Four Chicagoans Qualify for the FILA Grappling World Championships

Posted by Danielle Hobeika on October - 23 - 2009 with Comments Off on Four Chicagoans Qualify for the FILA Grappling World Championships

IMG_1253.jpgFour Chicagoans placed top 3 in their weight classes in the FILA Grappling World Team Trials No-Gi division on October 23, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ. By placing top 3 at the event, they earned spots on the US World Team at the 2009 FILA Grappling World Championships to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 12-13.

2008 World Bronze Medalist Tom LeCuyer (Atlas XT/Torres Martial Arts) dominated the 66 kg/145.5 lb weight division. Tom won two of his first three bouts by submission, and went on to defeat Denny Prokopos of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu in the finals by a 1-0 margin.

Placing second at the Trials were MMA fighter and former Northern Illinois University wrestler Matt Kucala (Gilbert Grappling) and Founder and Photographer Danielle Hobeika (Overtime MMA).

Matt Kucala was in a tight 3-3 match with Zachary Makovsky (Philadelphia Fight Factory) in the 60 kg/132 lb finals. With seconds left in the match, Makovsky hit a flying cement job and was able to secure full mount position, earning him a 6-3 win over Kucala.

Danielle Hobeika (Overtime MMA) earned a second place finish in the women’s 55 kg/121 lb round robin competition. She lost to World Team Trials champion Stephanie Murata (Sunkist Kids) by a 4-1 margin, and defeated Shasta McMurry (American Pankration) by submission (Rear naked choke, 1:00).

2007 World Bronze Medalist Michael Kelly (Gilbert Grappling) earned a bronze medal in the 74 kg/163 lb weight division of the World Team Trials. Kelly earned 3 submission victories in the process, including his 3rd place bout victory over Jesse Valdez (Team Prasara), which came by North-South choke at 1:27.

LeCuyer and Kelly also entered the gi division of the World Team Trials on October 24th and placed first and second, respectively. The pair are now eligible to participate in both the gi and no-gi events at the Worlds.

Also competing at the event was Danny Rubenstein (Valko BJJ, 84 kg/185 lbs). Rubenstein did not place top 3, but fought a couple hard bouts, including an exciting match with the 2009 Grappling World Team Trials Champion and 2008 US Olympic Wrestler Ben Askren. To watch the video from this bout, click here.

For photos from the 2009 Grappling World Team Trials, visit the photo gallery or visit Larry Slater’s photo gallery.

For more information on the 2009 World Team Trials, including results, videos, interviews, and more, visit



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