Thursday kicked off the 2011 IBJJF Pan Jiu Jitsu Championship with all white belts and some blue belts reporting. We arrived at the Bren Event Center, on the campus of the University of California Irvine, in the afternoon for Santo Domingo and Chris Leggetts’ division. Both entered the Pluma (141lb) adult white belt class.
37 competitors had entered which would equate to 6 matches to get to the final. Santo was called first to the mats and drew a very strong opponent from Texas. The match started with each positioning for control of the stand up. The match eventually made it to the ground with Santo pulling guard. After some changing of positions and Santo up 2-0 by take down, Santo was put into a triangle. He defended very well and looked like he would be able to last the rest of the match. But, as time was running out, his opponent was able to slip under and lock out his arm. Santo had to submit, ending his bid for gold in the first round.
After an hour, Chris’s bracket was called. He started off his match very aggressively and was leading 2-0 by a sweep. He then became a little too aggressive going for a choke and his opponent started racking up points. By the time it was 11-2 and with time running out, it appeared it was over. But, Chris did an incredible escape, reversal and sunk in an arm bar to pull of the win. It was an incredible come from behind victory.
But the victory was a little costly as Chris had burned a lot of energy and his grips were suffering. But, he had some time before the second round to recover.
Chris’s came out very aggressive again in his fight in the second round. He jumped guard and was relentless with his submission attempts. He was leading by advantages when he pulled off a sweep to go up 2-0. But, he wanted a submission so bad that it cost him position. Eventually, his opponent defended, reversed and sunk in his own choke. By then, Chris was too exhausted to defend and he was eliminated.
I’m very proud of the effort from each of them. The Pan is a very difficult tournament, especially your first one. You learn a lot about yourself, your training, and how you stack up against other competitors from around the world. Friday, we return for Jon Bobel and the Adult Purple Belt Medium Heavy division.