 46 seconds into their match.

Meanwhile, Shane “Pikaboo” Alvarez and Vince “The Clinch” Masga ruled the lightweight and welterweight classes, respectively, while Giovanni Taitingfong prevailed in the flyweight division.

Shane handed Okiyama another bridesmaid finish after registering a 12-6 victory in the finals. Shane earned a finals berth in the division after ousting Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez via Kimura choke, while Okiyama defeated Rangamar in the other semis tiff. Roman went on to down Rangamar in the battle for third place, 9-0, to make it to the podium.

In the welterweight division, Masga gave Shane a dose of his own medicine as the former also used a Kimura choke on the latter to win their title duel. Before stopping Shane, Masga seem headed for a convincing win in the finale as he led, 15-0. Stanley Iakopo joined Masga and Shane in the Top 3 after shutting down youngster Joel Subang in their consolation bout, 6-0.

In the flyweight division finals, it was an all Taitingfong show as seen in his 12-2 victory over Andres Camacho. Velasquez rounded out the Top 3 in the class.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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