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2012 European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship

2012 European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship

 

 

 

This week we have the first major IBJJF tournament of 2012.  It is also the first tournament featuring the new IBJJF rules.  Sorry guys, can’t wear thongs anymore, its boxers or briefs only!

Before we get started with our analysis, we’d like to wish our friend Guillame Huni the best of luck at the tournament.  Guillame has the infamy of introducing me to Brazilian jiu jitsu, though I did not know it at the time.  It was during high school  basketball practice when I was a lowly sophomore and he was a bad a$$ senior.  Guillame had gotten a hold of “Grappling” Magazine and decided to try a move on me.   Needless to say I had no idea what he was doing and all I could think was “This is the closest I have ever been to another man!”  Fast forward 12 years and today I realize he was applying a mounted arm triangle on me, and can now appreciate the warmth of another man.

Time to drink some more and repress my first homo erotic memory….

Onto the Jiu jitsu:

(Disclaimer, it’s January 22nd and I think this is the final list)

Galo:

I have no idea who any of these guys are!  None of the top guys are competing at this tournament so this is a tossup!

Pluma:

Much like Galo, this is another very small division with only 7 competitors.  Again not many of the division’s stars are in Europe for the competition.  Look to see Carlos “Esquisito” Hollanda take this division.  He’s had very good success in the No Gi division placing at major tournament, but falls short during the Gi events.  He wins and hopefully can bring that momentum to Pans in March.

Pena:

Hands down favorite here is Bruno Frazzatto.  If it weren’t for Cobrinha, this man would have had several world titles to his name.  Wellington “Megaton” Dias, the perennial competitor, is also in this division.  Should he be on the other side of the bracket, look for a Frazzato vs. Megaton final.  Denilson Pimenta who spent most of last year competing in the Masters divisions is back in the adult group.  If he is on Megaton’s side of the bracket, it could make for a very good semifinal.

Leve:

Due to his move from NYC to Atlanta, Lucas Lepri was not able to make this tournament.  Even without him, Alliance’s other ace in this division, Michael Langhi, should take gold.  Ed Ramos of Atos and Rodrigo Simoes of Gracie Barra should do well.  Roberto Satoshi makes his debut as a black belt at IBJJF tournament.  He is a very exciting competitor to watch.

The main adversary for Langhi will be JT Torres.  JT is at the cusp of taking the world by storm.  He has fallen in the semifinals of major events several times.  Talent wise he is right there with Langhi and Lepri, it all just depends on the day.  I for one would love to see JT win everything this year.  Regardless he is a young kid with a very bright future.

Medio:

Clark Gracie has really come into his own since becoming a black belt.  He did very well at last year’s worlds in coming third in this division.  Victor Estima is another name to watch.  Since some big wins at ADCC and winning the No Gi Mundials, the younger Estima appears to be emerging from his brother’s shadow.  Hopefully he continues his winning ways. 

Otavio Sousa drops down a weight division for this tournament.  I for one cannot even imagine Otavio being this light.  Those who have seen him in person can attest to his size.  But prior to becoming a black belt this was his main division.

The sleeper here is James Harbison of Lloyd Irvin.  James won the Grand Slam (Gold at Euro, Pan, Brazilian Nationals, and Mundials) last year at brown belt.  During his first major black belt tournament at last year’s No Gi Worlds he secured a win over Cobrinha en-route to a bronze in the Absolute Division.

Meio Pesado:

What I like about the list of this division is that it contains amazing grapplers that mainstream jiu jitsu fans never have really heard of.  Gustavo Junqueira, Vitor “Gigante” Toledo, Marcos de Souza, and Nivaldo de Oliveira Lima all could easily take this division.

Gustavo, though young, has been around for awhile and people may recognize him as one of the Koral models.  He has been languishing on Alliance B team due to skilled teammates such as Sergio Moraes, and Tarsis Humphreys.  But Gustavo had a good win over Otavio Sousa in last year’s worlds and should be looking to continue that momentum.

Marcos de Souza is a pretty big name in the Asian BJJ season.  Aside from being a great competitor he is also co-owner of gi brand “Bull Terrier.”  Regardless of who he faces, Marcos is always a tough fight.  He has a very balanced game with incredibly tight passing.

Nivaldo de Oliveira Lima is my favorite here.  He doesn’t compete too often in the USA but has many wins in Brazil.  If he had more opportunities to fight outside of Brazil, I think this would be a name to include up there with the likes of Galvao, Estima, and Moraes.

Pesado:

Rodolfo, Rodolfo, Rodolfo!  That is all you need to know about this division!  This many practically won everything last year.  I think the only interesting matchup left for him would be against another one name enigma in Roger.  Rodolfo is already on form this year winning every fight by submission at last week’s Abu Dhabi Trials in Rio.

I’ve been a big fan of Roberto “Tussa” Alencar but he just seems to fall short year after year.  Aside from Tussa another contender for “silver” is Rafael Lovato. 

Super Pesado:

Small bracket but full of quality and size as 3 of the 4 competitors are considered among the best in the world.

Perennial Silver medalist to Rodolfo Vieira’s gold’s is Bernardo Faria.  Interesting that he decided to move up a division – is Rodolfo the new boogey man?  We use to see a whole boat load of competitors switching divisions in order to avoid Roger Gracie.

Bernardo should meet either his teammate Leo Nogueira or Lucio Lagarto in the final.  Leo is coming off a gold medal at the 2011 mundials.  Personally I would like to see Leo lose to Lagarto as this would ensure that a final would take place.  Lagarto is an old Gracie Barra champion and is one of the toughest people out there, not many can say they submitted cancer.

Pesadissimo:

It’s the big boys!  I am not too familiar with the names here except for one – Alexander Trans.  Alex was arguably the best competitor last year as his lone loss was to Fabricio Werdum at the ADCC Championships in London.  Aside from that he won everything he competed in and almost pulled a Grand slam at weight and absolute.  The lone blemish was that he did not win the Brazilian Nationals Absolute as he did not enter that bracket.  But these accomplishments were all done at Brown Belt.  This will be his first tournament at Black.  Though inexperienced at this belt he does have the game to win.