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Aguilar wins women’s No-Gi Grappling World title, and nine U.S. men qualify for finals

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jessica Aguilar (Coconut Creek, Fla./American Top Team) won the first gold medal for the U.S. team during the opening session of the No-Gi competition of the FILA World Grappling Championships at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center on Saturday morning.

Aguilar won two bouts in a three-athlete round-robin at 59 kg/130 lbs. to capture the gold medal. Her second victory clinched the title, where she scored a last-second move to break a scoreless tie to defeat 2007 World Wrestling Games champion Tara LaRosa (Woodstown, N.J./Philadelphia Fight Factory).

Nine U.S. men's wrestlers have earned spots in the gold-medal finals, which will be held at the 6:30 p.m. session.

Four of the men's No-Gi gold medal finals feature two U.S. athletes battling for the title.

The bout at 60 kg/132 lbs. has some special interest as 2009 Grappling World Team Trials champion Zach Makovsky will battle fellow American Matt Betzold (Phoenix, Ariz./Gracie Barra Lions Den), who was fourth in the Trials event. Betzold, who is a left-leg amputee, defeated Grappling World medalist Brian Peterson (Valencia, Calif./Big John McCarthy's UTA) in the semifinals to earn his spot in the finals.

Two of the men's finals are rematches of the gold-medal finals from the 2009 U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Phoenix, Ariz. in October.

At 66 kg/145.5 lbs., World Team Trials champion Tom LeCuyer (Plano, Ill./Atlas XT/Torres MA) will face runner-up Dennis Prokopos, Milbrae, Calif. (10th Planet Jiu Jitsu) in the finals. LeCuyer was a World bronze medalist last year.

At 84 kg/185 lbs., 2008 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestler Ben Askren (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) will face 2008 Grappling World champion Jacob Volkmann (White Bear Lake, Minn./MMMA) in the finals. Askren, who was a two-time NCAA champion at Missouri, beat Volkmann, a three-time All-American at Minnesota, in the Grappling Trials finals.

The other all-USA finals is at 120 kg/264.5 lbs., where World Team Trials champion Kelly Anundson (Columbia, S.C./Black Knight WC) faces 2008 Grappling World silver medalist Brandon Ruiz (West Jordan, Utah/Grappler's Edge). Ruiz did not attend the Grappling Trials due to injury.

The other U.S. finalist is 2008 Grappling World Champion Raphael Davis (Lomita, Calif. /Team Caique) who faces Jose Rodenas of Spain in the finals.

The other finals match is at 74 kg/163 lbs., and features Christian Sandburg of Sweden against 2008 Grappling World silver medalist Nicolas Reiner of France.

The women's divisions were all round-robins, and none were completed. The medalists will be determined in the final session.

The only women's weight where two U.S. athletes are undefeated is at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Grappling World Team Trials champion Shayna Baszler (Sioux Falls, S.D./CSW/Next Edge) and 2004 Olympic women's freestyle silver medalist Sara McMann (Gaffney, S.C./Sunkist Kids) will meet with the title up for grabs.

Defending No-Gi and Gi Grappling World Champion Lisa Ward remains unbeaten at 50 kg/110 lbs. Ward defeated U.S. rival Felicia Oh (Valencia, Calif./Big John McCarthy's UTA) in a roundrobin match. Oh had beaten Ward at the Grappling World Team Trials in November.

USA Grappling National Coach Ricardo Liborio will conduct a clinic for ticketholders at 5:00 p.m. ET. The finals will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be webcast live on

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dec. 12, 2009

Men's No-Gi Grappling Gold Medal Finals

60 kg/132 lbs.
Zachary Makovsky, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory) vs. Matt Betzold, Phoenix, Ariz. (Gracie Barra Lions Den)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill. (Atlas XT/Torres MA) vs. Dennis Prokopos, Milbrae, Calif. (10th Planet Jiu Jitsu)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Christian Sandburg (Sweden) vs. Nicolas Reiner (France)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Ben Askren, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids) vs. Jacob Volkmann, White Bear Lake, Minn. (MMMA)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Raphael Davis, Lomita, Calif. (Team Caique) vs. Jose Rodenas (Spain)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Kelly Anundson, Columbia, S.C. (Black Knight WC) vs. Brandon Ruiz, West Jordan, Utah (Grappler's Edge)

Women's No-Gi Grappling

50 kg/110 lbs.
Roundrobin to be determined
Undefeated after first session - Lisa Ward, Lacey, Wash. (Victory Athletics)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Roundrobin to be determined
Undefeated after first session - Laurence Fouillat (France)

59 kg/130 lbs.
Gold Medalist - Jessica Aguilar, Coconut Creek, Fla. (American Top Team)
Silver and bronze medal to be determined

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Roundrobin to be determined
Undefeated after first session, Shayna Baszler, Sioux Falls, S.D. (CSW/Next Edge) and Sara McMann, Gaffney, S.C. (Sunkist Kids)

67 kg/147 lbs.
Roundrobin to be determined
Undefeated after first session - Tori Adams, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) and Romy Ruyssen (France)

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