Feasterville Grappling Instructor Craig Alexander Shines at NAGA
By: Sensei Thad Campbell – TSMMA Feasterville
Joshu Craig Alexander made his way to Wildwood Saturday for the largest strictly grappling tournament of the year. NAGA Wildwood has been in existence since 2001 and Alexander always targets the first weekend of August as his highlight tournament of the year.
Drawing competitors from all over the country and especially the East Coast from New England to Viriginia, it’s hard to find a more stacked grappling tournament in the world.
With nine competitors in the Advanced 150-159 pound division, Alexander had a tough road through the tournament. He was lucky enough to avoid the grapple in round and found himself matched up against a first round opponent with an amazing guard.
Alexander used his wrestling skills to secure a takedown early. His opponent was threatening submissions from all angles and was able to secure guard and half guard with amazing flexibility. It wasn’t enough to stop “Caspar” from controlling the match from start to finish.
He showed a couple highlight reel moments with a “Sakuraba” pass of guard to side-mount, essentially somersaulting over his opponent’s guard. The moved is named after one of the most famous early Mixed Martial Arts fighters who pulled the move off in the middle of a major MMA Fight.
Joshu then locked in an arm triangle as his opponent was shrimping back to half guard. Heleveraged the arm triangle to escape half guard and eventually forced the submission late in a very tough match.
His second match featured a long time local competitor, Jeff Lentz, who is a professional MMA fighter. Jeff actually competed on The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Both have been competing at NAGA for years and it is only surprising they haven’t matched up previously. The match earned cheers from the crowd for it’s competitiveness. “Caspar” eventually used it as a stage to show his amazing will and heart.
With Lentz coming from behind to tie it late in the match, the two found themselves in standup position and Alexander took control by going on the offensive and grabbing a single leg ankle pick and then followed to throw him. The match ended with one point difference between the two.
This put Joshu in the finals where he took on Fabian Rosario. Rosario, like Alexander, has been extremely successful on the local amateur MMA circuit. Unlike Alexander, he features nearly all grappling in his amateur matches, something made easier by the restrictions on ground striking in amateur MMA.
Rosario has been a stalwart on the local grappling scene for years and it was a hotly contested matchup. Rosario scored an early takedown but was stuck in Alexander’s guard reduced to avoiding submissions. Eventually “Caspar” scrambled out and it was in the scramble that Rosario was able to get a sidemount and build a quick lead. Alexander fought til the end but eventually ran out of time.
He finished second in the prestigious NAGA Advanced Division, adding to the growing list of trophies on his mantle.
Joshu Alexander is tentatively scheduled to make his Professional MMA Debut in late September! Keep an ear out for details!