Over 200 fighters, who are in the early stages of learning how to fight in the mixed martial arts scene, are taking part in Art Suave Manila, a Brazilian jiujitsu competition.
The competition is now on its fourth year and is enjoying a better than ever turnout ever since it was held Commercenter in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
The competition caters mostly to the white and blue belt fighters.
“The spotlight is on them. Now that it’s the advent of the internet, everything is happening fast for them. They are getting plenty of support,” said organizer Franco Rulloda last Saturday.
Rulloda talked about the competitions with Bianca Pabello, junior marketing manager of Commercenter Alabang.
Rulloda, is the co-founder and president of Triumvirate Fighting and himself is a brown belter with the Deftac-Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Philippines.
Rulloda said newcomers in the sport are getting a lot of attention nowadays because of the abundance of support from sponsors and fans alike, who wish to help them advance from their present levels.
Organizers noted that the number of competitors has grown steadily since the very first Arte Suave Manila in 2015, with 2018 bringing in a total of 204 fighters.
Rulloda observed that the tournament has grown since having 85 entries on their maiden year in 2015.
Now 34, Rulloda said he and his brother are focusing on BJJ for the last six years.
He and his brother have been in the fight scene since 2006, moving around from muay thai, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, judo, jiujitsu and MMA.
The growth of jiujitsu in Metro Manila got a boost when the marketing arm of Commercenter, through Isay Roque, proposed that they hold it at the quiet and posh mall located along Commerce Avenue corner East Asia Drive in Filinvest-Alabang.
Since then, many fighters are coming not only from within the Southern Metro Manila area, but from other locations as well.
Arte Suave Manila is also the first local event to introduce Superfights, which are 10-minute submission-only bouts featuring a mix of up-and-coming and established names both in BJJ an MMA.
Previous headliners from the jiujitsu scene include Myron Mangubat, the youngest black belt of Deftac-Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Philippines.
Then, there’s Kaila Napolis, a purple Belt of Checkmat Philippines and a member of the Philippine national team.
Pat Jamlang, a brown belt from Origins Jiu-Jitsu is also around, and so is Justin Ceriola, a blue belt from Deftac-Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Philippines.
Ceriola was recently honored with a Siklab Superkids Award by the Philippine Olympic Committee.