The Brazilian JiuJitsu World Championships, also known as the “Mundials,” is the world’s largest stage for competitive jiujitsu. This past weekend, competitors, coaches and fans took to the now iconic blue Pyramid at California State Long Beach for the four daylong tournament. This year’s competition, saw the likes of all the usual all-star competitors, including: Marcello Garcia, Cobrinha, Braga Neto, the Mendes Brothers, Tanquinho, Caio Terra, Durinho Burns, Kron Gracie, Romulo, Bernardo Faria, Rodolfo Vieira, Samir Chantre, Marcus Almeida, Luke Stewart, Ryan Hall, Lucas Lepri, JT Torres and Cyborg.
Notable female competitors who took to the mats included: Kyra Gracie, Leticia Ribeiro, Hillary Williams, Luana Alzuguir, Beatriz Mesquita, Hanette Staack, and Gabi Garcia, to name a few. Absent this year were some of the normally expected faces like—Roger Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro, Xande Ribeiro, Braulio Estima and Andre Galvao, all refraining from competition, but most were still in attendance supporting their teams. There was an apparent mix of both long time champions/BJJ celebs, mixed with a talented and hungry up and coming group of BJJ competitors.
A few highlights and news from the event—
· Alliance won 4 Gold medals in the black belt male divisions, as well as 3 Golds for the black/brown belt women—the team also brought home the team trophy by winning the most medals in the competition!
· Team standings: 1st- Alliance – 127 points, 2nd- Checkmat BJJ - 59 points, 3rd- Atos JJ – 44 points
· No American males were in the black belt finals—with the exception of Kron Gracie (who is Brazilian/American). Nonetheless—no gringos were in the finals.
· Although thrilling, there were no submissions completed in the men's black belt finals.
· The women’s finals saw more excitement, emotion and submissions than their male counterparts.
· Hanette Stack completed an impressive flying armbar at:26 seconds into her match against Ida Hansson of Checkmat in the women’s middleweight final.
· Rumor has it, this year’s World’s was Romulo Barral's last competition.
· In a post on Twitter, Hillary Williams also said she would be taking a break from jiujitsu and competition to focus on medical school.
· MMA fighters Nate Diaz (brown belt) and Christiane Cyborg (purple belt) competed in their respective divisions, Nate Diaz was defeated in his third match while Cyborg went on to win gold.
· In one of the events many surprises, Brago Neto lost his third match in the absolute from a bow and arrow choke by Almeida. Braga Neto later shined in the black belt Ultra Heavy weight division where he won gold.
· The podium was a mix of legends like Marcello Garcia and Bruno Malfacine, but also saw the likes of a wave of the younger champions such as Durinho Burns and Braga Neto.
· It was apparent that a strategy to win-by-way-of-points and stalling was implemented by many of the younger fighters who come from a generation where the point system is more emphasized and acceptable than simply going for a win via submission.
· During the black belt male matches, there was a significant amount of tie-ups & 50/50 stalling occurring. So much so that just this week GracieMag interviewed Cobrinha regarding his view of how stalling in jiujitsu competitions needs to be addressed.
Men’s Black Belt Finals:
Rooster: For the gold medal match, Bruno Malfacine defeated Caio Terra with 4-2 in points. On his path to the podium, during the quarterfinals, Malfacine took the back of Brandon Mullins and defeated him with 20-2 in points. In the semi finals Malfacine once again took the back of his opponent, this time Josef Manuel’s, for a 10-0 win.
Light Feather: Instead of facing his Atos teammate in the gold medal match, Ary Farias bowed out to teammate, Guilherme Mendes', who took the gold. In the quarter finals, Guilherme submitted Laercio Fernandes with a cross choke from top half guard. In the semis, he defeated Samuel Braga of Gracie Barra with 4-2 in points.
Feather: In a much-anticipated bout, Rafael Mendes of Atos edged Augusto “Tanquinho” of Soul Fighters, by just 2 advantage points to 1, the two were tied 4-4. Leading up to the finals, the young Tanquinho just scathed his two wins over Bruno Frazzato with 1 advantage, and then 4-2 in points over Cobrinha in the semis.
Light: In an exhilarating win for the Atos fighter, Gilbert Durinho Burns defeated Kron Gracie with a 9-2 win. In the late morning, Durinho beat Lucas Lepri of Alliance in the quarterfinals by 4-1 in advantages and then faced Lloyd Irvin Jr.’s JT Torres in the semis. Durinho took the back of the young Torres, holding him in body triangle, looking for a mataleon, but earning the win by points.
Middle: Now a five-time world champion, the legendary Marcelo Garcia wins over Lucas Leite 2-0 to earn his spot atop the podium. Marcello fought Vitor Estima of Gracie Barra in the quarterfinals, beating him 3-0 in points. In an impressive win during the semis, Marcello put Gustavo Campos in a crucifix, submitting the fighter with an armbar with his legs.
Medium Heavy: Sérgio de Moraes takes the win from Rômulo Barral with 4 to 2 in points. Moraes defeated Eduardo Zanetti in the quarters and didn’t have to fight a semis match because his Alliance USA teammate, Rogel Monsalve bowed out to Moraes, allowing him to advance.
Heavy: Rodolfo Vieira beat Bernardo Faria. Viera armbared Guybson Sa in the quarter finals and then in a staggering 17-2 win, Viera took down Rafael Lovato Jr. multiple times in their semi finals match, which cemented Moraes’ advancement to the finals.
Super Heavy: Léo Nogueira beats Marcus de Almeida by referee decision after the two exchanged sweeps and were tied 2-2, Nogueira failed to finish his footlock attempt before the end of the match. On his way to gold, Nogueira submitted Gracie Elite’s Alberto Villanova and then Joao Assis in the semis.
Ultra Heavy: Antonio Braga Neto comes back from his loss in the absolute division to win against Rodrigo Cavaca by 7 to 0 in points. Neto finished Brian Wilson with a foot lock at 26 seconds in the quarterfinals and then defeated Cyborg with 9-0 in points before facing Cavaca for the final.
Absolute: Rodolfo Vieira wins the absolute title with a win over Bernardo Faria with a decisive 9 to 0.
Light Feather: Although impressive in her attempts to sweep and pass, Nyjah Easton couldn’t pass Leticia Ribeiro’s 3 – 2 lead in points. Leticia, the favorite among many female fighters defeated Easton ands is now a 5-time world champion.
Feather: In an unexpected turn of events, Michelle Nicolini defeated Kyra Gracie by a 3-1 advantage they were tied 4-4 in points. Although no poor reflection on Kyra—she is still a multiple world champion.
Light: Luana Alzuguir took the back and finished Luiza Monteiro with a bow and arrow choke.
Middle: Hannette Staack of Brazil 021 put on a quick flying armbar against Ida Josefin at :26 seconds into their final match.
Medium heavy: In a surprising win, Talita Noguiera of Gracie Elite beat Gracie Humaita’s Penny Thomas, 4-0.
Heavy: Gabi Garcia of Alliance submitted Emily Wetzel with a choke from top side control to win the gold.
Absolute: Gabi later fought Gracie Humaita’s Beatriz (aka Bia) Mesquita and won by points, for her second gold. Against Gabi, Bia resorted to the turtle defense to defend against Gabi’s aggression and size, yet a few times she was able to regain her spider guard.
Until next year! Oss
*I make every effort to make this accurate, so please let me know if there are any revisions needed from this story. Obrigada!