FEBRUARY 02, 2021, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL saw the 5th edition of BJJ Stars, one of the most well-known professional jiu-jitsu promotions in Brazil. As per usual, BJJ Stars provided a top-notch event, both in the quality of production as well as the quality of the talent on the mats.
Although with plenty of solid super-fights on display, the highlight of the event was the promotion’s Grand Prix tournament, a championship that featured a few of the sport’s top-heavy and super-heavyweight competitors. A true cream of the crop of gi jiu-jitsu, to check the full report, see below.
Gracie Barra’s ace, Felipe Pena started the tournament with his right foot by beating leg-lock expert Luiz Panza. “Preguiça” first swept Panza from single-leg X guard but fell right into Panza’s own strength, the 50/50-guard. Fortunately for the fans, no backward and forward fifty exchanges were on order tonight. Pena attacked the back beautifully from this position, Panza replied with a scramble for a near sweep but fell right into Preguiça’s match-ending guillotine.
On the other side of the bracket, Gutemberg Pereira pulled the upset of the night against the tournament favorite, Nicholas Meregali. “Berg” looked fantastic throughout this match, playing from the top position where he completely shut down the 2x world champion’s game. Stunning performance by the GF Team athlete, who was very dangerous and almost passing Meregali’s guard on a couple of occasions.
– Felipe Pena def. Luiz Panza via arm-in guillotine
– Erich Munis def. Erberth Santos via 4×2 pts
– Gutemberg Pereira def. Nicholas Meregali via 5×0 advantages, 0x0 pts
– Lucas Hulk def. Yuri Simões via 7×0
For his second match, Preguiça met the promising young black belt, Erich Munis. In a very tough stylistic match-up, Pena placed all his experience on overtime, stacking advantages via “near” sweeps before placing his points on the scoreboard. The advantages were a strong asset in his victory over the Dream Art athlete.
In the semi-finals, Gutemberg switched things up against Lucas Barbosa. Lucas had decisively defeated former ADCC champion Yuri Simões in the previous match, but could not impose the same rhythm against Berg. The match was predominantly spent with Hulk stuck inside Pereira’s closed guard, unable to use his speed and athleticism. A smart, strategic move by GFT’s player, he who had most of the offensive maneuvers throughout the match. The momentum of Pereira earned him the judges’ decision.
Another flawless performance by Felipe Pena in the final, the first man to solve the Berg puzzle at BJJ Stars. Pena’s double-pant grip/bear-trap sweep was on point throughout the tournament, paying off also in the final as the match-winning sweep. Pena did not rest on the 2 point lead and continued to press the action, trying to pass Pereira’s intricate guard throughout the match. Both athletes were close to scoring (Pena from passing and Berg from sweeping), but none of the scrambles ended in a scoring situation. Pena earned a well-deserved win in a tactical and technical match, taking home the 200k reals prize money.
The two main superfights were the rematch between BJJ legend Bia Mesquita and Thamara Ferreira as well as Leandro Lo’s return against brand new black belt Alex Munis.
Beatriz and Thamara had a very good – and controversial – match last year with the win going to Mesquita by two points, a result that left a tiny bit of bad blood between the two. We had hoped to see them fight again with the gi, as Thamara is not a no-gi player, nevertheless, the promotion opted for the no-gi ruleset. As expected Bia – who is an ADCC and World NOGI champion – controlled the match, using superior wrestling and a better understanding of no-gi grips to take advantage in the majority of the exchanges. Ferreira is a phenomenal talent but showed her inexperience both standing and in the guard. 2 points win for Mesquita, but a much more clear result in comparing with their previous meeting.
Leandro Lo was initially scheduled to meet Gustavo “Braguinha” at BJJ Stars, but the Atos standout suffered an injury and could not compete. With Gustavo unavailable, middleweight black belt rookie, Alex Munis stepped up and took the match against the legendary NS Brotherhood athlete.
Leandro looked considerably more at ease under the spotlight, likely a sign of his experience in this setting. Alex struggled to find his timing in the match, a hesitation that Lo took full advantage of. A double leg takedown followed by his traditional knee-cut guard pass, adding to the sequence a match ending cross collar choke from the pitstop (knee-cut) position. Beautiful work.
– Victor Terra def. Percio Broca via 5×0 pts (no-gi)
– Mario Reis def. Leon Amâncio via 3×0 pts
– Gabriel Rollo def. Miltinho Vieira via armbar (no-gi)
– Isaque Bahiense def. Roberto Jimenez via 4×0 pts (no-gi)
– Beatriz Mesquita def. Thamara Ferreira via 2×0 pts (no-gi)
– Leandro Lo def. Alex Munis via cross choke