Its that time of year again when the Global BJJ community comes alive and looking at the upcoming worlds one can’t help to get excited, the Black Belt division for both and women is packed full of talent with almost all of the big names registered.
The check day is 28th of May and until then the athletes can chop and change weight divisions. The final brackets are set to be released on the 31st of May.
Some statistics after the closing of the deadline
Here are a few interesting numbers after the deadline.
There are 194 male black belts registered, against 52 female black belts, totalling 246. The most populated male black belt division is the middleweight, with 34 names. The least populated male black belt division is the rooster division, with 13 athletes registered.
In terms of names, the black belt division will feature almost all of the greatest competitors currently active.
Rooster: Bruno Malfacine and Caio Terra lead the roosterweight pack, which also includes Koji Shibamoto, Ivaniel Cavalcanti, Washington Lima and Tiago Barros, among others.
Lightfeather: The Miyao Bros are initially together in the light-featherweight division after João lost the last two roosterweight finals to Malfacine. Michael Musumeci, roosterweight champion at the 2016 Pan, also decided to move up. Isaac Doederlein, Gabriel Moraes, Milton Bastos, Rafael Freitas and Hiago George are also in the mix. There’s nowhere to run.
Feather: Rafael Mendes and Rubens Cobrinha are once again the favorites in the featherweight division. It’s Rafa’s 8th appearance in the black belt division and he’ll be fighting for his 6th title. Cobrinha is in his 11th appearance and he’ll be trying to tie the title count with Rafa at 5. The problem for both is that the division also features Marcio Andre, Gianni Grippo, Osvaldo Moizinho, Samir Chantre, Ary Farias, Bruno Frazzatto and more.
Light: Friends and teammates Lucas Lepri and Michael Langhi will try once again close things out at the lightweight, but it won’t be easy. JT Torres has the company of Michael Liera, Mansher Khera, Kevin Mahecha, Roberto Satoshi, AJ Agazarm, Edwin Najmi, Rafael Barbosa to spoil Alliance’s plans.
Middle: Champion Claudio Calasans Jr has 33 hungry opponents looking for his place on the top of the podium. Otavio Sousa,Yago Souza, Jon Satava, Dillon Danis, Vitor Oliveira, Gabriel Arges, Vitor Estima are the usual suspects. The division also features two surprising names. Lucas Leite is back to the weight class where he won his only world title, in 2007. Now a MMA fighter and usually a lightweight, Celso Venícius decided to enroll as a middleweight after a few years away.
Medium-heavy: In another incredibly stacked division, champion Leandro Lo will have to fight his heart out to keep the title. Romulo Barral is going for his 6th gold medal while Keenan is after his first. There’s also Tarsis Humphreys, Matheus Diniz, Guto Campos, Murilo Santana, Lucas Barbosa and Gregor Gracie, among others.
Heavy: Felipe Pena and Andre Galvão could repeat the 2014 final, but first they’ll have to pass by some serious competition. Erberth Santos, Tim Spriggs, Jackson Sousa, Cassio Francis, Lucas Rocha, among others, are in the mix for some pretty awesome action.
Superheavy: Bernardo Faria will also have to work hard to defend his gold medal from the competition. Teammate Leo Nogueira will be there to help and maybe get a close out, like they did in 2012. Luiz Panza, Lucio Lagarto, Igor Silva, Alex Ceconi, Guybson Sá and Rodrigo Cavaca will do their best to steal the spotlight.
Ultraheavy: Marcus Buchecha is back to reclaim his place at the top of the podium, which he kept from 2012 to 2014. Buchecha’s teammate Gabriel Lucas, last year’s champion, for sure will do his best to stay where he is. Alex Trans, Roberto Abreu, João Gabriel Rocha and Mahamed Aly, among others, make the 2016 ultraheavy one of the toughest of all times.
The women will for sure put on a great show once again. All the champions are back to defend their titles. Will we see another classic match between Michelle and Mackenzie, we certainly do hope so.
Rooster: Rikako Yuasa won the lightfeather last year and is now at the roosterweight. Fellow Japanese Kanako Inaba and Sofia Amarante are also in the mix.
Lightfeather: Gezary Matuda won at the Pan, but Kristina Barlaan won at the European. The rubber match could happen in Long Beach, but Ariadne Oliveira also wants a piece of the pie.
Feather: Mackenzie Dern wants her second gold medal, while Michelle Nicolini wants her 9th in her goodbye run at the Worlds. Tammi Musumeci is still after her first. The presence of the three, among others. makes the featherweight one of the strongest divisions.
Light: Bia Mesquita is the favorite to win her 5th gold medal at the weight class (her 7th in total). Sarah Black has been having great performances in the IBJJF open circuit and could be a big hurdle for Bia.
Middle: Another very stacked division includes Luiza Monteiro, Monique Elias, Shanti Abelha, Megan Nevill, among others. Luiza wants her second gold medal in a row, while Monique is still after her first one as a black belt.
Medium-heavy: Andresa Correa wants the grand slam and the gold medal at the Worlds is the only one missing after wins at the European, Pan and Brazilian Nationals. Sijara Eubanks is back after dedicating more to MMA in recent years. Leanna Dittrich and Gretchen Zoeller could also represent danger for Andresa.
Heavy: Fernanda Mazzelli wants her third gold medal, but Vanessa Oliveira, Samela Lopes and Alison Tremblay will do their best to prevent that from happening.
Superheavy: Dominyka Obelenyte wants another double gold campaign, just like last year. The division features the biggest surprise in the list. After being away for two years, now MMA fighter Gabi Garcia is registered to compete hinting earlier in the week through her Instagram account at a return to the Gi for one last shot at world gold. It was confirmed when the brackets were released. I am sure we are not the only people excited to see one of the most accomplished women’s competitors back on the mat for a final time.
As for the Australians who are showing up for the worlds we have a special shout out to the following, (apologies if anyone was missed)
Carlson Gracie Team Australia Tom Russell
Maromba Academia International Sarah Chapman
Nova União Australia Jack Simmons
Gracie Barra Australia Billy Newham
GF Team Australia Peter James Morcom
Gracie Barra Australia Erion Ramljak
Gracie Barra Australia Adam Carle
Checkmat Australia Savorng Hel
Gracie Barra Australia Michelle Louise Bradley
Gracie Barra Australia Karen Siteri Naisoro
Peter de Been JJ Adam Watson
Peter de Been JJ Chris Wase
Maromba Academia International Cooper Tye Burnham
Maromba Academia International Tom Everett
Maromba Academia International Aaron Peterson
Maromba Academia International Apryl Eppinger
Maromba Academia International Nikki Lloyd-Griffiths
Gracie Barra Australia Karl Dwayne Salva
Gracie Barra Australia Thomas Alexander Caladine
Gracie Humaita Australia Luke Dixon
Gracie Barra Australia Mohamed Abdi
Cia Paulista – International Jess Smith
Maromba Academia International Mikael Yahaya
Maromba Academia International George Tuuholoaki
Maromba Academia International Demi Lee Butler
Maromba Academia International Shantelle Thompson
Nova União Australia Rodrigo Costa
Peter de Been JJ Max Peter de Been
Maromba Academia International Benjamin William Hodgkinson
Maromba Academia International Craig Benjamin Jones
Maromba Academia International Livia Gluchowska
For the full list of event registrations see the below link.