Team Lloyd Irvin Shines at Grapplemania
The 4-man advanced lightweight division featured Gustavo Machado black belt Jonathan Wertz, as well as Team Lloyd Irvin’s own Seph Smith and Ryan Hall. In the opening round, Ryan would face off against his second black belt opponent in competition. Having gotten the scouting report from Master Lloyd and some good advice from Team Balance Black Belt Rick Macauley, Ryan was aware of Wertz’s excellent guard game, and he stepped onto the mat ready to force his own game on his opponent. After shaking hands, Ryan immediately sat down to guard, forcing Wertz to play into his guard. After being admonished by the referees for backing away, Jonathan engaged Ryan’s guard and the two began hand fighting for control. Showing his competition savvy and athleticism, Jonathan cartwheeled over his opponent’s guard and took a surprised Ryan’s back. With only one hook in, Ryan worked hard to defend against his opponent’s second foot. It was no use, though, as Wertz secured the back and was awarded four points.
Just when it looked like it might end quickly, Ryan escaped! Clearing a foot, turning in, and recovering his half guard, Ryan immediately began attacking without regard for position. After Wertz backed away for a second time, he was again warned by the referee. As he engaged again, Ryan sucked Wertz into his closed guard and began furiously attacking his opponent with submission after submission until…RYAN SLAPPED ON A TRIANGLE. From here on was a rapid exchange of defense and offense as Ryan attempted finish after finish, switching rapidly from standard to reverse triangle configurations while his black belt opponent skillfully defended. After about a minute and a half of being in Ryan’s triangle, Jon was able to posture out during a figure four switch, forcing Ryan to recover his closed guard. With only seconds remaining, Ryan attempted hip bump sweep after hip bump sweep in an attempt to reverse his opponent, but Wertz was able to hold on tight for the remaining half minute and secure the 4-0 victory. What a barnburner!
On the other end of the bracket, Seph Smith, sporting a Team USA wrestling singlet, would work his passing and positioning game to perfection, defeating his brown belt opponent by a comfortable margin to advance to the finals against Jon Wertz.
In the finals, Seph and Jon Wertz squared off, with the Gustavo black belt immediately sitting to his dangerous guard. The match continued with Seph working to pass while always setting up for his dangerous leglock game. As Wertz secured a sweep, Seph recovered his butterfly guard on the bottom. Almost immediately, Seph kicked his right leg through, grabbed his foot with his hand, placed it in position, and locked in his ankle lock position. His opponent immediately realized the danger and attempted to spin away. Down on points, would Seph be able to finish? Just as it looked as if Wertz might escape, Seph coolly adjusted his grip from the standard heel hook to one that he has been working on with Master Lloyd, and TAPPED HIS BLACK BELT OPPONENT WITH A HEEL HOOK!!
Ryan was looking forward to the 3rd place match, but his opponent bowed out, leaving Ryan the bronze.
In the advanced middleweight division, Phil Weslow would represent Team Lloyd Irvin admirably, defeating his first opponent on points and submitting his second, earning him a place in the finals against Richmond BJJ purple belt, Andrew Smith. The deciding points would be scored early on in this match, as Phil hit a picture-perfect armdrag single leg takedown in the opening minute. From this point on until the end of the match, Phil would pressure to pass while Andrew attempted sweep after sweep, coming close to a triangle on more than one occasion. Phil would defend everything that his opponent could throw at him, however, even showing some incredible base and athleticism in executing a front flip into a back bridge to escape a butterfly sweep attempt and remain on top. After the time expired, Phil was the advanced lightweight champion, defeating his dangerous opponent by a score of 2-0!
Kirk Jackson fought in the intermediate light-heavyweight division, defeating his first opponent on points to advance to the finals. In the finals, he would face off against a solid wrestler. After a battle on the feet, Kirk was forced to the bottom, but was able to get a reversal. In transition, Kirk had his guard passed, and now down 5-0 with little time left, he was forced to abandon the position game in favor of a submission onslaught. He reversed his opponent, attacked with a kimura from north/south, and then smoothly transitioned to an armbar, but was forced to the bottom, where his opponent attempted to stack and escape. This was where time would expire, with Kirk attempting an armlock and his opponent defending to win on points.
In the purple belt lightweight division, Seph defeated his first opponent on points to advance to the finals where he split the division with Andrew Smith???
In the blue belt lightweight division, Ryan Hall would continue his winning streak with the gi, submitting all three of his opponents with his signature triangle choke on his way to the gold medal. In the finals, Ryan would win a war with Alex, a very experienced Kazakhstani Greco-Roman wrestler out of the Yamasaki academy. Alex had Ryan in trouble a couple of times from the side headlock, but Ryan fought off his opponent’s submission attempts, regained his guard, and immediately slapped on a triangle for the win in the finals against a tough opponent.
Upon winning the lightweight division, Ryan ran one mat over to jump up a weight class into the middleweight division. Fighting on only a few minutes rest, he stepped back onto the mat. After exchanging grips on the feet, Ryan sat to his half guard and began to work for a kimura, but was forced to transition to his inverted guard when his larger opponent pressured a pass. From here, Ryan secured his grips and transitioned at lightning speed to a spinning triangle choke on his opponent. With his opponent’s knee still blocking the full lock, Ryan adjusted his hips, transitioned to a reverse triangle, then an arm crush from within the reverse triangle, and finally back to a standard triangle to secure his figure-four and get the tap. With this win, Ryan made his way to the finals for the second time of the day.
On the other end of the bracket, Phil Weslow defeated his opponent after an absolute war! With the score tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, a 3-minute overtime period ensued. After consulting with his teammates, Phil elected to pull half guard and work his strong sweep game. Executing his gameplan to perfection, Phil pulled half guard and immediately went to work on his grips, securing both of his opponent’s lapels and setting up for a sweep taught to him by Jared Weiner. Upon setting his grips, Phil rocked his opponent’s base and put him down for the two points and the lead! From here, Phil’s heavy passing pressure and control would earn him the victory, as his opponent was unable to mount anything that Phil could not adeptly defend. The overtime period ended with Phil winning 2-0, earning him a spot in the finals.
Following their wins, Ryan and Phil closed out the division, sharing 1st place.