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2011 World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship

 

 

 

 

It has been a while!

I have been inconsolable ever since Rickson refused to take a picture with the King and me at his seminar.  I refused to think or do anything jiu jitsu, it was just cookies, cookies, and more cookies!  But this weekend is the No Gi worlds and I knew that the pullingtheline following needed our analysis.

Rooster

Only 2 competitors in this division and both were the only 2 last year. We have a rematch of Brandon Mullins and Joseph Capizzi.  Like last year I see Brandon taking this one.  Aside from sporting a cool nickname, Wolverine, Brandon seems to be the more active competitor.  A couple weeks ago Brandon competed at the US Nationals; though he did not win he had a really tough division that included Caio Terra and Milton Bastos.  Regardless, both Joseph and Brandon will get some hardware this weekend.

Light Feather

The overall favorite has to be Caio Terra.  In the last few years, the bane to Caio’s existence has been Bruno Malfacine– luckily for him, Bruno will not be competing.  Caio has a pretty easy side of the bracket with somewhat of a challenge in Fabio Passos of Alliance, if they meet it will be the categories semifinal.  The other side of the bracket is one of the toughest I’ve seen.   All 4 (Rafael “Barata” Freitas, Henrique Rezende, Milton Bastos, and Laercio Fernandes) have a chance of medaling.  The 2 favorites in my opinion are Laercio from Robot/Lotus BJJ and Milton Bastos from Paragon.  Unfortunately these 2 drew each other in the first round.  Laercio has been coming on the scene the last 2 years.  He has medaled at a lot of the IBJJF events and does hold a win over Caio at last year’s US Nationals.  We should get treated to a rematch of this.

Feather

Cobrinha is back!  Didn’t he say he was going to retire this year?  After a controversial loss to Rafa Mendes at the finals of the 2011 ADCC, Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles appears to continue to hold off his retirement.  In a pretty small division, Cobrinha has one fight to make it to the finals.  The 2 favorites in the other end of the bracket are Samir Chantre from Gracie Fighter and Justin Rader – Rafael Lovato’s first black belt.  Justin is the reigning champion in this division.  It is just so hard to bet against Cobrinha when Rafa Mendes isn’t around.  Cobrinha takes this division with 2 submission victories.

Light

3 names stick out here – Lucas Lepri from Alliance, Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes and Philippe “Furao” Della Monica.  Usually closing out this weight class with his teammate Michael Langhi, Lucas will have to win 3 fights to get that gold around his neck.  Furao vs. Tanquinho will make for a very good semifinal, but in the end Tanquinho will be too much to handle.  It should a Lepri vs. Tanquinho final.  As much as Tanquinho has been on a tear this year, this division still belongs to Lucas.

Middle

Now this going to be a great division!  A lot of the division’s big names are in town – Murilo Santana, Clark Gracie, James Harbison, Davi Ramos, and Victor Estima.  James Harbison is a newly promoted black belt but this Lloyd Irvin prodigy accomplished the “Grand Slam” of jiu jitsu this year by winning his weight at the Europeans, Brazilian Nationals, Pans, and Gi Worlds.  This will be his first tournament at black belt and I am excited to see what he can accomplish.

Murilo Santana is a lesser known competitor but those of us who are self proclaimed bjj nerds know all about him!  I see a Murilo vs. Clark Gracie semifinal with the winner of that facing eventual champion Davi Ramos.  Davi has been absolutely amazing as of late.  He is coming off 3 submission wins this year vs. Kayron Gracie, Jeff Monson and Joao Assis.  Known as the “Mike Tyson” of the Atos gym, this should be Davi’s breakout tournament where the rest of the bjj community will finally know his name!

Medium Heavy

How in GOD’s name is Pablo Popovitch a Medium Heavyweight?  Weapon X, as he is fondly called, is huge!  The final here will be Pablo vs. Rafael Lovato.   But before getting to the finals, Rafael should have a war against Otavio “The Hulk” Souza.  I remember watching these 2 compete against each other at the Pan Americans a couple years back.  It was Otavio’s first tournament as a black belt beating Rafael by points.  It was a thrilling fast paced match and I would expect nothing less.

Local Southern California Bjj legend Erik Anderson competes in his first major black belt division.  Those of us who live here know of this man’s accomplishments.  I think he really broke onto the bjj scene last year by medaling at weight and absolute in the Brown Belt Worlds (beating Ian Mcpherson along the way).  To medal at this tournament Erik would need to get through Otavio Sousa.

Heavy

I have no idea if it’s a typo or not but 2 guys that normally compete at lower weight classes are here – Lucas Leite (Middle) and Marcel Louzado (Medium Heavy).  Lucas is especially surprising as it appears he has jumped up 2 weight classes!  If this is true I would have to put Lucas down as one of the favorites.  He has a game that can and is successful against anyone no matter the size and whether or not it is in the gi.

Robert “Tussa” Alencar is one of the most intense competitors around.   He should face Marcel Louzado in the semifinals.  This would be a rematch from last year’s tournament where Tussa slapped on a last minute triangle for the win – this definitely was the match of the tournament.

Kevin Casey could make some noise as well.  Kevin is always a game competitor and a tough fight for anybody.

Super Heavy

There are 3 favorites here and neither would be a surprise if we see the gold dangling around their neck.  Joao Assis was last year’s best No Gi grappler.  He won the “World's Greatest Grappler” tournament hosted by Grapplers Quest.  Joao is also coming from a silver medal at this year’s edition of ADCC – arguably the most prestigious tournament in the world!  Standing in Joao’s way will be Antonio Peinado and Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida.  Peinado and Assis are on the same side of the bracket.  I for one would like Peinado to win so that Buchecha and Joao do not close out the final – both are teammates at Chekmat.

Ultra Heavy

Usually one of the smallest divisions and this is no exception with 5 competitors in the brackets.  Cyborg has to be the odds on winner here.  Aside from winning his division, look for him to cause waves in the absolute division as well.