Guy Talley III has lost track of his first-place finishes. Less than a year and only 15 tournaments into his grappling career, they already have been too numerous to track.
Another number is far easier to track: No. 1.
Talley is ranked first nationally among 14- to 17-year-old males in GI fighters, according to the National Grappling Rating Service on www.nationallyranked.com.
He will put that ranking on the line this weekend when he takes part in the Lowcountry Submission Grappling Challenge at Beaufort MMA in Omni Fitness -- the gym where he started his training some eight months ago. The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
"I expect to win," said Talley, a freshman who plans to wrestle at Bluffton High School this year. "I always expect to win."
And he usually follows through, despite a relative lack of experience. Talley wrestles in the beginner divisions of grappling -- a sport with wrestling as its base that also allows submission holds during one four-minute period.
Talley weighs just 120 pounds, but he routinely defeats larger opponents because of his ability to quickly learn proper technique, his father said.
"It probably took him a month or so to figure out you're not trying to overpower someone and beat them up," said Guy Talley Jr., who trains with his son in an adult class at Beaufort MMA. "Your technique has to override your brawn."
The younger Talley said he plans to use grappling as a pre-cursor to his ultimate goal of mixed martial arts fighting. He already trains to fight MMA, but grappling doesn't allow the striking, punching or kickboxing moves he learns in class.
Instead, he uses joint manipulation, chokes and other holds to force an opponent to tap out. If neither fighter taps out, the one who scores the most points during the four-minute round wins the match.
"I hope to keep going and getting better at this until I can start fighting when I'm 18," Talley said.
LOWCOUNTRY SUBMISSION GRAPPLING CHALLENGE
Where: Beaufort MMA, 111 Savannah Hwy.
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday