This past Saturday, December 29, 2018, Finishers MMA held their annual holiday party at Weyerbacher Brewing with the festivities beginning at 4:30. A lot of the team showed up and everyone brought a ton of food to share. Later on in the evening some promotions were handed out, including Zach and JM’s first black belt, which was awarded to Jon Blank. Ross the Boss was there of course and got some great pictures and video of all of the promotions. Read on for a full list of the promotions along with the video Ross put together. There were also a couple of blue belts given out shortly after the holiday party, so they are included in the promotion list as well. Congrats to everyone who leveled up! 2019 is going to be a huge year for the squad.
Come for the jokes, stay to watch comedians get choked. This Saturday, December 22, 2018 at the Miller Symphony Theater in Allentown will be a comedy show called Jokes and Chokes. Comedians Andy Malafarina, Tyler Rothrock and Kris Fried will be assisting Zach Maslany, JM Holland and Thad Frick of Finishers MMA on their mic skills so that they can test their hand at stand up comedy. Brian McLaughlin of Precision MMA will also be making his stand up debut alongside the Finishers guys. In return, these comics will be learning some jiu jitsu from the squad over at Finishers MMA. The goal of this event is to raise money for charity, so all proceeds will go towards Justin Wren’s Fight for the Forgotten. If you can’t attend the event but still want to donate you can do so directly here.
Finishers MMA has a new sponsor with Black Belt CBD, which is a company that not only produces CBD products but also runs their own Invitational tournament. Their first Annual Black Belt CBD Invitational was held on October 20, 2018, and was unique in that the cash prize payout for both the male and female winners of their tournament divisions were the same at $30,000 each. Finishers MMA now has Black Belt CBD products at the school for sale or you can order online using the code FINISHERS for 25% off your order.
Ross Sharrer, often referred to as Ross the Boss, is one of 10th Planet Bethlehem’s purple belts and started training at Bethlehem Finishers back in 2014, or as they say “since before the wall pads.” He originally got into training jiu jitsu because he would watch old Pride and UFC VHS tapes and the jiu jitsu guys always fascinated him. Just judging by the way they carried themselves, Ross could tell that jiu jitsu was more than just fighting and he always kept an eye out for places to train in his area. Eventually, when Zach and JM opened an academy, Ross had a feeling he would fit in and he saw how much Zach and JM sacrificed in order to make their own path and follow their dreams and really respected that.
This past Saturday, October 27, 2018, Submission Arena Grappling Championship, more commonly known as SAGC, held its 7th event headlined by Andrew Kochel and Matheus Lutes in an endurance format title match. The squad was out in full force at this event and ended up going 4-1 overall. Bethlehem purple belt, Zack Edwards, was the co-main event battling it out for the 170 lb endurance format title against young phenom Savion Maranon. Edwards finished the first round with an outside heel hook to secure the first point. The second round ended in a draw with no submissions and the third round Edwards snatched up an inside heel hook to earn a second point, taking home the 170 lb endurance format title and a nice new belt.
This past Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10th Planet Master Eddie Bravo dropped in to Bethlehem for a seminar reviewing his three favorite guard options: rubber guard, prison guard, and half guard. Eddie always has an excellent turnout when he comes to the east coast for seminars and Saturday was no different, with just about 90 people registered for the seminar, and more if you included spectators. Giulliana Fonseca was also in the house taking professional photos of the event. After the seminar, Zach and JM handed out a select few promotions as well.
This past weekend in California will probably go down as one of the most memorable in Finishers MMA history for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, congratulations are due to coach and teammate Jon “Thor” Blank for absolutely dominating EBI 17 Combat Jiu Jitsu and taking home $20,000 and a shiny new EBI belt. As if that wasn’t enough excitement for the weekend, the squad members that were out in California dropped in to 10th Planet HQ in downtown LA for their rubberguard and leg locking classes. During the leg lock class with Marvin Castelle, Eddie Bravo himself happened to show up and before anyone knew it Eddie was handing out two new black belts to our beloved coaches Zach and JM. The team knows more than anyone how much work these two put in to their jiu jitsu and their black belts have been long overdue.
This Saturday, September 29, 2018, 10th Planet Bethlehem instructor and brown belt Jon “Thor” Blank will be making his highly anticipated Eddie Bravo Invitational debut at EBI 17 in the very first 16-man combat jiu jitsu tournament at 185 lbs. The event will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass so make sure you tune in to watch him put in some work for the squad. MyMMANews wrote about Thor and some of his accomplishments headed into EBI 17, including his recent big win against Danaher Death Squad’s Ryan Quinn at Kasai Pro 3. You can check the article out here.
Mike Henninger is one of 10th Planet Bethlehem’s purple belts and started training at Bethlehem about 3 years ago, when they were still at the old location. He originally got into training jiu jitsu because one of his sons had started karate around the age of 14 and he never wanted his son to be able to kick his ass. With that said, he wasn’t particularly interested in karate, so instead him and his son both started grappling with wrestlers in the basement of the building where his son’s karate classes were held in about 2008. Mike continued to work with this same group of wrestlers for numerous years, but they were more focused on MMA generally whereas Mike had fallen in love with ground work and jiu jitsu.
This weekend kicked off with the very first Finishers Open tournament, featuring EBI rules for all weight classes and skill levels so that anyone can test their submission only prowess. The tournament started out right on time and was probably the first tournament I’ve ever competed in where the matches were actually ahead of schedule rather than running behind. Approximately 130 competitors ended up participating and there were a lot of exciting matches throughout the day, with first and second place winners taking home gold and silver medals for their efforts.
Tomorrow, Saturday, July 28, 2018 Show the Art will be hosting a qualifier tournament at Subforce BJJ in Lyndhurst, New Jersey to determine the last competitor in the Finishers 6 155lbs Pro Division. The qualifier will be streamed live on the Show the Art youtube page. You can still register for the qualifier online for $80 to or pay $90 cash at the door. The winner of the qualifier is automatically entered into the Finishers 6 on August 12 and will be exempt from the typical $100 entrance fee.
Kasai Pro 3 on Saturday, August 18 is rapidly shaping up to be the most entertaining jiu jitsu event of the year. The silent assassin Grace Gundrum will be taking on Izabella Frezzo of Notorious Mixed Martial Arts. Coach Zach Maslany will be facing Mikael Yahaya of Absolute MMA, and Jon “Thor” Blank will be facing Ryan Quinn of Renzo Gracie Academy.
The 6th Finishers Sub Only Pro Invitational will be held Sunday, August 12th beginning at 10 a.m. and this time will be at a new location, SubForce BJJ in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The Finishers 6 will feature a main event matchup between EBI veterans John Battle and Ashley Williams, as well as numerous superfights (full list below) and a 155 pound 16 man tournament. The winner of the lightweight tournament will receive $2,500 cash for their efforts.
Jaime Schklowsky is a blue belt at 10th Planet Bethlehem and is a Sergeant First Class in the US Army, currently the Station Commander for the Bethlehem Army Career Station. Jaime has served in the Army Reserve for 10 years now, and originally enlisted because he and some of his high school friends had always planned to go into the military together, although originally they imagined they would be Marines. Jaime graduated high school a year late largely because he spent most of his time working to help support his mother and their household.
For those of you who didn’t catch it, JM recently posted on his Instagram a screenshot of a text with Eddie Bravo where Eddie informed him that he finally got upkicks approved by the athletic commission for use in future combat jiu jitsu events. JM also discussed the change and how it came about a bit more in depth recently on Brandon Mccaghren’s Podcast BMac’s Audio Adventure.
This Friday, May 18, the Rise Submission Invitational heads to the Capitale NY for its 4th event starting at 8 p.m. The event will be streamed live on FloGrappling and Zach Maslany has an undercard match against Mario Hernandez. This isn’t the first time Zach has competed at Rise Invitational, as he also made an appearance at their last event along with Jon Blank and JM Holland. Check out Zach’s match below from the Rise Invitational 3.
Will Johnson is a 10th Planet Bethlehem blue belt and trains in both the kickboxing and jiu jitsu programs at the school. He found his start with 10th Planet because his younger brother was training in the kids program at the time and JM, in his typical fashion, gave him a hard time until he started training as well right along with the kids. That was about 2 and a half years ago now and Will has pretty much been helping out as a kid’s instructor ever since. He also helps by teaching some of the kickboxing classes at the school and is there working on his own game just about every day of the week.
If you were to pass by 17 year old Paul Kameen on the street you probably wouldn't suspect that this young teen has so many hidden talents. About 11 months ago, inspired largely by hearing about mma and 10th planet jiu jitsu on Joe Rogan's podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, Paul took to google in order to determine his closest 10th planet location and start training. 10th Planet locations are sparse on the east coast and 10th Planet Bethlehem/Finishers MMA was the closest location that popped up.
One of the best things about training under Zach and JM at 10th Planet Bethlehem is that you can see they truly believe in the techniques they are teaching their students and they are using them in high level competitions. Almost exactly a year ago in April 2017, 10th Planet Bethlehem hosted ADCC veteran David Avellan for a seminar on his kimura trap system.
This Monday, April 16, 10th Planet Bethlehem will be having a quick in-house qualifier tournament at 8:00 p.m. before the regular advanced class begins in order to determine who will represent the squad in the Radius Invitational 3. Students are welcome to stop in to watch the action and advanced class will proceed immediately after.