Interview with Crest Pro organiser and top Finnish grappler: Tuomas Simola

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Tuomas Simola is a 26 year old submission wrestler from Lahti, Finland with achievements including a silver medal in ADCC European Championships 2015 and a gold medal in IBJJF NoGi European Open (purple belts, 85,5kg). Tuomas trains at Lahtis Gentai and his main goal is to win the World Championship in the ADCC submission wrestling. In addition to training and competing, Tuomas organises Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu professional events in Finland, such as the recent Crest – Professional Fighting Tournament which took place last month. Finally, Tuomas is studying a Bachelor’s Degree at sports and leisure management in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Vierumäki.

1. Hi, please Introduce yourself
My name is “Undefeated Tuomas Simola”. I am brown belt under my academy Lahden Gentai (HILTI). My main achievement is second place at the ADCC Europeans and I am two time purple belt No-Gi European Champion. Right now all I basically do is involved around grappling.

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2. What is your BJJ story?
I started in beginning of 2010 actually with MMA. I started in small Finnish town Lohja. In MMA course the main focus was on submission wrestling and that became my passion. To me ADCC is always be the main thing. As the years went by I have also competed with gi and might have goals in MMA in the future. But right now I am focused on winning the ADCC.

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3. what made you come up with the CREST invitational event?
I have always wanted to do big things. For me its all or nothing. I have organized two superfight evenings before called Takakuristus and as the sport have grown I realized this EBI rules tournament is the next step. I want grow this great sport and for my part influence also the way it is progressing.

4. How did the first event go?
Oh man, it was amazing! Of course there is things to do better next time but overall it was success. The most important thing to me is that competitors and crowd has given nothing but great feedback about the event. I also believe that quality of the matches were the best that we have seen in Scandinavia so far.

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5. Why EBI rules?
Because EBI rules are the best. Rules guarantees exciting matches and gives some kind of time frame to evening. EBI rules gives a little chance to underdog to win and I think its good for the crowd.

6. are you considering an event with the GI too or only No-GI?
I am No-Gi guy myself but I don’t rule out event with gi. Althought, I think and I may be a little biased that No-Gi is little more fast-paced and because of that more exciting.

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7. When is the next event?
Depending on date of next ADCC Europeans and other big competitions hopefully in late April or early May.

8. How do you select competitors and what one shall do to compete in the next CREST?
It’s simple: we select the best. Of course there have to be a certain amount of Finnish fighters but we want all the best. We are looking for fighters that want finish the fights and go after the grand prize! All fighters can send an application to tournament@crest.fi
In tnext event we are going to have two No-Gi tournaments: 8 man -73,5kg and 8 man open weight.

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9. Will you plan to keep CREST in Finland or organise events across Scandinavia or Europe?
For immediate future in Finland but you never know what happens! If you got an idea, please contact me and lets see if we can make something happen.

10. Please feel free to send a message to the BJJ community in Scandinavia
Please support your local athletes and if you are not competing yourself go see the events. That is the way to grow this great sport!