It’s a Friday night and i’m checked into my AirBNB and am about ready to experience one of the most exciting things in my blogging career so far. I get to be backstage, photograph and cover Polaris 4. This Polaris event, features some of the worlds best fighters and Coaches that I will get to meet and chat to face to face and photograph over the next two days, and to say I was excited was an instatement. I was terrified.
I entered the weigh in room about an hour earlier than was due, so I could get myself settled, introduce myself the the Polaris organisers, consisting of team members from Tatami Fightwear and Scramble, and get ready for perhaps one of the most surreal moments of my life so far. As I settle down, I see a nervous Nathan Orchard walk in looking frail and gaunt, apparently he had to cut 16lbs during the day to make sure he was on weight to fight his opponent Imanari, when he walked on to check his weight he was still 400 grams out and looking nervous. Imanari would not fight him if he was over weight…
Slowly and surely fighters made their weigh into the weigh in room, pleasantries were exchanged with AJ Agazarm and selfies were snapped with Dillon Danis and Gordan Ryan and then we were underway at the weigh ins. Everything went smoothly, Nate Orchard can in at weight for his fight against Imanari and all other fighters came in at weight, apart from Gilbert Burns, who missed out on weight by around 10lbs, obviously John Danaher, Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan all got onto social media to vent, but the fight was still on.
After the weigh ins, some fighters mingled, while others went to eat, I myself sat with members of Podium and BJJ Style frantically trying to get something on social media, ready to hype the event.
Polaris 4 Fight Day
It’s the day over the event and myself and Mike from Podium were up early, getting ready for the long day ahead. We drive from Bournemouth to Poole and get to the venue for 12:30pm, ready for the Prelim weigh ins at 1:30pm. We grab our passes and head backstage to the media room, excitement builds as I was shown around backstage to the fighters dressing rooms, warmup areas and eventually the media green room, where I met some friendly faces from the night before. Before I knew it, I grabbed my camera and it was time for the prelim weigh ins, everything goes smoothly for the prelim guys, smiles were exchanged and hugs were had and the prelim fighters were excited to get the show up and running in a few hours time. After the weigh ins I had a few hours to kill before the preliminary fights, so again after frantically getting pictures onto social media, I decided to take in the experience and get in the zone ready for the night ahead.
The venue opens and it’s time for the local fighters to make their name in the BJJ scene, in Polaris 3 the preliminary fights were some of the most exciting matches and Polaris 4 was ready to crank it to 11. While I would do a play-by-play review of each prelim fight, it’s better if you watch them for free here. All fights are action packed, including a stunning Ippon Seo-Nagi from Jeff Lawson, that will more than likely see him return to the Polaris card, maybe on the main event.
1st match @64kg / gi
REYCE ASESIMBA VS DYLAN O’BRIEN
2nd match @83kg / no gi
JANIS RIEKSTINS VS MIHA PERHAVEC
3rd match @62kg / no gi
PHIL HARRIS VS SPENCER HEWITT
4th match @73kg / gi
PAUL BRIDGES VS JEFF LAWSON
5th match @73kg / gi
MARCO CANHA VS ROSS NICHOLLS
Polaris 4 Main Event
The fighters get called down the aisle one by one ready for the line up and the Polaris 4 event begins. There is a sense of excitement in the air and people are predicting this could be the best Polaris yet. This year sees a new judging system in place that will determine a winner if there is no submission.
Tom Breese vs Ben Dyson
Both hailing from the UK, Tom Breese and Ben Dyson go at it from the beginning. Hoping to replicate his coach’s (Jeff Lawson) success earlier Ben and Tom stand and feel each other out for a while until Tom hits a take down on Ben. The match is back and forth, with both guys looking for leg locks and ends with Ben Dyson giving everything he has trying to rip Tom’s defensive arm out to setup a triangle. The match ends with no submission with the judges making their first decision of the night.
Winner – Tom Breese via Judges’ Decision
Dominyka Obelenyte vs Yas Wilson
Our 2nd match of the night is a catchweight bought with the Marcello Garcia black belt Dominyka Obelenyte squaring off again the Roger Gracie black belt Yas Wilson. Dominyka is a force to be reckoned with, coming off of her world championship wins, she weighs 27kg heavier than Yas Wilson, but Yas is game and ready for battle.
Unfortunately the match goes a way a lot of people predicted, with Dominyka using her weight advantage to full effect, mounting Yas for the majority of the fight. But Wilson is scrappy, she’s rolled with Roger, so she knows all about weight advantages. Yas defends multiple attacks from Dominyka, to take the match to it’s full 15 minute time limit.
Winner Dominyka Obelenyte via Judges’ Decision
Eduardo ‘Teta’ Rios VS Charles Negromonte
Both Rios and Negromonte are looking pumped and ready when the match begins. In typical heavyweight fashion the match sees no guard pulling but lots of good wrestling. Highlights of the match included a devastating double leg from Eduardo that made the whole stage shake, but that was not enough to see of Charles. Negromonte got into to full mount and attacked a number of submissions to take this fight to it’s full conclusion.
Winner Charles Megromonte via Judges’ Decision
Nate Orchard vs Masaku Imanari
A clash of styles make this fight an interesting spectical to behold. The 10th planet black belt Nathan Orchard was standing toe to toe with the legendary leg-lock specialist Masaku Imanari. The match is more of a one sided affair, with Nate looking to pass guard with double unders, while Imanari tried to defend with an old-school head scissors. Nate, looking much stronger than he did the previous day manages to get to Masaku’s back and submit him with a rear naked choke. At the end of the match you can see the crest fallen Imanari stand on the side lines contemplating his future in competing, while the young candle burns bright for Orchard’s submission career.
Winner: Nathan Orchard via Rear Naken Choke
Jackson Souza vs Dillon Danis
As a fan of both of these fighters I was excited to see these two go at it. The match was purely fireworks, with both fighters falling off the stage, John Kavanagh shouting at referee Ollie Geddes for stopping an arm-in guillotine due to them being out of the mat area. Dillon played his usual guard style while Jackson looking to dominate the top position with multiple guard pass attempts, but in the end it was Danis who snatched the victory with a heel hook.
Winner: Dillon Danis via Heel Hook
AJ Agazarm vs Minowaman
For the first time ever AJ Agazarm did not try to hype the fight with his usual pre-event trash talking. “You can’t really train for someone like Minowaman,” AJ told me in a previous conversation. “You just have to go out there and feel him out”. And that’s exactly what happened.
That match starts with the crowd cheering and wolf whistling Minowaman for his pro-wresting style red trunks and Agazarm looking slightly trepidatious. After a little light show boating from each fighter, the match beings with a sprawl from hell from Minowaman, which was stuffed by a re-shoot from Agazarm. AJ swiftly get’s to mount and finishes the fight with a mounted triangle.
Winner: AJ Agazarm via Mounted Triangle
Garry Tonon vs Gilbert Burns
With Burns missing weight and the DDS members piping up on social media, you knew this match was going to be exciting. The match starts off with a brutal double leg from Burns and Tonon defending his guard passing, but the big man got tired and after successfully defending Tonon’s leg entries from dogfight position, Tonon finally secures victory with a heel hook.
Winner: Garry Tonon vs Heel Hook
Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro vs Fernando Terere
After a 15 year weight the rematch to Shaolin vs Terere was about to happen. While this fight had the legacy aspect to it, unfortunately it didn’t have the action of the previous bouts. With Shaolin playing catchup to Terere’s dynamic guard pass and take down, the match ends up with Terere being stuck in Shaolin’s closed guard.
Winner: Fernando Terere via Judges Decision
Overall Polaris 4’s new judging system allowed for some dynamic fights, even if they ended up in a draw and this event will be up there as one of their best events yet. A special thank you goes out to the guys who run Polaris for letting me cover their event, Podium and BJJ Style for looking after me at my first big event and Meerkatsu for keeping me company mat side while we shot the event. See you guys at Polaris 5!