The Grappling Blueprint

5th American International Championships of Jiu-Jitsu Results

This weekend, Team Lloyd Irvin sent Mike Fowler and Ryan Hall to Long Beach, CA to compete in the 5th American International Championships of Jiu-Jitsu. 

With a limited number of black belt competitors available, all of the fighters were lumped into one open-weight Absolute division.  Competing for only his second time as a black belt, Mike Fowler jumped at the opportunity to take a shot at some of the big guys.  In the first round, Mike was paired up with a Pedro Sauer black belt who must have been aware of Mike’s incredible half guard game, because he immediately looked to pull guard.  Just as his opponent was about to sit, Mike foot swept him to his back to pick up two points!  Working to pass his opponent’s guard, Mike was showing off his considerable pressure, shrugging off sweep and submission attempts before they even got started.  Once Mike figured out the combination to his opponent’s inverted guard, he utilized his patented knee cut guard pass to gain side control and began to go to work for submissions.  It was here that the surprises started, as Mike’s opponent injured his back in an attempt to escape Mike’s side control.  The match had to be stopped and Fowler was declared the victor, 5-0.  It was unfortunate that the match couldn’t continue, but as safety is a top priority, the decision was for the best.

On the other end of this 4-man bracket, the big guys were fighting.  The winner of the two showed off impressive Judo, earning a takedown and finally a collar choke to advance to face Fowler in the finals.

In the finals, Mike would face off against an opponent that stood a head taller and had easily 30 lbs on him.  Size wouldn’t be the determining factor in this match-up, however, as Mike secured a takedown and a guard pass early on in the match.  Just as Mike was setting up for a choke from the side, his opponent used his strength advantage to hurl Mike from his side.  Everyone thought Mike was turned, but he was able to use his awesome base to set himself and get back on top of his opponent’s side.  From there, it didn’t last long, as Fowler secured a tight bread cutter choke, forcing the tap from his opponent.  With that, Fowler was the Black Belt Absolute Champion!

TIn the blue belt lightweight division, Ryan Hall submitted his first and second round opponents in one and then two minutes with his signature triangle choke, setting up a finals match up against a fighter from the New Breed Academy who had advanced to the finals on points. 

Listening intently to his corner for strategy, Ryan immediately pulled guard and began hunting for submissions, finally slapping on a tight triangle.  Everyone thought it was over, but just when it looked like his opponent was done, he managed to slip out and force Ryan to go to his upside down guard to keep from being passed.  From there, Ryan attempted an oma plata and was forced to his half guard, where he again attempted a submission before being passed.  Down on points with less than two minutes remaining in the match and apparently winded, it looked close to being over, but there was no end in sight for Ryan, thanks to Master Lloyd’s morning circuits.  Ryan dangled his free arm to bait his opponent into trying for a submission.  When he did, Ryan used his incredible flexibility to attempt a crucifix.  When his opponent defended, Ryan bumped him to north/south and then took his back from underneath the position.  Surprised to see Ryan appear on his back, Ryan’s opponent attempted to shrug him off…which landed him right into Ryan’s armlock!  His opponent struggled, but it was too tight, as Ryan was able to break the grip and extend the armbar for the win and 1st place! 

Not done with the gi yet, Ryan immediately ran over to jump into the open division.

In the blue belt absolute division, Ryan again submitted his considerably larger first two opponents with triangle chokes early in each match to advance to the semi-finals.  There, Ryan would face a larger opponent who warily stayed away from Ryan for much of the match after getting an early takedown.  Even after being penalized a point for stalling by the referee, Ryan’s opponent was hesitant to engage, often backing out of the guard.  As the scorers table called out the 30 second mark, Ryan was forced to change his focus from his normal ‘submission only’ mindset to a point-oriented one, as he attempted sweep after sweep.  But it was to no avail, as time expired with Ryan’s opponent winning by a narrow margin of 1-0. 

Disappointed with his showing in the semi-finals, Ryan went on to the 3rd place match determined to end things quickly.  Grip fighting with his much larger opponent, Ryan attempted a flying triangle that landed him in his half guard.  Coached by Mike Fowler, Ryan overhooked his opponent’s arm and attempted Mike’s patented half guard triangle that his opponent narrowly postured out of.  Forced to his inverted guard, Ryan secured sleeve and bicep control before spinning around and snapping a triangle on his opponent!  As Ryan locked in the figure-four and underhooked his opponent’s leg, it became too much, as his opponent tapped, securing Ryan’s bronze medal in the open division.

Arguably the most competitive division of the day was the round robin advanced 150-159 lb no-gi division that featured Pan American medalist and NeverTap superfight champion, Steve Magdaleno, Team Lloyd Irvin’s Ryan Hall, and an awesome wrestler out of Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. 

The much anticipated opening match-up saw Steve paired up with Eddie Bravo’s student.  After an awesome single-leg takedown by the 10th Planet representative, a series of furious flurries ensued, with Magdaleno securing an armbar about five minutes into the match. 

In the next round, Ryan would face off against the wrestler from Eddie Bravo’s.  Almost nobody gave Ryan a chance in this match, but with Mike Fowler and Brandon Vera in his corner, Ryan was ready to prove that he didn’t fly cross country for nothing. 

After getting some words of advice from Mike and Brandon, Ryan went out and immediately pulled guard on his opponent, who backed away.  Standing up immediately, Ryan attempted a flying triangle, which his opponent defended well.  This exchange ended up right where Ryan wanted it to—in his closed guard.  Having submitted six of his opponents from this position already, Ryan was prepared to go for another.  After a series of near passes and granby rolls, Ryan was able to feed his opponent’s arm through for the triangle, and locked it up before his opponent could posture.  Ryan got to his perpendicular angle and controlled his opponent’s posture, squeezing for pressure and getting the tap for the win!

In the finals, Ryan would meet Steve Magdaleno, a Caique brown belt.  Oddly enough, what was arguably hardest fought match of the day would be decided by a takedown in the opening seconds of the match.  After shaking hands, Steven and Ryan circled one another before Steve shot a double leg takedown as Ryan sat to his closed guard, securing what would be the decisive two points.  From here the match was a tireless set of transitions, attacks, and near-passes, as both fighters went at a furious pace that was too fluid to describe in play-by-play fashion.  In the end, though, it would be Steve’s day, as his opening takedown was the margin of victory (2-0).

Following the tournament, Ryan had this to say: “this was definitely a fun tournament, and it was great to get to fly out here and meet some new people and have some really good matches.  I had a few tough ones, but there is nothing like the training at Team Lloyd Irvin and having World Class coaches in your corner like Mike Fowler and Brandon Vera to give you confidence.  With my new sponsors I’m going to be traveling a lot in 2006 to learn as much as I can.  Can’t wait till next time.”

Team Lloyd Irvin Fighters Brandon Vera, Mike Fowler and Ryan Hall

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