Michael R. Smith and Imre Pogacsas World Master champions

Shelton residents Michael R. Smith and Imre Pogacsas each have earned the coveted title of 2018 World Master Jiu-Jitsu champion at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) International Tournament held last month in Las Vegas.

Smith, 50, won in the Master 4, blue belt, 207.5-pound weight division in the 46-50 year-old class.

Pogacsas, 52, won in the Master 5, purple belt, 194.5-pound weight division in the 51-55 year-old class.

Both Smith and Pogacsas placed third in the Absolute Division, which is competing against the other weight classes in their perspective age and belt color divisions.

The IBJJF tournament attracted more than 5,000 athletes from around the world.

Smith, a mortgage loan originator at Priority Lending, LLC in Shelton, is a former Div. III collegiate wrestler.

He began Jiu-Jitsu training just 2.5 years ago and recently won first place at the New York IBJJF Open.

Pogacsas, a local contractor with Exclusive Companies, has been involved in Jui-Jitsu for more than five years.

He has won several local and regional competitions.

Both are team members at Casa of Jiu-Jitsu in Ansonia.

“We are very proud of Michael and Imre for achieving world champion status,” said Uilton Dias, owner of Casa of Jiu-Jitsu. “Our training philosophy at Casa goes to show that you can achieve anything when you believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities.

“Keep your dreams alive  — and remember all things are possible with discipline, hard work and surround yourself with good leadership.”