Gumby’s Gigantic Mundial Preview pt 1
Blue, Brown and Black Belt Divisions
The Mundials. The big dance. If you love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition this is the tournament to look forward to. For the past 11 years, if someone wants to be called a “World” Champion, this has been the tournament to win at.
Surprising as this may be to many, after literally attending and participating in hundreds of tournaments over my career, this will be my first ever Mundials of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I had decided last year that I was going to make this years no matter what, and as luck (good or bad, depending on your point of view) would have it, the Mundials have been moved out of Brazil and to Long Beach, California. The given reason is that the Pan American games are being held in Rio the same week, making securing a venue unfeasible (in reality, there are likely a plethora of reasons for the move and it may or may not be permanent). The result however is the largest, and most internationally flavored Mundials to date. Around 1800 competitors will take the mat from August 23 through the 26 to test their mettle against the world’s best. Keep in mind, that other than the white belt tournament and blue belt juvenille, all of the competitors are registered in the adult class as well, no age specific groupings for this championships.
You can view the brackets for yourself here:
With the largest Mundials to date also comes the largest blue belt divisions ever. There was such a turn out for the blue belt absolute for example that the confederation was forced to scrap it. Many of the divisions run eight (8!) pages long, meaning a championship run in those divisions could consist of up to seven matches!
One of the interesting aspects of the blue belt division is you often see notable athletes from other disciplines or even sport trying out their hand here. Some may even have a wealth of grappling knowledge, but limited experience in the gi and want to try their hand at the world’s largest competition. This makes it especially hard to gauge how the blue belt divisions will go, and there are bound to be some major surprises.
Someone recently asked me if I though being Brazilian would be an advantage in this competition. The Brazilians may not be as well represented in this particular competition because of the cost for them to travel and participate, but the ones who do make the journey are sure to be tough. But regardless of the Brazilian factor, s the level of Jiu Jitsu continues to increase world wide, I feel that we would have seen the most international medal podium in the blue belt divisions yet. In other words, it is truly ANYONE’s game in this category, and as much as any other division, the winner is going to get by on a combination of skill, conditioning and luck.
Blue Belt Champions 2007
Pan Ams Sergio Castillo Easton Brazilian JJ
Brasilierio Thiago Dias Brazilian Top Team
European Kinji Matsura Brazilian Top Team
Pan Ams Pet Runez Gustavo Dantas
Brasilierio Ary Farias Brasa
European Gaillard Julien Gracie Barra
Pan Ams Jonathan Thomas Vaghi Martial Arts
Brasilierio Charles Oliveira Jorge Patino
European Pierre Girard Gracie Barra Sud-France
Pan Ams AJ Agazarm Gracie Barra Tampa
Brasilierio Willian Martins Gracie Barra PB
European Maciej Kowalski Walka Gniezno
Pan Ams Mikell Bursky Rockland BJJ
Brasilierio Ricardo Lima Omar Salum
European Zerijal Milan Zerjal Academy
Pan Ams Chaun Sims McMahon BJJ
Brasilierio Alberto Ramos UGF
European Halmi Viktor Gracie Barra
Pan Ams Anthony Molina Cassio Werneck
Brasilierio Rodolfo Vieira Pro Combat
European Powell Kaminski Walka Gniezno
Pan Ams Steven Oliver NYMAG
Brasilierio Helio Berlandi Maromba JJ
European Mikael Marffy Brasa
Pan Ams David Ashkinaz Triune JJ
Brasilierio Douglas Cothim Alliance
European Gunnar Johanson Hilti BJJ
The purple belt divisions are stacked with talent, and nearly as large as the blue belt divisions, with the light/leve and middle/medio divisions being eight pages long (and the road to a championship in the light division taking up to seven matches!) In some ways however, the purple belt divisions, while still an incremental step up from the blue divisions, are less of a wild card in certain respects in that competitors have usually settled into a more conventional jiu jitsu game. Still the experience level of competitors in the purple belt division can vary widely, as in some circles purple belt is one of the longest belts held, you are most likely to see division champions in here looking for the repeat.
Purple Belt Champions 2007
Pan Ams Spenser Hewitt Marc Walder
Brasilierio Adriano Mineiro FJJAM
European Andrea Verdemare Italian Connection
Pan Ams Erick Buthsombat Guillobel BJJ
Brasilierio David Moreira Brasa
European João Santos Gracie Lisboa
Pan Ams Justin Rader Saulo Ribeiro
Brasilierio Antonio Carlos Brazilian Top Team
European Eric Satge Aranha Toulouse
Pan Ams Jason Hayes Performance
Brasilierio Matheus Carmona Akxe BJJ
European François Lafferre Gracie Barra Cote D' Azur
Pan Ams Kayron Gracie Gracie Barra
Brasilierio Anderson Lopes Gordo JJ
European Tony Backman Hilti BJJ
Pan Ams Don Ortega New Mexico
Brasilierio Eduardo Alves FJJAM
European Samuel Monin Gracie Barra Cote D' Azur
Pan Ams Cameron Diffley Las Vegas Combat Club
Brasilierio Tiago Pinheiro Osvaldo Alves
European Gregor Herb BJJ Freiburg
Pan Ams Gustavo DiasElias Chute Boxe
Brasilierio Gustavo Dias UGF
European Kfir Eithen Royce Gracie
Pan Ams Mika Shuss Gracie Barra Vancouver
Brasilierio Leonardo Guarabyra Renovação
European Laurent Verger Monteiro
Brown Belt Divisions
Brown Belt Division is where things start to get REALLY interesting, as many future superstars have began their true path to greatness and Jiu Jitsu stardom right here. One step below black belt games have solidified and have become personalized at this stage, and competitors have their chance to scout each other out at this point.
There are only two competitors in this division. Pablo Teixeira takes on Hiroki Takahashi. One of them will be the champion, and the other will take a silver. Not bad. Neither have medaled in any of the international competitions this year.
Pan Ams Vacant
Brasilierio Igor Rodrigues Bolão
Superfeather weight has a big jump to a two page bracket of competitors. The only 2007 first place winner entering the division is Maxiliano Campos, who is a favorite going into the Mundials. Another high profile competitor in this division (on the other page of the bracket) would be Sim Go, who was the ADCC 2007 North American Qualifier.
Pan Ams Joseph Capizzi Renzo Gracie
Brasilierio Maxmiliano Oliveira Fernando Boi
European João Carneiro Gordo JJ
Featherweight is a four page bracket. Pan American champion Raphael Assuncao is seeded on the first page, European Champion Luiz Tosta is seeded on the second page. There seems to be an even distribution of nationalities in this division (North American, South American and Asian) countries represented here, an interesting match up on the second page pits two competitors from Axis against each other, one from Japan and one from Korea. Knowing nothing of the competitors individually, but just guessing on their nationality, I’m going to say expect fireworks.
Pan Ams Raphael Assuncao Knuckleup
Brasilierio Leon Amancio Brasa
European Luiz Tosta Gracie Barra
Another four page bracket here, and a lot of interesting possibilities here. Caique’s son Pedro Elias is on the first page, and he has made a name for himself on the southern California circuit, so seeing him here is no big surprise. Most eyes will be on the lone 2007 gold medalist participating here and arguably one of the highest profile athletes in the entire brown belt division, Bill Cooper, who is seeded on the second page. Bill looked pretty unstoppable at the Pan Americans and was contemplating a run at the Medium division, but instead opted to try to turn his luck around in the lightweight division and has to be considered a favorite here.
Pan Ams Bill Cooper Alliance
Brasilierio Michael Lang Alliance
European Ido Pariente Behring
All eyes on this division are going to be firmly focused on Kron Gracie, who competition wise has upheld his famous father’s legacy with incredible results, managing to submit all competitors at this years Pan American games. He is also 2007’s lone gold medalist in this division, making him the favorite on his competition merits alone. A few notes on some high profile Americans (sue me, I’m an American, I follow these things), Andrew “JudoGoat” Smith is in, where as due to injury Paul Schriener (who took third last year in this division) is out.
Pan Ams Kron Gracie Rickson Gracie
Brasilierio Igmar Santos Brasa
European Maxmiliano Carvalho Gracie Barra Hungria
An interesting bracket, to be sure, featuring competitors from all over the globe here. The number one seed, and the only gold medalist represented here, is Josh “NY Playboy” Griffiths, who won the Pan American championships and accredits much of his success in the last year to having a regular training partner and instructor in Marcelo Garcia. The first page actually has some fascinating matchups, Clark Gracie (the son of Carley Gracie) draw Jordan’s official BJJ instructor Zaid Mirza in the first round. Don Ortega, who is the USA representitive to the FILA world championships in a few weeks draws one of the prides of the Gracie Academy in Jarrod Kwity, and after an absence to concentrate on a promising wrestling career, standout Jayson Collard from Ralph Gracie is back to do some damage in this division. This figures to be on the best divisions to watch in the entire tournament.
Pan Ams Joshua Griffiths Alliance
Brasilierio Rodrigo Fajardo Gracie Barra Curitiba
European Fabio Fetter Never Shake Team
Another intriguing division, all three of the gold medalists are present in this division making this anyone’s game. Kevin Casey training at Rickson’s academy has an incredible powerful game. Marko Helen mowed right through his competition at the Europeans and took second in the absolute, probably the best showing for any Eurpoean competitor at that tournament. The big spoilsport (and in my opinion the favorite)in this division has to be Chris Moriarty, who took third in the Mundial Absolute last year, but didn’t place in his own division after missing the final call and not fighting and he missed the Europeans and Pan Americans this year due to injury. Victor Toledo, who took second this year at the Brasiero, will also be present.
Pan Ams Kevin Casey Rickson Gracie
Brasilierio Antonio Carlos Alliance
European Marko Helen Tampereen Ju-Jutsukou
Three champions in three tournaments this year, and all Brazilian names. The only one here for a second go at the big gold is the Brasiliero champion Marcel Fortuna. 15 competitors to slug it out to the final.
Pan Ams Daniel Correa Brazilian Company JJ
Brasilierio Marcel Fortuna Gracie Florianópolis
European Ronilson Alves Condor
Super Super Heavyweight
The big boys, and surprisingly one of the more competitive divisions of the brown belts. Pan American champion Fabiano Silva is the only one here to return in the hopes of collecting more gold. The biggest of the big, Sergio Farnes, draws MMA fighter Mike Rogers in the first round. One of the rising stars from the Strikeforce promotion, Rex Richards (who has slimmed down to just over 300 from his arena football days) is also present, as is our good friend Asa Fuller and Leo Santos,, who took third in this division at the Pan Americans and second in the Absolute class.
Pan Ams Fabiano Silva American Top Team
Brasilierio Rodrigo Dangelo Gracie SP
European Karol Bedorf Berserker's Team
Black belt analysis coming soon! In the meantime check out the brackets here: http://www.ibjjf.org/cgi-bin/montachaves.asp