Skip to main content

2010 Mundials Black Belt Division

It’s here!  In less than one week, the Mundials (aka the Worlds) will begin with their largest field of competitors to date!  This year, 1,989 people signed up for the most prestigious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world!  This is a staggering number.  To put it into perspective, the Pan Americans had roughly 3,000 competitors, however, the Pan Ams had four extra age divisions per belt!  With all age brackets rolled into one division, there are some huge brackets.  The lightweight blue belt division has 107 competitors signed up! 

Let’s take a look at the black belt favorites:

Galo (Rooster) - Under 126.5 lbs (57kg)

Bruno Malfacine

Favorites:  Bruno Malfacine, Felipe Costa, Pablo Teixeira, and Bernardo Pitel

Bruno Malfacine (shown above posing for a Got Milk? advertisement) has been on fire for the past two years upon leaving the Gama Filho Team and joining Alliance.  A strong competitor and 2007 Mundials champ prior to switching teams, he has been on an absolute tear as of late.  Since the 2009 Mundials, he has won the Europeans, Brazilian Nationals and the Pan Ams.  In the recent 2010 Nationals, he beat Felipe Costa 9 to 0.  Costa, always in the running, has recently returned from surgery, and should be in shape to finish on the podium this year.  He placed second to Malfacine in the 2010 Pan Ams and Nationals.

Prediction:  Malfacine vs Costa with Malfacine winning. 

Pluma (Light Feather) - Under 141 lbs (64kg)

Favorites:  Gui Mendes, Samual Braga, CaioTerra, Megaton, and Dai Yoshioka

We have a lot of seasoned veterans in this division, including the 2009 Mundials champion, Gui Mendes (shown above).  As a fan, I would love to see a rematch between Mendes and Braga.  Last year, the final was marred with controversy when Braga shoved Mendes after the match.  (To Braga's credit, Mendes was a bit over the top when he channeled an diminutive samari in his celebration.)  Megaton, a true warrior, drops down a division and will be fun to watch.  I believe he is the only competitor to have competed in every single Mundials.  Caio Terra is another favorite who could win after moving up a weight class.

Prediction:  This really depends on how the brackets play out, but I am hoping for a Mendes vs Braga final with Braga getting revenge, and Megaton winning the lifetime achievement award. 

Pena (Feather) - Under 154 lbs (70kg)

Favorites:  Rubens Cobrinha Charles, Rafael Mendes, Theodoro Canal, Mario Reis, and Marcelino Freitas

Don't get stuck in the Acaii line for the featherweights, because this is perhaps the most exciting division in the Mundials!   Obviously, the two favorites will be Cobrinha (shown above) and Rafael Mendes.  These two met recently at the Brazilian Nationals with Mendes winning 4 – 2, however, Cobrinha plans on retiring after this year, and so I would be hard pressed not to give him the nod.  Mario Reis is another consistent competitor, but has fallen short the last few years to either Cobrinha or Frazzato (who has since moved up a weight class).  Freitas, who took second in the 2010 Pan Ams, is another likely podium finisher.  I see him as a dark horse who could throw a wrench in Mendes and/or Cobrinha’s plans to take home the gold.  This division also features Ryan Hall, 2008 Mundials champion, Theodoro Canal, a bronze medalist in the 2010 Pan Ams, Gabriel Wilcox, Daisuke Nakamura, and Renan Borges.

Prediction:  Mendes vs Cobrinha in another another 50/50 guard battle.  The fan in me hopes Cobrinha retires with a Mundials win, but Mendes has won their last two matches. 

Leve (Light) - Under 167.5 lbs (76kg)

Favorites:  Lucas Lepri, Michael Langhi, Jonatas Gurgel, Bruno Frazatto, Gilbert Durinho Burns, JT Torres, and Celso Venicius

The Light and Middleweight divisons are perhaps the two most competitive brackets this year making it difficult to predict.  The favorites have to be the two juggernauts from Alliance, Lepri and Langhi.  Michael Langhi (shown above) has arguably the best open guard in the world.  Upon earning his black belt three years ago, he has been unstoppable, and will be the returning champ.  He has also recently closed out the Pan Ams with teammate Lucas Lepri.  Lepri has also been performing well, but suffered a setback to Torres in this year Brazilian Nationals.  Torres is one to watch, a black belt for only a little over a year, but this Lloyd Irvin soldier has been performing with verve submitting Lucas with his patented back choke.  The two Atos fighters, Frazzatto and Burns, are two other favorites.  Frazzatto will be moving up a weight class, and Burns is the runner up in last year’s Mundials.  Celsinho is also back after beating Lepri in the Worlds a couple of years back.

Prediction:  It will be a combination of Lepri, Langhi, Frazzato, Durinho, Torres, and a seriously confused Japense Jiu Jitsu martial artist whose katas prove surprising effective.  I am hoping the Alliance – Atos rivalry will live on, but Torres is em chamas as of late!

Medio (Middleweight) - Under 181 lbs (82.3kg)

Favorites:  Marcelo Garcia, Sergio Moraes, Claudio Calasans, Murilo Santana, Tiago Alves, Lucas Leite, Finfou, Abmar Barbosa, Kayron Gracie,  Kron Gracie, and Bill Cooper

This will clearly be the most watched division of this year's Mundials.  For starters, two Gracies, Kayron and Kron (shown above, with awesome retro mustache that has only gotten more bushy over the past year) will be competing.  Kayron is a newly minted black belt but has already beaten some strong competitors, including Sergio Moraes and Abmar Barbosa en route to his 2010 Pan Ams championship.  Garcia and Moraes will look to close out the division again this year, but unlike last year, there is more talent in this division than thongs on Ipanema beach in January.  Keep your eye on Leite, the 2009 Pan Ams champ, Bill “The Grill” Cooper, the Barbosa Duo of Tiago Alves and Murillo Santana, Abmar Barbosa, who beat Kron and Leite at the Pan Ams this year, Claudio Calasans, who killed it at the Abu Dhabi pro winning the Absolute Division, and Alan “Finfou” Nascimiento, who is really exciting to watch, think a combination of Jacare and Terere.

Prediction:  I have no clue. The sheer talent in the division could create a rift in the time-space contiuum in which they all end up on the Lost island en route to LAX.  Any of the aforementioned competitors could win the gold without it being considered an upset.

Meio – Pesado (Medium Heavyweight) - Under 194.5 lbs (88.3kg)

Favorites:  Romulo Barral, Tarsis Humphreys, Guto Campos, Eduardo Telles, and Otavio Sousa

Barral and Humphreys (shown above) are favored to repeat their finals from last year’s Mundials in which Barral came out on top.  Barral will terrorize the field with his ridiculous spider guard.  Humphreys, one of the most entertaining grapplers in the tourney, gives it his all every fight.  He is super aggressive and fun to watch.  Otavio Sousa has an amazing spider/oma plata game that I try to incorporate into my own style.  I would imagine the brackets will have Sousa on the Tarsis side, and we'll see if he can manage a win to advance.  The Turtle Master, Eduardo Telles should be in the mix as well, and Campos is another strong competitor who should at least make the quarter finals

Prediction:  Barral vs Humphreys with Barral repeating his win

Pesado (Heavyweight) - Under 207.5 lbs (94.3kg)

Favorites:  Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro, Bernardo Feria, Alexandre Souza, Nino "Elvis" Schembri, Rafael Lovato, and Alexandre Ceconi

Faria (shown above) seems unstoppable after winning the absolute division of both the Pan Ams and Brazilian Nationals, but this year we will see the return of Xande!  Although Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro didn't compete last year, he was the 2008 Mundials heavyweight and absolute champion, and has to be considered the favorite.  Elivis lives on as a Brazilian incarnate named Nino who will be returning to the Mundials for the first time since 2006.  Nino recently opened up his academy in Manhatten Beach, and has shaken off some mat rust winng two matches at the Fabio Santos.  Alexandre "the other Pasado Alexandre" Souza and Ceconi are exciting competitors as well, and should be in the running for a podium finish.  Lovato is my pick for the division dark horse, and if he wins the bracket lotto, he could go deep with his incredible guard.

Prediction:  This all depends on how the brackets play out, but I predict a Faria vs Ribiero final.

Super – Pesado (Super Heavyweight) - Under 221 lbs (100.5kg)

Favorites:  Roger Gracie, Roberto Tussa Alencar, Roger Gracie, Bruno Bastos, Roger Gracie, Marcel Fortuna, Roger Gracie, Ricardo Demente, and Roger Gracie

Roger Gracie (shown above) is the greatest jiu jitsu athelete in recent times, and arguably the best in the history of the sport (No, I'm not confusing him with another R.Gracie).  He is the division favorite.  He is the absolute favorite.  He is the favorite to take your girlfriend with him back to London.  Rumor has it, he can turn water into Acaii.   There is one caveat!   Roger has been focusing on MMA after a recent win against Kevin Randleman, and only Roger knows if this will dectract from his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game.  In 2008, fresh off of an MMA win, he won his division, but merely took second in absolutes, and did not display his usual dominant game, which he admitted after the tourney.  In 2009, he brought his A-game, and put on the most dominant display of jiu jitsu ever!  As Roger Gracie is unable to compete against himself, other competitors will be in the bracket, including Tussa Alencar, who is an exciting athelete to watch.  I suggest keeping an eye on Demente, last year's runner up, assuming his recent knee injury does not hamper his performance.

Prediction:  Roger Gracie will become the first Mundials comeptitor to take first, second, and third place while blindfolded.

Pesadissimo (Super Super Heavyweight) - Over 221 lbs (100.5kg)

Favorites:  Luiz “Big Mac” Theodoro, Gabriel Vella, Antonio Peinado, Cyborg, Rodrigo Cavaca, Antonio Braga Neto, Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz , and Marcio Corleta

This is one of the most competitive Ultra Heavyweight divisions in recent memory.  Normally, we only see a couple of elite competitors stomping around in this bracket, however this year we'll see a lot of talent sporting A-6 kimonos.  Gabriel Vella (shown above), is both the returning Mundials champion and this year’s Pan Ams champ.  Pe De Pano will be returning as well, and while he hasn’t been competing with Gi for a while, he is a two time Absolute Champion in past years.  Marcio Corletta is another legend returning after a long layoff , who placed third in the 2009 Mundials.  Braga Neto, who normally competes down a weight class will most likely be on the lower end of the weight spectrum.  Peinado, Cyborg, and Cavaca are strong competitors as well.

Prediction:  While this is a very competitive bracket, I predict a Vella vs Big Mac repeat of this year’s Pan Ams.  Expect to see a brutal grip fighting judo match, followed by carbo-loading on Rooserweights for sustanance.