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      Athlete Spotlight

      Kingz Watch - Ffion Davies.

      Kingz Watch - Ffion Davies.

      With the Current Pandemic and Lockdown measures the world is facing, Jiu Jitsu is currently off the table for most of us. However the IBJJF and Flograppling have been releasing matches from their extensive libraries for us to enjoy while being stuck at home ! We thought we would bring you our list of our favorite Ffion Davies match ups available on the IBJJF Youtube ! 

      Ffion Davies vs Jessica Flowers - European championship 2020

      The most recent entry on this list, Ffion was aiming to make history by becoming the lightest athlete to win the European Absolutes. She faced Gracie Barra's Jessica Flowers a heavyweight competitor who was a Pan and World NoGi champion. Jessica would pull guard, but Ffion ended up breaking her opponents closed guard and passing forcing Jessica to attempt to turtle where Ffion would take the back and close out the match trying to submit Jessica from the back.

      Ffion Davies vs Amanda Monteiro - World Nogi 2018 

      Ffion's first major title as a black belt, this was Ffions black belt major debut. In the finals she faced a world champion in GF Teams Amanda Monteiro, in her first Black belt major finals Ffion would dominate and win 7-0 to secure her first world title. 

      Ffion Davies vs Gabriela Fechter - European Championships 2019 

      Ffions first major black belt Gi title. she faced a familiar foe in Gabriela Fechter who she fought on her rise through the belts. In this instance Ffion would dominate Fechter sweeping and passing her guard finishing on the back with a choke. An impressive debut for her first major black belt Gi title. 

      Ffion Davies vs Karen Antunes - Pan Championship 2019

      At the 2019 Pan Championship Ffion faced the defending world champion of her weight class in Karen Antunes, providing the biggest test of her young black belt career. In a close match up, Ffion took the win after taking Karen down before being swept and sweeping her back for the 4-2 win. 

      Ffion Davies vs Ana Carolina Schmitt - Brasileiro 2019 

       Ffion became the first british athlete to take gold at the Brasileiros at Black belt in 2019, where she faced Ana Carolina Schmitt in a dominating performance. Taking the back and choking the tough Scmitt. Scmitt would win the worlds later on in the year further showing how impressive Ffion's win was. 

      Kingz Watches - Espen Mathiesen

      Kingz Watches - Espen Mathiesen

      With the Current Pandemic and Lockdown measures the world is facing, Jiu Jitsu is currently off the table for most of us. However the IBJJF and Flograppling have been releasing matches from their extensive libraries for us to enjoy while being stuck at home ! We thought we would bring you our list of our favorite Espen match ups available on Youtube ! 

      Espen Mathiesen vs Adriano Araujo - London Winter Open 2020 

      *IBJJF Youtube*

      Espen competed this year at the IBJJF London Winter Open, where in the final he took on Adrian Araujo. After a dissapointing 2020 Europeans where he competed way above his natural weight class. He fought closer to homes at the London Winter Open winning the finals of the middleweight division by Bow and arrow choke in a signature performance. 

      Espen Mathiesen vs Yan Pica-Pau - Copa Podio Lightweight Grand Prix

      *Copa Podio Youtube* 

      Part of Espens coming out was at brown belt where he won the Europeans and Pan American tournaments. He was also able to place 2nd at the mix brown and black belt copa Podio tournament. He faced Yan Pica Pau, where he was able to take a 4-2 win, finishing in strong position on the back ready to set up a choke after a great back and forth match up. 

      Espen Mathiesen vs Renato Canuto - Copa Podio Lightweight Grand Prix

      *Copa Podio Youtube* 

      In the Copa Podio Grand Prix, Espen would also face the rising Black belt Renato Canuto. Canuto gained plaudits for his extremely aggresive fan friendly style. Against Mathiesen, he found a willing dance partner. In a close match up, Espen would win via points. 

      Espen Mathiesen vs Edwin Najmi - World Championship 2018 

      *IBJJF Youtube* 

      Espen made a massive impression at his Black belt Worlds debut, where he was able to defeat Michael Liera Jr and Celso Vinicius. In the Quarter Finals he faced Edwin Najmi, who had defeated Mathiesen at the Europeans earlier in the year, but Espen was able to get a narrow Refs decision victory at the World Pro. However this meeting would be very different. After a long feeling out period where Espen would play Guard, he would sweep and pass the guard of Najmi before transitioning to the back and submitting Najmi ! 

       Espen Mathiesen vs Gareth Neale - Copenhagen Open 2017 

      *IBJJF Youtube* 

      Espen's Rookie black belt year started with a bang, winning the Copenhagen Open in impressive fashion, submitting british black belt Gareth Neale in 3 minutes with a tarikoplata submission. 

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Espen Mathiesen

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Espen Mathiesen

      One of the most successful European Black belts Espen Mathiesen was born in the small town of Egersund on the west coast of Norway. 

      While always pursuing athletic endeavours, originally football, he would find Jiu Jitsu at the age of 16 and fall in love immediately. He would soon give up football to devote more time towards BJJ, his first instructor would have limited time to teach therefore Espen would buy his own mats to drill at his home. He would soon be introduced to Jose Carlos at a seminar and would soon begin visiting the Nova Uniao academy in Haugesund. Espen had always planned to go to university but before that he took a year off to focus on BJJ totally, visiting the USA and training extensively at the Mendes Brothers academy and Gustavo Dantas's academy in Arizona, this would eventually result in a silver medal at the IBJJF World Championships. 

      It was this result which convinced him to pursue a full time career in BJJ, and he hasnt looked back. He would move to Haugesund full time to train with his friends Tommy Langaker and Vegard Randeberg It was at brown belt where Espen would begin to gain some notoriety, winning the IBJJF Europeans and Pans alongside his team mate Tommy Langaker. Espen would make a splash on the black belt ranks while only a brown belt at the Copa Podio making his way to the finals, losing to Isaque Bahiense by a narrow margin of 2 points. Espen would continue the success he had at brown belt, at the highest level, winning multiple IBJJF Opens, winning the 2018 UAEJJF World Pro in the u77kg division beating established black belt competitors such as Edwin Najmi, Yan Cabral and Jake Mackenzie in the finals ! He would follow this performance on with a IBJJF World Championship Bronze medal, beating athletes such as Atos JJ's Michael Liera Jr and submitting Edwin Najmi before losing to Lightweight legend Lucas Lepri by a single advantage ! 

      After a quiet 2019, with a highlight reel worth finish on Polaris Pro, Espen recently won the IBJJF London Winter Open 2020, and we cant wait to see him win an IBJJF World Title in the future ! 


      We caught up Espen and gave him some quick fire questions to finish the Blog! 

      Favourite competition you’ve done - My favourite competition has to be European Open IBJJF. The energy in the venue is always amazing and it is nice to compete in Europe. My favourite year would have to be in 2017 when i was able to win the competition as a Brown belt!

      Favourite technique - Matrix backtake has to be my favourite technique. You can get it from everywhere and is it very effective, both me and my team mate Tommy have used it extensively in Competition, you can learn it at Wulfinghouse.com !!

      Favourite submission - My favourite submission is the armbar. 

      Any sporting heroes? - I don't have any particular heroes.

      Gi or nogi ? - I prefer the Gi and I always have. The gi gives more options and I find it more technical.

      Favourite Gi - Balistico 3.0 is my favourite gi. It is solid and looks good.

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Richard Bukovcsan

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Richard Bukovcsan

      Training out of East Coast Jiu Jitsu Academy (ECJJA) Richard, known as Richy B, is one of many competitors coming out of the famed Irish gym. 

      Headed by Irish Jiu jitsu legend Darragh O'Conaill, ECJJA has become a competition powerhouse, famously the home of fellow Kingz athlete Ffion Davies, there other black belts such as Progress JJ's Marcus Phelan, Sam McNally and recent Polaris Pro winner brown belt Shane Fishman. Leading the coloured belts however is Richy B, if you compete on the European circuit, you've definitely seen Richy most likely in a final and on the top step of the podium. 

      Originally from Romania, his family would move to Ireland at the age of 9, Richy would start BJJ at the age of 14, he found a local academy where he would earn his blue belt at 16, it was at this point he would look to move to a more competition orientated academy. ECJJA was such a place, with the head coach Darragh consistently winning IBJJF Opens and placing on Major Podiums, the move was only natural. 

      Richy would win a European Silver medal in the juvenile division before moving up to the adult divisions. As a blue belt he would dominate the IBJJF national competitions, taking Golds in Madrid, Rome and London while placing third at the IBJJF European open in 2016. He suffered a nasty knee injury keeping him on the sidelines for almost year before returning as a Purple belt winning multiple IBJJF Golds in Dublin, London and Rome, recently taking a bronze at the IBJJF European NoGi Championships. 

      At only 23 years of age, we can't to see him continue his journey ! 

      Favourite competition - The IBJJF Worlds for sure, nothing compares to competing on the world stage.

      Favourite technique - De La Riva w/Pant & Collar grip 

      Favourite submission - Bow and Arrow Choke

      Sporting heroes - Keenan Cornelius, Isaque Bahiense and of course my Coach Darragh !

      Gi or NoGi - Gi

      Favourite Gi Kingz Balistico Black Ops. 

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Max Lindblad.

      Kingz Athlete Spotlight - Max Lindblad.

      Known by his nickname, Killer Carrot, due to his hair colour, Max Lindblad has emerged as one of Europe's top BJJ competitors. 
      Born in Stockholm Sweden, Max promoted to Black belt by Kent Hammarström of Prana JJ after a stellar brown belt career, training in Stockholm, he also heads over to the legendary Alan Finfou's academy to train. If you're interested in seeing the training lifestyle in Stockholm, check out our short documentary on Max HERE

      Max had a prolific coloured belt career, winning the IBJJF European Open at both Blue and Purple belt. Along with podium finishes at the IBJJF World Championships and Europeans at brown belt. He would also win the UAEJJF World Pro at Brown belt along with AJP tour Grandslams. 

      Max has continued winning ways at Black belt including Gold medals at the IBJJF German Nationals, the London Open and is a two time AJP London Grandslam winner at black belt along with two third place finishes at the Tokyo and Abu Dhabi grandslams. 

      We caught up Max and gave him some quick fire questions to finish the Blog! 

      Favourite competition - Ive competed all around Europe and the world, but by far my favourite competition is the IBJJF World Championships in California. The atmosphere in the Pyramid is definitely something special. Add to that, you know you are fighting the best the world has to offer on the biggest stage, it really is a special feeling ! 

      Favourite technique - My favourite technique would definitely have to be something from spider guard. I'm not really sure, but if i had to choose it would be either the scissor sweep or balloon sweep, but it changes from day to day !

      Favourite submission - I'd say my favourite submission is a choke from the back, but i think the most beautiful submission is the armbar. Its something to see someone tap to a well executed armbar. 

      Sporting heroes - Michael Langhi has always been a hero of mine, for me, he has the most beautiful style of guard there is. The way he would sweep his opponents always seemed so effortless. I also admire the Miyao Brothers, for me their work ethic is second to none. 

      Gi or NoGi - I prefer the Gi ! To be honest I'm not really one for much NoGi.

      Favourite Gi The Kingz Balistico 3.0 is the best looking Gi on the market !