The weekend would continue with Black Belt Tim Spriggs stepping onto the mats. Last year, Tim Spriggs won the Brown Belt heavyweight division at Worlds, to become first ever Baltimore Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World medalist at the Brown Belt level. After this impressive performance (and a Bronze medal in the Open division), Spriggs was promoted to the rank of BJJ Black Belt a few days later.
Ever since, he’s been putting on an impressive performances, winning his super fight at Copa Podio, closing out the Atlanta Open, defeating Leo Noguiera at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, and taking 3rd place at No Gi Worlds (where he defeated Roberto Tussa as well as Murilo Santana). Now it was time for the Pan!
The Black Belt division is the only belt level where competitors are allowed to register for the Open division prior to finishing their weight class. While everyone else must place in their division, Black Belts are allowed to compete in the Open whether or not they have placed in their respective weight category. What this means is that Open division matches actually start BEFORE the weight class.
Spriggs’ first match would be in the Open weight class and he started strong by choking Diogo Almeida (Ryan Gracie). This match had a little bit of controversy as Almeida was actually knocked unconscious from a legal throw, train-wreck seio-nage, but the referee stopped the match, and allowed him to wake up. The recovery time didn’t help as he was promptly submitted.
The second round was a match that the BJJ community has been anticipated for a long time. Spriggs was up against former teammate, Keenan Cornelius (Atos). It would a battle between Timmy’s takedowns and passing vs. Cornelius’ stifling lapel guard. After a scoreless 10 minutes, the two competitors stood up and the decision was in the referee’s hands. Moments later, the ref chose Keenan Cornelius as the winner.
Now it was time for the weight category. Spriggs started off by defeating Eliot Kelly (Yemaso BJJ) in the first round of the heavyweight division. Hungry for more wins and a spot in the semi finals, Spriggs submitted Checkmat’s Marcelo Mafra to secure that spot and a medal in his first Black Belt Pan. After suffering a last minute sweep in the semi-finals, Tim Spriggs took his spot on the podium at third place – becoming the first ever Black Belt Pan medalist in the area and cementing his spot as one of America’s top Jiu-Jitsu competitors.