Team Lloyd Irvin has long been one of the premier jiu-jitsu academies in the US. The Maryland-based gym not only produces high level black belts, but also has one of the top kids programs in the country. One of the latest products of the kids program that has reached elite black belt level status is Elijah Dorsey. Elijah started his training in the TLI kids program and was soon introduced to competition. Throughout the colored belts, Elijah won important titles at the Pans and Worlds as he progressed through the ranks. After winning the Pans as a brown belt last year, he was promoted to black belt in June 2022. Since then Elijah has competed in two open tournaments and then made his black belt major championship debut at the 2023 Europeans in Paris, France.
“So far, I have competed in three competitions at black belt. Each competition, I feel I’ve gotten better and better and have just been soaking in knowledge of competing at the black belt level. It’s a whole different game and strategy that goes into competing for a longer time period against the best of the best. Some things I’ve learned are time management and being/becoming a pro off the mat.”
Elijah took on the lightweight division at the 2023 Europeans. The division included Andy Murasaki, Marcio Andre, Max Lindblad, and Gabriel Rollo, among others. He won his first two matches and then met Atos Jiu-Jitsu’s Andy Murasaki in the semifinal. Though Elijah would lose the match and take bronze, he proved that he belongs among the lightweight elite.
“Competing at Europeans was a very different experience, looking back at it. The preparation from when I arrived until I competed was different just because of the location I was in. I’ve never been outside of the country up to that point, let alone competing. I felt good in my matches. I definitely feel like I left a few things on the table but I learned a lot and plan on improving upon that experience.”
Elijah’s training room back at Team Lloyd Irvin is filled with young, hungry competitors who are all pushing to be the best in the world. In 2018, Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor became a black belt World Champion. At the 2023 Europeans, Malachi Edmond won his first major black belt title in the light feather division. “My main training partners are Jamil Hill-Taylor, Angelo Claiborne, Malachi Edmond, Cory Skywalker, Corey Dorsey, Quinton Dixon, and the kids too help in a big way. I plan on competing side by side on the big stages this year with each of these competitors.”
With only three tournaments under his belt at the black belt level, Elijah has already proven he has the tools to contend with the top ranked lightweight athletes. On Friday March 3rd, he’ll join 3X Pan Champion Johnatha Alves, European Champion Andy Murasaki, and brown belt World Champion Carlos Henrique in the IBJJF FloGrappling Men’s Lightweight GP.
“I believe to be at the top I’ll have to face these three guys to get there. Each of them are well rounded and strong, so it will be a battle. I’ve fought both Andy and Carlos and both have solid games. Andy uses more passing and Carlos uses more of his guard. I’ve never fought Johnatha but I’ve watched his matches and he has a good guard game.”
In closing, Elijah commented on the opportunity that awaits him in Austin, Texas. “I feel honored to be in the GP and I see it as only the beginning of an era for me and my teammates to lean on with this opportunity. I plan on bringing the intensity and solidity of my game, and I hope it brings excitement and joy to the people that watch.”
Watch Elijah Dorsey in the IBJJF FloGrappling Men’s Lightweight GP on Friday March 3rd on FloGrappling. The event also includes a Women’s Heavyweight GP and black belt super fights.
Click HERE to watch the event live