Team Straight Up GForce

Despite the cancellation of the NASKA in-person tournament season amid COVID-19 concerns, The Battle of Atlanta proceeded as a ProMAC event with professional safety protocols and pulled off a world-class tournament.

Sport karate competitors, coaches, and their families filed in to the 2020 Battle of Atlanta with their parties spaced at least six feet apart as they passed the mandatory temperature check to enter the venue on both days of the event. Groups of chairs were set up to accommodate the attendees and, miraculously, not a single chair was moved the entire weekend. Promoters Greg and Toby Ruth reported that there were minimal problems concerning mask-wearing, an issue that many expected to be difficult to manage. The success of The Battle of Atlanta's COVID-19 protocols are a testament to the passion and dedication of the promoting and coordinating staff who did an excellent job with their event during such a tumultuous time. The only thing more impressive than the effectiveness of the safety measures was the quality of competition.


The fireworks at the Battle of Atlanta began with men's team fighting, where a hybrid version of Team All Stars would face Team Straight Up in the semifinal match. The first matchup saw Willie Hicks, who does not normally represent the All Stars but joined them for this event, challenge young contender Romani Alicea of Team Straight Up. Alicea held his own against the veteran Hicks, which set up the second fight between All Star veteran Chris Walker and Straight Up's notoriously tough Brandon Ballou. The back-and-forth battle culminated in the final fight, a clash of superstars between Kevin Walker of All Stars and Bailey Murphy of Straight Up. Murphy used his incredible speed to maintain the Straight Up lead and secure the victory, much to the delight of coach Joe Greenhalgh. Team Straight Up would go on to defeat the hometown Team ATL in the finals, and you can watch their entire run through the team fighting division in the Facebook livestream below courtesy of Alex Reyes and Point Fighter Live.

Bailey Murphy continued his dominant winning ways throughout the weekend, securing the open weight fighting championship and a $1,000 prize sponsored by Josh Horwege and The Dojo, as well as claiming the lightweight overall grand championship title. The undefeated weekend by Murphy is a testament to his work ethic as he continues his quest to be considered the best in the world. Kevin Walker also continued his hot streak in individual competition, as he avenged the All Stars team fighting loss by winning the heavyweight overall grand championship. Willie Hicks would also bounce back to win the overall fighting grand championship for the 30+ age category. Dee Everett of Team NMAC secured the women's 30+ sparring title, and Riley Rhodes of Team Heartland was the victor of the 18+ women's division.

Meanwhile, Connor Chasteen of Team Infinity and Shaquan Parson of Team Next Level would conquer the CMX (Creative, Musical, Extreme) weapons and forms divisions, respectively. Parson used his high-flying tricking techniques and contagious energy to carry his divisional wins into the men's overall forms grand championship. Chasteen's impressive kama routine with a great deal of difficulty and creativity was favored to win the men's weapons overall grand championship, but Donis Coronel of Team DKS had other plans as he stole the victory with his Kung Fu whip chain performance. In the women's division, Kyleigh Boyer of Team Competitive Edge won her first major grand championship as an adult with her double nunchaku form and Melanie Strauss, a student of the widely-respected Joe Anon, would take the forms title with her traditional routine. Other notable forms and weapons performances included Team NMAC's Drew Derrick-Bisbee going undefeated with two overall grand championships in the senior division, Team Competitive Edge's Connor Roberts winning his first major overall grand championship in the junior forms division, and Team Infinity's sibling duo of Diego and Sofia Rodriguez-Florez securing overall grand championships in the junior weapons and youth forms categories, respectively.

These are just a few highlights of an extremely exciting event at The Battle of Atlanta. All of the major overall grand championship winners are as follows:

Men's Heavyweight Point Fighting

Kevin Walker

Men's Lightweight Point Fighting

Bailey Murphy

Women's Point Fighting

Riley Rhodes

Men's Weapons

Donis Coronel

Women's Weapons

Kyleigh Boyer

Men's Forms

Shaquan Parson

Women's Forms

Melanie Strauss

Junior Weapons (14-17)

Diego Rodriguez-Florez

Junior Forms (14-17)

Connor Roberts

Youth Weapons (13 & Under)

Madison Magnotta

Youth Forms (13 & Under)

Sofia Rodriguez-Florez

Point Fighter Live Power Ring Winners

Natalie Allen

Drew Derrick-Bisbee

Shaquan Parson

Kevin Walker

We look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Battle of Atlanta on Father's Day weekend. For more professional sport karate coverage, stay tuned to BlackBeltMag.com

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The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

The Legendary Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame has never before been documented in a single location. Now, you can learn about all the icons that have achieved one of the greatest honors in all of martial arts.

Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME

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