WATCH: The hour-long grappling superfight that set a new record

Navarro_Zamboanga_Grappling Superfight_Dojo Drifter

Drex Zamboanga and Harvey Navarro made history after an hour-long grappling superfight during the Toughguys Close Combat Grappling Championship 2016.

[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]“W[/mks_dropcap]e are competing in a grappling superfight, so we showed them a true superfight.”
Those are the words of BJJ purple belter Harvey Navarro after a grueling no-gi grappling match against MMA champion Drex Zamboanga. The two men locked horns in the semi-finals of the 2016 Toughguys Close Combat Grappling Championship for an incredible 1 hour and 15 seconds.

Everyone watching that evening was in awe of what unfolded. Navarro and Zamboanga, both teammates in Kamphuis Fabricio BJJ Academy, went back-and-forth with submission attempts and reversals. There were instances of close calls — Navarro caught Zamboanga in a toe hold while a rear-naked choke happened vice-versa — but no one budged until the very end.

“On the first 10 minutes, I was expecting that someone would give up or at least before we reach 30 minutes. Next thing I know, we’ve gone past 30 minutes,” says Navarro during an interview with Dojo Drifter right after the match. [mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]“I didn’t expect this to end after an hour.”[/mks_pullquote] He continues, “And then I thought maybe I will break down or I’ll tap. But when I heard my students shouting and my friends cheering me on, it’s like, I’m refreshed after they shout and I fought with heart. I didn’t expect this to end after an hour.”

The 8-man superfight tournament had no time limit, and according to Toughguys International coach Joshua Abella, the event’s organizer, the longest record held was 45 minutes. This hour-long semifinal match shattered that record, and it literally took the best from both contestants.

“When Joshua was shouting we broke the 48-minute mark, it’s already an achievement for me. But (grappling) for an hour? I haven’t heard any match in the Philippines that lasted for an hour. Maybe it’s the longest match in any competition that has happened,” Navarro adds.

Here’s the full fight uploaded by Joshua Abella on his Youtube page:

Ultimately, Zamboanga’s opportunity came when Navarro exhausted his arms after a prolonged toe hold attempt. Approaching the 1-hour mark, Navarro could no longer defend the rear-naked choke and eventually tapped out.

“Sobrang masaya na nakakapagod” [It’s fun, but exhausting], Zamboanga describes how he felt after winning the match.

“Alam naman natin na kilala si Harvey (Navarro) sa Jiu-jitsu at nag-gogold medal din siya sa Judo. Napakagaling niya sa ground kasi kitang-kita naman na kamuntikan na niya ako ma-rear naked choke. Masaya kasi bukod na naging teammate ko siya, nakasama ko siya lumaban dito sa Toughguys (Tournament). Hindi na alam ung tumatakbo sa laban kung susuko ba siya or susuko ako. Pero siyempre ang strength ko galing sa Panginoon kaya hindi talaga ako susuko.” [mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]“I don’t know what was going on in my head; if he’s going to quit or I’m going to quit.”[/mks_pullquote][We all know that Harvey Navarro is well-known in Jiu-jitsu and he won gold medals in Judo. He’s so good on the ground, obviously, because he almost finished me with a rear-naked choke. I’m just happy because aside from being my teammate, we’ve also competed here in the Toughguys Tournament. I don’t know what was going on in my head; if he’s going to quit or I’m going to quit. But of course, our strength comes from God, so I won’t ever quit.]  
Zamboanga moved on to the finals of grappling superfight and won over DEFTAC-Ribeiro’s Patrick Gambe.

The three-stripe white belter mentions, “Actually, sa akin kung ano lang ang makita ko na chance kukunin ko. Once na makakuha ako ng position, automatic na. Nasasanay na ang katawan ko na ganun ang ginagawa ko.” [Actually, for me, whatever chance I see, I go for it. As soon as I get a position, it’s automatic. My body is getting used to that approach.]  
Navarro, meanwhile, quips about the superfight tournament, “It’s the only one with no rules and no time limit. I can’t really imagine that I fought for that long, but it happened. I just showed that in Jiu-jitsu we don’t lose, we just learn.”

Don Gaoiran

Rabble-rouser at Dojo Drifter
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