The term “Card Of The Year” gets thrown around a lot, but in the case of BJJ Stars’ upcoming event, it might very well be merited. A real constellation (pardon the pun) of elite grapplers from top to bottom.
The event is the culmination of the promotion’s reality show/tournament, The New Star (covered here), by featuring the big finale for both the female and male divisions, the matches being Natan Chueng (Cicero Costha) x Lucas Gualberto (Dream Art) and Izadora Cristina (Dream Art) x Ingridd Alves (Guigo).
Although The New Star’s finale should be seen as a great opportunity to look into what the new generation of jiu-jitsu is up to in Brazil, the event is much larger than “just” a finale as it will feature a series of exciting super-fights between some of the most well-respected and talented grapplers of our time. Matches which we will analyze in the paragraphs that follow:
This is one of the biggest matches to be made in the heavyweight division right now, with Gaudio – who is running on a 6 match unbeaten streak with his last four W’s coming via submission – facing Preguiça, who is also on a solid win streak with his last submission loss in a gi dating back to 3 years ago.
Although Gaudio has been the most active of the two, Pena has had 3 wins over Gaudio in the black belt division, therefore, the edge here will be on the FP Team leader’s side. Regardless of who wins, both athletes love to scramble and love to play offense, so this match should be fireworks.
One of the biggest rivalries in the medium-heavyweight division is that of Barbosa and Diniz, which also translates to one of the biggest modern-day team rivalries in the sport (Atos x Alliance). The two have met 6 times in the past, at the black belt level with “The Hulk” taking a 4-2 advantage (and one submission win for each athlete).
Both love to play the takedown game, both enjoy passing with a blitz style and with pressure, and both attack the back extremely well. As tight as it comes on a pure skill vs skill contest.
Being located on the USA’s West Coast, Barbosa has had plenty of training and competitions to keep active during the Covid19 outbreak. Diniz, who resides in New York, has only trained with his instructor, Marcelo Garcia, on a few occasions since March 2020. Will Matheus be ready to overcome this handicap and steal the win from Barbosa?
Two athletes who like to play the stand-up game more than most on the jiu-jitsu scene, expect much of the action here to be played on the feet with victory, most likely, falling on the one who wins this battle. That said, Simões is most comfortable when on the offense, and if he doesn’t get his way standing, expect him to pull guard at some point in the match to keep things going.
Neither of these gentlemen has been particularly active as of late. As such, their gas tanks remain somewhat untested in this new Covid era. This factor will also play a big role here.
At one point considered to be among the best lightweights of their era, neither Langhi nor Caloquinha have been particularly active as Masters, likely two busy running two of the biggest academies in the jiu-jitsu world.
Langhi was the most accomplished of the two on the IBJJF circuit, but those who know Claudio will remember how tough he truly was, physically, technically, and mentally. An even match between the leaders of Alliance Matriz (Langhi) and Gracie Barra BH (Mattos).
Interesting to see Erberth still being called for these professional events at this stage. There is not much to be said that hasn’t already been discussed regarding Santos, Gutemberg, on the other hand, has looked fantastic since returning to Rio de Janeiro after his time in the USA, and appears to be stronger than ever. A solid challenge for anyone in the super-heavyweight division.
– TAINAN DALPRA (18-1-0) X ATHOS MIRANDA (N/A)
Although a very recent black belt, Dapra has amassed 14 wins via submission, out of 18 overall victories as a pro-black belt and is already widely regarded as one of the rising stars in the 82-kilogram division.
Athos Miranda is a member of Marcelo Garcia’s workgroup and is undoubtedly an experienced and very capable grappler. Nevertheless, he will be the underdog here against the clean style of the AOJ athlete, Tainan.
The final of the male division of The New Star is here. Two of the most talented athletes on the Brazilian circuit will come to blows in the Dream Art x Cicero Costha showdown – a São Paulo classic.
Gualberto is one of the rising stars of the middleweight division, an athlete whose only loss came via the narrowest of margins (1 point). He loves playing from the top position and is seldomly seen deviating from this game plan. Strong and precise, Lucas is a tough match-up for Chueng who is a natural lightweight.
Natan is a more versatile grappler in the sense that he will often switch between MO’s, depending on the athlete he is facing.
Stylistically an even match, Lucas’ size will have him coming in as a slight favorite, but not by much.
– IZADORA CRISTINA (15-3-0) X INGRIDD ALVES (11-2-0)
Two of the most promising female heavyweight grapplers in the world right now, who, unsurprisingly, also represent São Paulo based teams – the Mecca for jiu-jitsu in Brazil right now.
As it stands, Cristina is being looked at as the favorite given the quality of work she has shown during her colored and as a black belt career thus far, particularly after she took out two of The New Star’s tournament favorites, Sabatha Laís and Thamara Ferreira. Nevertheless, styles make fights, and considering both athletes love to play the top game, whoever takes this match to the ground with top position, will have the upper hand.
An exciting match-up ahead for both competitors.
– ERSHILEY KESSY X DYNÁ SENA