Cruz wins gold, silver in IBJJF San Diego Spring Open

Posted on May 26 2023

Marilyn Cruz won gold in the no-gi and silver in the gi competition of the IBJJF San Diego Spring International Open Gi and No-Gi last Saturday and Sunday. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Saipan native Marilyn Cruz continues to rack up some hardware in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as she won gold and silver in the IBJJF San Diego Spring International Open Gi and No-Gi last Saturday and Sunday.

Cruz won gold in the no-gi or no kimono competition and won silver in the gi match.

She won two of her matches in the no-gi competition against one other competitor and won two matches via inside heel hook or leg lock in the no-gi competition.

Cruz first fought in the gi competition last Saturday and lost via referee’s decision. “I was trapped in closed guard for the entire match and the referee gave the decision to my opponent. We both didn’t make any score so it was by decision. It was a little frustrating that we didn’t score on each other but motivated me to come back the next day and try again.”

She did try again and this time with a golden result as she took down both opponents in her two matches.

“I won my first match via inside heel hook to an opponent I often match with, and my final match was with the opponent I lost to in the gi tournament the day before. I got an inside heel hook in the first 10 seconds of the match to win the gold medal. I kept my opponent from closing guard on me again, and it played in my favor. She exposed her legs and I was able to secure the win.”

On her performance, she said “I am really happy about my performance in the no-gi tournament, and I’m motivated to train and improve my game so that it doesn’t have to come down to [the] ref’s decision again. I used this tournament as practice for [the] World Championships coming up next weekend.”

Cruz will compete again and plans to bring home podium finishes in the World Jiu Jitsu IBJJF Championship 2023 that will be held in Long Beach, California from May 31 to June 4.

She also recently ranked up to a brown belt last April 15.

“It was unexpected and I happily received it. With a new rank, I can now compete in higher ranking divisions, which have advanced rule sets. It opens up more techniques and positions that I can use. It’s a new game but I’m very well prepared from the practice in my academy. Now I can sign up for the brown belt division and start collecting points in IBJJF (international Brazilian jiu-jitsu federation) ranking,” she said.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at
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