The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre hosted the 2022 IBJJF London International Open on Saturday July 9th and Sunday July 10th. The UK jiu-jitsu scene continues to grow in both size and skill level every year, and this edition of the London Open was a great example of how high the level of technique has gotten. Adam Wardzinski, Espen Mathiesen, Gabriela Fechter, and many others put on fantastic performances in England.
In the heavyweight division, it was CheckMat’s Adam Wardzinski that took home gold. He shared his thoughts on the weekend and the state of jiu-jitsu in the UK. “In my opinion, the UK is the strongest jiu-jitsu country in Europe, so you can be sure that London Open will always deliver with divisions filled with solid competitors. I’m happy that I was able to take gold in heavy weight today. I had two fights and I was able to finish both with chokes. My plan for now is to see how the European competition calendar will develop. I hope that No-Gi Europeans will be back in the second part of the year. I may also do some IBJJF Opens on the way and after that I'm going back to the U.S. to prepare myself and fight at Worlds No-Gi.”
Another CheckMat representative, Gabriela Fechter, won both gi and no-gi gold. In the gi, Gabriela had two matches and two submissions to take gold. She finished both of her gi fights with chokes from the back. She had a no-gi match the following day, earning the win and her second gold medal in London. Espen Mathiesen of Nova Uniao won middleweight gold in the gi. His first match was against Bryn Jenkins, a match he won via straight ankle lock. He moved onto the finals against Oliver Lovell of Gracie Barra, this time winning by points to take home the gold.
In the gi open class, it was Fausto Godoy of Cicero Costha Europe who took home gold. “In the category, I didn't get the result I was hoping for. Due to a tactical error on my part, my opponent took the upper hand and later on won the category. After this defeat, the open class was my goal. Contrary to the category fight, I was able to show my game and win my two fights on points. The final was very difficult with a heavier opponent. I'm happy to have been able to apply the new game plan that I've been working on for a few months with my training partners in Brussels. I'm still looking for what I can change in my game and be self-critical to improve my shortcomings.”
Shane Fishman of ECJJA also won gold with and without the gi. “My first gi match was an armbar. My second match with Fausto was a bow n’ arrow from the back and my third match was an advantage win over Taylor Pearman. In no-gi I won by a sweep and guard pass in my first match and in the finals I won on points, getting a sweep, guard pass and back take.” Ashley Bendle of Gracie Barra won two open class gold medals, defeating Raquel Ferreira da Silvain the gi final and Joanna Dineva in the no-gi final.
Clay Mayfield of Pedigo Submission Fighting was the standout male no-gi competitor as he won the open class division. After winning his first match he moved on to the final against Jed Hue of Grand Union Jiu-Jitsu. “The finals match was against a tough leg-locker. I got two guard passes, escaped some dangerous heel hook attempts , and mounted him to attempt to finish. I couldn’t quite get the tap, but I tried to keep the pressure up the whole match. My style is based around constant forward aggression,” said Clay. “Anytime I can’t get the submission I don’t feel like I was quite dominant enough. Next up is probably Jiu-Jitsu Con & No-Gi Pans.”
2022 London International Open team results:
2. Gracie Barra
3. ZR Team Association
2022 London International No-Gi Open team results: