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2013 WORLD JIU-JITSU CHAMPIONSHIP

Brown Belt

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Small division of only 8 entries but both finalists from this year’s pans are competing: Darrison Hemmings and Henry Iribe.  They should get competition from last year’s bronze medalist Guilherme Mori of Nova Uniao.

Light Feather

The division ruled by the Miyao monsters.  Can anyone in this division not get berimbolo’d by these 2 gym rats?  They’ve been spending a lot of time with the Mendes Brothers at their Newport Beach Academy and are training with Atos’s best.  The only one stopping them is Keenan Cornelius in the absolute.  Possible bronze medalists: Johnny Munoz, Pedro Azevedo, and Adam Adshead (Bronze at the 2013 Pans).

Feather

With Paulo Miyao dropping down to Light Feather and Victor Genovesi moving up to Light, the favorite will be Gianni Grippo.  First year brown belt Denilson Bischilarri of Atos will also be in the running for Gold.  Semi-unknown Devin Maxwell is a game competitor as well – he took 2nd in the 2012 Pans losing to Gianni.

Light

You know a division is tough when Francisco “Sinistro” Itturalde isn’t even on your “A Team,” as he is representing Alliance International.  The 2 Alliance Ace’s on the main team are Gigi Paiva’s son Victor Genovesi (champion in the Feather weight last year) and Jhonny Souza (took 1st in this division at purple belt last year).  Atos will have a couple very tough fighters here with their Turkish star Ilke Bulut (won Euros this year), Jordon Schultz – who is has been a perennial medalist, and Klober Koike – unknown star in the States but is based in Japan and is a student of the Souza Brothers (Marquinhos and Roberto Satoshi).

Shoyoroll athlete Victor Silverio of GF Team is also in this division and is looking to improve on his Pans Bronze medal.  2013 Pan’s gold medalist Rafael Henrique of Gordo is here to try and grab gold again.  Aj Agazarm the self professed Acai connoisseur will also surely be in the mix.

Other competitors to watch: Gary Tonon (Ricardo Almeida/Gracie Elite), Christian Broadnax (Nova Uniao)

Middle

European stalwart Luca Anacoreta is in this division and should triangle several foes.  Alliance has 10 entries from their multiple locations and all appear to be very though led by Paul Schon, Fabio Pulita and Thomas Oyarzun.  Son of well known Carlson Gracie black belt Ricardo Cavalacanti, Romulo Cavalacanti will be tough and could medal.  Champion at the Pans James Canuto of GF Team is also in this field.  Irishman Daragh O’Conaill is another known competitor from his days on Lloyd Irvin’s reality show.  Lookout for Marcos da Silva Tinoco, who 2 years ago got double silver at Purple only losing to then rising start Felipe Pena (now a black belt) in both finals of weight and absolute.

Medium Heavy

Keenan Cornelius.  Seriously who can stop him?  Time and time again he has proven to us that he is just on another level.  But don’t be fooled there will still be lots of good fights here with competitors such as: Matheus Diniz (Alliance), Manuel Diaz (Caio Terra), Kit Dale (Checkmat), Inacio Neto (Gracie Barra)

A matchup that I hope we see would be Keenan vs. Sebastian Brosche of Frontline.  Sebastian came onto the scene a couple years ago as a total unknown and winning 2 gold medals at the Worlds.  Since then he has not been competing as much and from what I heard had focused on his yoga program.  Sebastian has world class judo and an unorthodox style of jiu jitsu that I am curious to see how Keenan would handle.

Heavy

The buzz in this division is that Checkmat ace Jackson Souza was finally able to get a visa and now the American public will be able to witness his jiu jitsu.  This is the same Jackson Souza whom Lloyd Irvin tried to get to come to the States to face Keenan Cornelius in a $5000 super fight.  Now with visa in hand, let’s hope this match up comes to fruition in the absolute.

Competitors to watch: MMA fighter Luke Rockhold (Checkmat), Justin Tevis (Gracie Barra) a strong wrestler who could surprise folks, Desmond Stockard (Kaijin MMA), Kaue Damasceno (Nova Uniao) who is probably the favorite behind Jackson (that would be a great final), Johannes Wieth (Ribeiro) has won at all belt levels and actually got 2nd here 2 years ago, Roberto Torralbas (Lloyd Irvin) Pan winner this year

Super Heavy

Luke Costello should be the overall favorite.  He has great Judo and a guard that is quite good for a man his size.  His Gracie Barra counterpart Rodrigo Pereria is coming off gold at Pans, these 2 will look to meet in the final.  Standing in their way should be Thiago Ximenes (Alliance), MMA fighter Jeffrey Boudreaux (Roberto Traven) who has medaled as a purple belt at worlds and recently got double gold in the Masters division in the Pans.

Ultra Heavy

Should be a Lloyd Irvin close out with perennial medalist Willie Leonard and Ken Brown.

 

Black Belt

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For years this division has been ruled by Bruno Malfacine and Caio Terra.  Up until this year’s Pans, Bruno had the edge in this rivalry.  Has Caio finally solved the mystery of Mighty Mouse?  We should see another rematch between the 2. 

This division appears to have more entries than it normally does with 20 competitors this year.  The man with the most bronze medals in world’s history, Felipe Costa, is once again competing.  Fabio “Monstrinho” Passos is another very talented competitor but unfortunately he is always in the same bracket as Caio.

Competitors to watch: Brandon “Wolverine” Mullins (Gracie Barra/Draculino),Milton Bastos (Paragon), Koji Shibamoto (Tri-Force)

Light Feather

Is anyone going to bet against Gui Mendes?  Ever since dropping down from feather he has owned this weight class.  No one seems to be able to solve his methodical pressure passing and brabo choke with a guard that’s appears un-passable.  The closest one thus far has been Laercio Fernandes.  This Giva Santana black belt spends most of his time preparing with Cobrinha in LA, I have to believe this is the reason why he registers as Alliance as opposed to Lotus Club.  Laercio has lost by the slimmest of margins to Gui, will this tournament be his breakout?  Getting to the finals will be tough for him as he will most likely be bracketed with Gui’s teammate Ary Farias (whom Laercio beat in the semis last year).  Ary is an incredibly talented competitor and is a favorite to medal.   Samuel Braga, arguably the inventor of the berimbolo, is back to reclaim the thrown he lost.  An underdog in this division to look out for is Gustavo Carpio of Marra Senki.  In years past he has competed up a weight at feather and did fairly well but chose to drop down in 2013.  He has had good results far medaling at the Pans and New York Open.  Old timer Gabriel Wilcox and Samir Chantre are also dangerous opponents, this division will have some great match up.

Feather

Will Rafa join Royler as a 4x champion of this division?  Or will Cobrinha beat him to it and take back the featherweight thrown?  Right now Rafa has the edge.  Presently he appears to be just that much better than everyone else in this division.  Getting a rematch will be tough for Cobrinha as he will be bracketed with Augusto Mendes.  Augusto suffered a serious neck injury 2 years ago.  Since rehabbing it he has come back and had very good results – losing by a sweep to Cobrinha at the Pans.  Remember just a short time ago Augusto beat both Rafa and Cobrinha in the same year.  In the mix for bronze will be Mario Reis (Alliance), Osvaldo Mozinho (Caio Terra/Soul Fighters), Wellington “Megaton” Diaz (Gracie Humaita) who again beats father time and has competed in every single edition of the Mundials, Sandro “Batata” Ribeiro (Gordo).

Light

The 2 headed Monster from Alliance is back!  After having US visa issues that kept him out of competition, Michael Langhi has come back strong and assumed his spot beside Lucas Lepri in closing out the Pans this year.  That said they will have a tough time in repeating this feat as Atos has just assembled its own dynamic duo of JT Torres and Roberto Satoshi.  For years now JT has been on the cusp of breaking into the elite of the sport but barely falls short.  Will his recent move to San Diego and training under Andre Galvao get him over that hump?  Since getting his black belt, Japan based Satoshi has shown he can beat the best.

The man who has had great success in recent competitions versus the Alliance duo is Leandro Lo.  Though he did suffer an upset at the hands of GF Teams Vitor Henrique at the Pans (keep in mind though Leandro was fighting up a weight at Middle), Leandro has beaten both Lepri and Langhi multiple times.  He posses probably the best toreando and open guard at the moment.

Competitors to watch: Juan Caio Kamezawa (Alliance Sao Paulo) who faired decently at the recent copa podio and won this division at brown belt last year, Nate Mendelsohn (Coalition 95) who is a new black belt under Claudio Franca, Vinicius Marinho (GF Team), Philipe “Furao” Della Monica (Gracie Barra), Zach Maxwell (Gracie Humaita) who can and could beat the top guys, fellow sherdogger Oliver Geddes (Roger Gracie)

Middle

Though there are many viable candidates in this division, my favorite here would still be Claudio Calasans.  He has elite level judo coupled with a guard that no seems to be able to solve.  If he doesn’t get hurt doing the absolute (which seems to happen) he should be in the finals.   Aside from Claudio, Atos has a strong team in this division with 5 entries (though only 2 count towards team points).  Supporting Claudio will be Davi “Mike Tyson” Ramos who has some of the most vicious foot locks in the game and Marcos Souza an underrated competitor that is not very well known due to him being based in Japan.

Barbosa’s Murilo Santana is another star that has seemed to fly under the radar.  DJ Jackson of Lloyd Irvin will also be a very tough fight with his relentless wrestling and pressure passing.

Clark Gracie and his famed omoplata will want to continue his pans success.  Will we see another viral meme from Clark at the worlds?

You know this division is stacked when I have written about several competitors without even mentioning the returning champion Otavio Sousa.  Otavio is an intense competitor and is quite possibly the most physically strong middle weight in the bracket.  He and his teammate Victor Estima will shoot to close out their division for Gracie Barra.

Competitors to watch: Gustavo Junqueira (Alliance), Ian McPherson (Alliance), Eduardo Santoro (Cia Paulista), Vitor Henrique (GF Team), Jake Mackenzie (GF Team), Lucas Rocha (Gracie Barra)

Medium Heavy

Probably one of the most exciting story lines for the worlds is the return of Braulio Estima to the tournament scene.  He has been away for a few years focusing on ADCC and his MMA career.  But in 2013 we get a lot of Braulio in the gi – recent Copa Podio superfight vs. Xande, Mundials, and upcoming Metamorsis superfight vs. Rodolfo!  Braulio looked rusty in his loss to Xande at the Copa Podio and that was a 6 minute match.  Will he have his grips and wind back to fight the 10 minute matches multiple times?  Braulio’s Gracie Barra teammate Romulo Barral is looking to repeat his gold from last year.  He suffered a somewhat surprising defeat to Guto Campos at the recent Pans.  He should bounce back from that and medal in this division.

The favorite will be Andre Galvao.  Having one of the most complete games in grappling he is also one of the most fun competitors to watch, you never know what is going to happen.  Andre closed out this division with his teammate Guto Campos at the Pans after submitting Tarsis Humphreys in the semis with a kimura.  Tarsis will try and get Andre back; it was only a few years ago that Tarsis was the world champion of this division.  He will be joined by his teammate and rising Alliance star Dimituris Souza.  Dimitrius is one that many Alliance people have said to watch as they expect great things from him.

Little known Gordo duo Renan Vital and Pedro Borges Dos Santos could surprise people.  “Rinonceronte” as Renan is known possesses amazing judo and a relentless top game (that was honed by many years of training under Terere); while Pedro has the quintisentially deep half guard you would expect from a student of Gordo.

Competitors to watch: Chris Moriarty (Alliance) is back after taking off time to finish Chiropractic school, Eduardo “Turtle Master” Telles (Brasa) who recently moved to San Diego and has been training with Andre Galvao for this tournament, Abmar Barbosa (Drysdale), Felipe Pena (Gracie Barra) who in 2012 was one of the best brown belts, Kleber “Buiu” Oliveira (Gracie Barra)

Heavy

Checkmat has 4 entries and all will be in the medal mix.  Nivaldo Oliveira and Tarcisio Jardim are looking to improve on their silver and bronze medals from the Pans this year.  They will be supported by half guard wizard Lucas Leite and upstart Yuri Simoes.  Roberto “Tussa” Alencar who beat Nivaldo in the finals of the Pans is in this division again. 

Rodolfo Vieira, who did not compete at the Pans, here wants to repeat his gold from 2012.  Aside from the weight group we are all hoping to see another Buchecha/ Rodolfo match up in the absolute (they had one of the best fights in history at last year’s Worlds).

The legend Xande Ribeiro is always in the mix with the young guns.  He is coming of a convincing win over Braulio Estima at the last Copa Podio.  He will want revenge over Rodolfo for last year’s finals loss.

Competitors to watch: Alexandre Ceconi (Ceconi Team) this Rillion Gracie black belt is good and will be a hard match up for any competitor,  Diogo Almeida (Ryan Gracie), UFC Ultimate Fighter competitor Kevin “King” Casey (Rickson Gracie)

Super Heavy

Pretty crazy that last year’s champion and absolute runner up Leo Noguerira is not representing Alliance’s A team!  The duo that will be trying to get points for Alliance’s team title will be Bernardo Farias and Leo Leite.  Both have very different games with Bernardo having his famed deep half guard and Leo being the most accomplished judo fighter in this tournament (he represents Brazil internationally).

Rafael Lovato will try and stop any sort of Alliance close out.  This is a higher weight than he usually fights but remember he did win the Ultra Heavy category in 2007 so he will be used to it.

I am very interested in seeing how Joao Gabriel Rocha does in this division.  The Soul Fighter black belt pulled of the double gold last year at brown belt.  Physically he can handle these guys and has complete game with no apparent weaknesses top or bottom.

Competitors to watch: Joao Assis (Checkmat), Bruno Bastos (Nova Uniao), James Puopolo (Ribeiro)

Ultra Heavy

No man Buchecha’s size should move the way he does.  Coming off his best year ever in 2012 he has continued his performance with a double gold at the Pans beating Galvao in the absolute final.   The only loss he has had in the past year was to his instructor Rodrigo Cavaca at the Abu Dhabi World Pro, some say it was a playful fight while others say it is the master shutting down his pupil.  In fact both are signed up for this division and will hope to close it out together.

Another Checkmat hotshot in Alexander Trans is in this division.  I imagine he will be bracketed with Cavaca and already has a win over him.  Cyborg is also here and will be trying tornado guard all opponents.

Competitors to watch: Asa Fuller (Ace Jiu Jitsu) is older but don’t be fooled as he will try and foot lock you and he also actually gets to see/train with Buchecha on a daily basis, Ricardo Evangelista (GF Team) it is said that in training no one can stop him – remember this is the same team that Rodolfo comes from, Orlando Sanchez (Gracie Barra) the widest man at the tournament, Abraham Marte (Yamasaki)