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U.S. seeks to defend No-Gi World title at Grappling Worlds in Serbia, Sept. 29-Oct. 1



Kelly Anundson on the way to his title in the Absolute division of No-Gi Grappling at the 2011 U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev. Larry Slater photo

The United States is sending a talented and experienced team to compete at the FILA Grappling World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

The USA has won the No-Gi team title at the last two FILA Grappling World Championships.

Leading the U.S. team in No-Gi Grappling are past World Champions Tom LeCuyer of Torres Martial Arts at 70 kg/154 lbs. in the men’s division, Kelly Anundson of American Top Team in the men’s Absolute division and Lisa Ellis at 50 kg/110 lbs. in the women’s division.

Past Grappling World medalists competing in men’s No-Gi Grappling include Matt Betzold of the Den at 60 kg/132 lbs., Michael Kelly of Old School Wrestling at 90 kg/198 lbs. and Brandon Ruiz of Grappler`s Edge at 110 kg/242 lbs. plus Tara LaRosa of Philadelphia Fight Factory at 60 kg/132 lbs. in the women’s division.

First-time World Team members competing in No-Gi in Belgrade are Jason Soares of Freestyle Fighting Academy at 65 kg/143 lbs., Eddy Ellis of United Fight Team at 75 kg/165 lbs. and Shane Cross of Grappler`s Edge at 80 kg/176 lbs.

The U.S. features a husband and wife combination as Eddy Ellis and Lisa Ellis are married. Brandon Ruiz is the brother of 2005 Greco-Roman World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz.

All of the U.S. entries in No-Gi claimed gold medals at the U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev. on August 6.

In Gi Grappling, the U.S. was the World Team champion in 2009 and placed second in the 2010 Grappling World Championships.

Two of the No-Gi team members also won men’s Gi-Grappling titles at the U.S. World Team Trials and will be doubling up to compete in the Gi division in Belgrade, Tom LeCuyer of Torres Martial Arts at 70 kg/154 lbs. and Kelly Anundson of American Top Team in the men’s Absolute division.

First-time competitors at the World Championships in the Gi division are Jose Corones of American Pankration at 65 kg/143 lbs. and Travis Conley of KCBJJ at 90 kg/198 lbs. Both won gold medals at the U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Las Vegas.

The U.S. may enter other competitors in the Gi division as well.

Coaching the U.S. team will be Sheldon Marr of Denver, Colo. and Jeff Funicello of Mesa, Ariz. Marr, who coaches with Grappler’s Edge, has been a U.S. Grappling World Team Coach for the last three years. Funicello, who coaches with American Pankration, is a past Grappling World medalist.

Clinch Gear is sponsoring the 2011 U.S. Grappling Team with a donation of equipment, including rashguards, board shorts and gis.

Grappling, also known as submission wrestling, is growing in popularity in the United States and around the world.

2011 U.S GRAPPLING WORLD TEAM

Men No-Gi
60 KG / 132 lbs - Matt Betzold, Phoenix, Ariz. (The Den)
65 KG / 143 lbs. - Jason Soares, Key Largo, Fla. (Freestyle Fighting Academy)
70 KG / 154 lbs - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill. (Torres Martial Arts)
75 KG / 165 lbs. - Eddy Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)
80 KG / 176 lbs. - Shane Cross, Denver, Colo. (Grappler`s Edge)
90 KG / 198 lbs - Michael Kelly, Hebron, Ill. (Old School Wrestling)
110 KG / 242 lbs. - Brandon Ruiz, West Jordan, Utah (Grappler`s Edge)
Absolute - Kelly Anundson, Coral Springs, Fla. (American Top Team)
Absolute - Shane Cross, Denver, Colo. (Grappler`s Edge)
Absolute - Brandon Ruiz, West Jordan, Utah (Grappler`s Edge)

Women’s No-Gi
50 KG / 110 lbs. - Lisa Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Tara LaRosa, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory)

Men’s Gi
65 KG / 143 lbs. - Jose Corones, Tempe, Ariz. (American Pankration)
70 KG / 154 lbs. - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill., (Torres Martial Arts)
75 KG / 165 lbs. - Eddy Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)
90 KG / 198 lbs. - Travis Conley, Lee’s Summit, Mo. (KCBJJ)
110 KG / 242 lbs - Kelly Anundson, Coral Springs, Fla. (American Top Team)
Absolute - Kelly Anundson, Coral Springs, Fla. (American Top Team)
Absolute - Travis Conley, Lee’s Summit, Mo. (KCBJJ)

Women’s Gi
50 KG / 110 lbs. - Lisa Ellis, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Tara LaRosa, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory)

Coach - Sheldon Marr, Denver, Colo.
Coach - Jeff Funicello, Mesa, Ariz.

GRAPPLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
At Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 29-Oct. 1


Thursday, Sept. 29
No-Gi Grappling (60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90, 110 kg Men)
No-Gi Grappling (50, 55, 60, 65, 75 Women)

Friday, Sept. 30
No-Gi Grappling (Absolute for men and women)
Gi Grappling (60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90, 110 kg Men)
Gi Grappling (50, 55, 60, 65, 75 Women)

Saturday, October 1
Gi Grappling (Absolute for men and women)
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