DeGraff adds new title belt to growing collection

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Andrew DeGraff did it again.

Competing at an invitation-only, top-level submission grappling event called Twisted Church, DeGraff won another title in his weight class. 

After his original opponent pulled out due to sickness, Andrew fought the same opponent he fought a couple years ago in a small, regional competition with no one watching. This time, all eyes were on the bout for the 135-pound title. 

DeGraff won by Z-lock submission, forcing his opponent to tap out. 

“The Z-lock submission is one of the few that attacks the hip bone,” Andrew explained. “It’s a position where you don’t have to go too far to inflict damage. You start torquing on a hip and it seizes up.”

While the Z-lock submission has come into fashion lately, no one has successfully used it at a top-level event. Until now. 

DeGraff prides himself on being well-rounded on the mat. Instead of focusing just on the upper body or the lower body, he likes to keep options open to using a variety of moves as needed in each situation. 

“It was a great event,” Andrew said. “This was my first time (at Twisted Church), but now I’ll go back and defend the title a few times per year.”

DeGraff also had the chance to train with Oliver Gaza, who won the main event at Twisted Church and is his teammate on New Wave Jiu Jitsu. “How cool to get the win alongside him!” Andrew said.

Up next, DeGraff will travel to Illinois this coming weekend for the prestigious Midwest Finishers event. He could match up with the only opponent to defeat him recently, Dillon Cameron. 

“I’d love to see him again,” Andrew said. “I always want to see how I match up and how my progress is.” 

Stay tuned to RealWV to see if Andrew is able to bring home the gold two weekends in a row.

Andrew DeGraff is a 17-year old jiu jitsu phenom from Greenbrier County. He and his dad, Adam DeGraff, run Nova Jiu Jitsu in Ronceverte.

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