Baltimore BJJ Star Vannessa Griffin wins gold and newcomer Tafon Nchukwi takes silver at the IBJJF Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships 2017. Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts traveled with a team of 12 competitors, the largest in recent years, to Irvine, California to test their hard work at the year’s second toughest tournament of the spring season.
Super star Vannessa Griffin was center stage this year winning her division as the Lightweight Purple Belt Champion. In the first of two matches, Griffin took her opponent down with a single leg and worked her way to mount before finishing from the back with a bow and arrow choke. In her second match, she won by three advantages. For the Finals, Griffin flipped a coin for gold to close-out with Team Third Law teammate Katy Torralbas, who brought home the silver medal.
The Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships tournament was the first for newcomer Tafon Nchukwi, who competed in the Ultra Heavyweight Blue Belt division. He brings home the silver medal after winning three of four matches. In his first, he scored 6-0 with several takedowns. He submitted his second and third opponents with an arm bar and a wrist lock to enter the Finals. He completes his first grand slam tournament as the 2017 Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships Silver Medalist.
Byung Ju Lee entered the Lightweight Purple Belt division. He advanced from his first match via no show of his opponent. He won his second match by judges decision. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to advance past the sweet 16 round.
John Johnson was also a newcomer to the grand slam tournament this year as he entered the Masters 1 Ultra Heavyweight Purple Belt division. He went 1-1 with his matches, winning by a wrist lock against his first opponent and losing by a penalty score in his second match.
Amanda Riggs entered the Feather Blue Belt division at her second Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships. She was the first match of the day and submitted her opponent with a quick triangle from guard. In her second match, she swept, passed, and submitted with a kimura. She was disqualified on a technicality in the Quarterfinals ending her run at the tournament.
Chris, Kayla, Leah, Tori, Michael, Richard, and Meghan also competed at the tournament. As always, most of our competitors demonstrated progress in their matches. It’s back to work as we prepare for the IBJJF New York Open and World Championships in the coming months.