For the third time since the 2015 World Championships, Team Crazy 88 suited up and drove three hours to New York to compete in the New York Pro on November 21st, 2015. 17 competitors from Crazy 88 filled up white to brown belt divisions in various weight classes. In this Jiu Jitsu tournament, blue belts and up were given a money reward for winning first place in their respective open weight division in which the amount varied based off of age, gender, and belt rank.
First up were blue belts: Andrew Carter, Christopher Kim, and Byung Ju Lee at 9am sharp. Byung Ju won all four of his matches to become the lightweight champion, submitting his way through the division. His first match was won by lapel choke after winning 4-0, then he finished the next two opponents by triangle armbar after winning the second match 9-0 and the third match was just a quick finish. His semi final opponent decided not to show up, so Byung Ju went into the finals and left victorious after win via arm bar. This would give Byung Ju his third regional IBJJF win, the second in New York.
Next up were the purple belt guys and first up was Brent Moreland, who was just recently promoted. He competed in the medium heavy weight division and won his first match with a foot lock in roughly three minutes. Unfortunately, he did not come away with the win in the semi finals and took third.
After Moreland was John “Southside” Johnson. He entered into the ultra heavy weight division and had two fights to win as he was already bracketed into the semi finals. He won his first and lost his second to get second place.
Next up was Alfonso “Sal” Washington, Crazy 88’s only brown belt competitor. He only had one match in the ultra heavy division to get gold against a person who he had fought many times since blue belt. The match went 2-0 in Sal’s favor after coming up in 50/50 guard, something that has never happened to him before.
After the men’s divisions were over, the women’s divisions began. Lakita Patterson entered into the light weight division in hopes to redeem herself from her tough loss in the New York Spring Open in 2014. She won her semi final match via points, but unfortunately did not win the finals and took second.
Next up was the newest member of the Crazy 88 competition team, blue belt Amanda Riggs. She submitted the first two girls with arm bars and then lost her finals match to take second in the feather weight division.
Up later in the day was white belt Aleana Cofield. Her first two matches were won off of points, putting her in the finals of the white belt light weight division. Unfortunately, she was submitted with a triangle choke and ended up with a Silver medal.
The other female competitors included Michelle Ho in the blue belt feather weight division, Tori Kime in the white belt feather weight division, and Vannessa Griffin in the purple belt middle weight division.
The competitors from the Crazy 88 location in Owings Mills made up 75% of the master’s competitor roster. Julio Rios from Elkridge and Nathan Allen from Owings Mills competed in the blue belt Master 1 divisions. Stephan Riddle from Owings Mills competed in the Master 2 division and Jeffery Mueller from Owings Mills competed in the Master 3 division.
Jeffrey Mueller had a rocky start with his first match. He pulled to closed guard and spent the entire match unsuccessfully attacking his opponent. Because of his constant attempts to sweep and submit, he was able to win the match via ref’s decision. His next match went more according to plan with a quick sweep from closed guard for two points. After a little scramble, he passed his opponent’s butterfly guard to score three. He ended the match on top of turtle and took gold with a nice 5-0 win. In the Open, he had a rematch against his first opponent in which the match ended 4-0 from a back take later in the round and finished him with arm bar. In the Semi finals, Mueller refused to stray away from his game plan and pulled closed guard yet again. He shot an omoplata but was forced to come up for two. After a bit of a scramble on top, Mueller went for another omoplata but was unable to finish. He ended the match on the top of side control with the win by 7 points to nothing. In the finals, he was beginning to get tired, but he was able to score two points after receiving a stalling call and won the match on those points alone.
Stephan Riddle also competed in the light weight division. Riddle blew through his first opponent by sweeping him and submitting him with a clean bread cutter choke to give him a spot in the finals. In the finals, Riddle lost by a very slim margin. After he and his opponent scored two points each for a sweep, a choke attempt landed his opponent ahead by one advantage, putting Riddle both in second place. In the open weight class, Riddle lost in the semi finals 3-0 to get a bronze medal.
Nathan Allen had just come off his win in NAGA Pennsylvania with great momentum and was ready to tackle his first IBJJF competition as a blue belt. He entered into the middle weight division and fought his first match 100% in sync with his gameplan. He hit two clean knee picks in the first few minutes of the match putting him ahead 4-0. Then after some under over passing and a side switch scramble, he passed, putting himself ahead 7-0 to win the match. Unfortunately, his second match did not go as well as he lost 3-0 and he landed on the podium at third place.
Last up to fight in their weight classes were white belts Nadir Brockington from Owings Mills and Tafon Nchukwi from Elkridge. Tafon entered into the ultra heavy weight division for his first jiu jitsu competition ever. Tafon took his first opponent down to win 2-0 and then took his second opponent down and passed his guard in the finals to win 5-0 and become the ultra heavy champion.
Nadir Brockington entered into the feather weight division in what would be his first IBJJF tournament ever as well. Nadir was very aggressive and quick in attacking his opponents and dominated his first two matches on points with take downs and guard passes. He made it all the way to the semi finals before losing on points to take third place.
Those who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their weight classes were given the opportunity to compete in the open weight class in their respective age, gender, and belt. In this tournament, the Open for adult males was split into two, light weights and below entered into the light open and middle weights and above entered into the heavy open.
Byung Ju Lee entered into the light open and had three matches to get the gold. He spent the first match in the 50/50, getting two advantages for foot look attempts and advancing to the semi finals. He won the semi finals by advantage after the score was tied 2-2 and in the finals he quickly flying mounted his opponent and eventually finished with a foot lock. Byung ended the day with two gold medals to bring his total tournament victory count up to four as a blue belt and collecting the $400 prize money.
After Byung were the female blue and purple belt opens. Vannessa Griffin and Lakita Patterson took their place on opposite ends of the bracket while blue belt Amanda Riggs took on her open alone. Riggs submitted her first opponent via kimura and then won the quarter finals on points. She was unable to secure the win in the semi finals and she placed third to end the day with a bronze and a silver.
Vannessa Griffin had just come off a tough loss in the semi finals of the middle weight division and was looking for redemption. She submitted her first opponent with a kimura after being down 2-0 and then won the next match by bow and arrow choke to earn her place in the semi finals. In the semi finals, she was thrown but was able to recover quick, come on top, and finish with an ezekiel choke, earning her place in the finals. On the other side, Lakita Patterson also submitted her first two opponents with kimuras, and then won her semi finals match via ref’s decision after the score was tied with one advantage a piece. The two teammates then met in the finals where Vannessa Griffin took away the win for gold and the $400 prize money.
The team was able to earn $1,200 in prize money after winning the female purple belt open, the blue belt light weight open, and the Master 3 blue belt open. Overall, the team had a great turnout and performed very well and they are excited to start the season back up again in 2016 with the Atlanta Open.