Considered by many to be the big dance of the sport of BJJ, the Mundials are upon us once again!
The Mundial brackets are up here:
Discuss the Mundials here!
Alright, no hard and fast predictions this time around, as I'm not familiar with many of the names that are entered (and there is plenty of potential for surprises), but I can at least talk about some of the big names in each division.
Black Belt Divisions
Last years divisional champion Gabriel Moraes is on one side of the 10 man bracket and having won the Copa do Mundo last week he is sure to be the favorite. It was a close victory over Samuel Braga, who resides on the opposite side of the bracket, and Felipe Costa who took third last year and is on the opposite side of the bracket as well. (You might know Felipe as the webmaster of www.Brazilianblackbelt.com  )
Tough division here and the champion is NOT returning, but two names stand out here: Carlos "Escorrega" Lemos and Bibiano Fernandes.
Ruben 'Cobrinha' Charles brings the momentum as last week's Copa do Mundo champion, but he is in the same bracket as 2004 Mundial champion Mario Reis of the super dangerous triangle choke. All the way on the last bracket is OTM favorite Fredson Paixao and consistant placer. Other names to look out for are Wellington "Megaton" Dias and Yuki Nakai and American Jared Weiner.
A large (four bracket) division, but a lot of unfamiliar so far names with the exception of 2004 Mundial champion Daniel Moraes.
Of course, the big news is last years champion Marcelo Garcia will not be in this year with a hand injury, in fact the only person returning who placed last year is Flavio Serafim. The spotlight is going to be on Andre Galvao, who took second in the Copa do Mundo last week (his opponent is not listed in the Mundials however). Tough Texan Travis Tooke can surprise many however, and OTM's Turtle Guard Josh Russell will also show his stuff off.
Two brackets and plenty of fireworks expected here. Looking at the matchups, the likely final four of the division will be Braulio Estima, Demian Maia (who won in the Copa do Mundo), Jacare and Saulo Riberio. Damn. Who takes it this year is ANYONE'S guess.
The favorite in this division has to be Copa do Mundo champ American Robert Drysdale. Another American will give him a run for his money in Rafael Lovato Jr., who took third last week. On the same bracket is Lucio Rodrigues, who took third last year. In the other bracket is the always dangerous Fabio Leopoldo.
12 men battling it out here, but this bracket is as high powered as they come. Roger Gracie, last years divisional and absolute champion has Margarida and Eduardo Telles on his side of the bracket. On the other side of the bracket resides Copa do Mundo Absolute Champion and division champion Xande Riberio, as well as two time absolute champion Rodrigo "Cumprido" Medeiros and the very dangerous Roberto Tozi (who lost to Xande last week by the narrowest of margins).
Leo Leite took second last week (champion Gabriel Napao is sitting this one out). On the other bracket is Marcio Corleta.
The Absolute category:
Of course, this is the division which captures every one's attention the most. Roger Gracie is going to be very, very tough to beat, he's even more dangerous than last year, but the one thing that sets him apart from all others is his stellar defense. No doubt Xande Riberio is looking for some revenge after being choked by Roger TWICE at ADCC, and he carries the momentum of the Copa do Mundo championships as well as defeating Margarida and Jacare back to back and making them look human in the process. Still, if things go their way they could be the champion once again as well. You can't over look two time absolute champion Cumprido as well as six time world champion Saulo.
Still, if forced to make a prediction, I'm going to say Roger takes this absolute title as well. Offense make get you to the playoffs, but it's defense that wins you championships.
Make your own predicition at OntheMat.com forums!
Best of luck to everyone this weekend and see you on the mat!
Discuss the Mundials at the OTM forums!