Sport

Club wants fans to submit to its charms

  • Hands on: Zavier Rawlins, 19, bottom, tries to break from a hold from Tekla Smith, 18, at Bermuda Combat Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Local fighters will likely be forced to “tap, snap or nap” when Bermuda Combat Club holds its Submission Grappling Middleweight Championship at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday night.

The three-bout contest will be single-elimination and involve four fighters who train at Bermuda Combat Club under the Brazilian Top Team umbrella, which has branches all over the world.

Tekla Smith has been pitted against Donnie Matthew, while Zavier Rawlins will face Joshua Smith in the championship, which is part of the “Undefeated” fight card featuring professional boxer Nikki Bascome against Portugals’s Fabio Costa.

Submission grappling is a relatively new sport to Bermuda and is a form of martial arts, including judo, wrestling, Brazilian jujitsu, sambo. The aim is to obtain victory through the use of submission holds.

Mark Prior, the owner of Bermuda Combat Club, said the bouts would exhibit the type of ground-game grappling seen in the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“It’s going to be action packed; these guys have been training for a couple of months now,” said Prior, who opened Bermuda Combat Club on Reid Street in August. “These guys are solid white belts and it’s going to be fast-paced, tap, snap and nap. There will be very little chance of it going to the scorecards, that’s for sure.

“There will be no striking, just submission grappling; it will force versus force.”

The Bermuda Combat Club put on bouts at the Battalion Boxing fight night at Berkeley Institute in September.

“Our first public fight night [at Battalion Boxing] generated a bit of buzz and now we’ve got the momentum going for submission grappling,” Prior added.

“Hopefully we can be involved in most, if not all, of the fight nights going forward. We would like to do a submission grappling and jujitsu fight night ourselves.”

Each fight will be one five-minute round and adopt rules from the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

“The fighters can’t hold a position for more than 30 seconds,” Prior said.

“They will have to stand up and re-engage; it will be attack, attack, attack!”

“Our current middleweight champion, Chad Nelmes, is off the island, so these guys will be vying for the vacant title.

“We have champions in different weight divisions and have our own ranking system — the scene is definitely growing.

“A lot of people have reached out as they’re fans of the UFC and they can see that the ground game is a big part of it. That’s exactly what we do.”