Unique BJJ competition comes to Aloha Theatre

KAILUA-KONA — A select group of jiu jitsu grapplers will be tested this Saturday when they pair off for the inaugural Hawaii All-Star Invitational at the Aloha Theatre.

The event will feature six matches and each match can only be ended by submission during a very lengthy 20 minute round.

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“This event is for higher belts and if there is no submission by the end then the match will be declared a draw,” said event promoter and match-maker Romolo Barros. “This is a new format and I have picked guys who have good skills and excellent jiu jitsu technique so they can put on a good submission show.”

Headlining the Hawaii All-Star Invitational is Big Island blackbelt Keola Akao and Kauai blackbelt Julian Marquez.

Marquez has been involved in jiu jitsu since he was 15 years old. At 18, he moved to California, where he continued to compete in the sport, before eventually making his return to Kauai.

“I had a bunch of friends that were older than me in Kauai and they are the ones who got me into jiu jitsu,” Marquez said. “I was very fortunate to have them as role models. They gave me something positive to chase after.”

Marquez, who is making his first trip to the Big Island since a fourth grade field trip, is excited and honored to main event against Akao and compete under the special stipulations of the match in Kealakekua.

“I have never competed in a format like this before,” Marquez said. “I have had a couple of super fights, but never for 20 minutes. Conditioning will be an issue for anyone in a match that long, but I love jiu jitsu and sometimes the matches go by so fast, it will be nice to have a little extra time.”

The Hawaii All-Star Invitational is set to start at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at hawaiiallstarBJJ.com or Alohatheatre.com.

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Other matches on the card include: Pon Gomez vs. Jhon Urushyama, Myron Kamiraha vs. Adam Taufmann, Laura Mejia vs. Traci Kuki, Logan Welsh vs. Elijah Young and Ke’aliikini Kanekoa vs. Brandon Santiago.

“This is an event with different athletes from different academies and we should see some great rivalries between schools,” Barros said. “They also have great respect for each other and compete with aloha.”