JANUARY 29, 2023, PARIS – FRANCE. The first-ever jiu-jitsu European Open tournament organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) in the French capital was an outright success from a sporting standpoint, with the event offering a wide range of fun matches for the fans, particularly in the adult black belt divisions.
Unlike in the previous edition of the Old Continent’s main jiu-jitsu tournament, European athletes did not fare so well on the mats, with only four male medalists on the podium (Adam Wardzinski [POL], Pavel Kalesnik [POL], Kjetil Lydvo [NOR], and Bruno Lima [POR]) and no gold medals there. The only gold medal conquered at the black belt level came by way of Maria Malyjasiak in the medium-heavyweight division, a Polish athlete and representative of the Abmar Barbosa Association. French athlete, Claire Thevenon, also conquered silver in the female super-heavyweight division, albeit a default medal.
Below is our report on the action that took place this weekend.
2023 IBJJF EUROPEAN OPEN CHAMPIONS
Male 57KG: Thalison Soares (AOJ)
Male 64KG: Malachi Edmond (TLI)
Male 70KG: Fabricio Andrey (Melqui Galvão)
Male 76KG: Andy Murasaki (Atos)
Male 82KG: Tainan Dalpra (AOJ)
Male 88KG: Jansen Gomes (Checkmat)
Male 94KG: Fellipe Andrew (Alliance)
Male 100KG: Kaynan Duarte (Atos)
Male +100KG: Mason Fowler (CTA)
Male Open: Kaynan Duarte (Atos)
Female 48KG: Jessica Caroline (R1NG)
Female 53KG: Mayssa Bastos (Unity)
Female 58KG: Anna Rodrigues (Dream Art)
Female 64KG: Luiza Monteiro (Atos)
Female 69KG: Thalyta Silva (Dream Art)
Female 74KG: Maria Malyjasiak (Abmar Barbosa)
Female 79KG: Amanda Magda (Frates)
Female +79KG: Gabrieli Pessanha (InFight)
Female Open: Gabrieli Pessanha (InFight)
MALE ROOSTER WEIGHT
Currently residing in Australia, Thalison Soares does not compete as often as grappling fans would like him to, but he makes it count when he does. One of the most exciting rooster weights on the scene, Soares dominated his weight class.
– Tadiyah Danforth def. Italo Frota via Triangle
– Thalison Soares def. Tadiyah Danforth via Choke from back
– Welerson Goncalves def. Frank Cespedes via 8×4
– Thalison Soares def. Welerson Goncalves via Cachecol choke
Two contrasting finalists in the under 64-kilo category. On one side was Team Lloyd Irvin’s Malachi Edmond, who had some real challenges to reach the finals against Diego Pato. Aggressive and resilient, Malachi won all matches via decision. On the other side of the bracket was Diego Oliveira, AKA “Pato”. The Dream Art competitor dominated his matches relatively easily on the way to a final he arrived as a clear favorite.
But the show isn’t over until it is over. In the end, a masterful performance by Malachi who displayed heart, strategy, and technique got the talented Maryland native across the finish line.
– Leonardo Mario def. Pablo Mantovani via 6×6, DEC
– Diego Oliveira def. Marko Oikarainen via Choke from back
– Tomoyuki Hashimoto def. Yuta Shimada via 4×4, 3×0 adv
– Malachi Edmond def. Sebastian Serpa via 0x0, DEC
– Malachi Edmond def. Tomoyuki Hashimoto via 4×4, DEC
– Diego Oliveira def. Leonardo Mario via 3×0
– Malachi Edmond def. Diego Oliveira via 4×2
The featherweight division was one of the most fun to follow in the tournament thanks to the entertaining matches on offer. This allied with the new talent emerging in the category such as Lucas Rodrigues, Jun Yong Cho, Keito Oyanagi, and Matheus Lima, make all the ingredients for a very exciting next few years for this weight class.
Although exciting, this division did sew a few blunders due to (what appeared to be) blatant errors from the referees when interpreting straight ankle lock attacks. Actions that got perfectly legitimate attempts by Sam McNally and Jon Cho disqualified, in separate matches.
As for the finalists, not a lot of surprises here. Many expected the division to be decided by 1 of three athletes, Fabricio Andrey, Alex Sodré, or Israel Sousa, and indeed two of the three favorites made it to the top.
– Fabricio Andrey def. Israel Sousa via 2×0
– Lucas Rodrigues def. Wilhiam Mateus via Arm in Ezekiel
– Jun Cho def. Keito Oyanagi via Botinha
– Alex Sodre def. Matheus Lima via 2×0
– Alex Sodre def. Jun Cho via DQ (illegal footlock)
– Fabricio Andrey def. Lucas Rodrigues via Kneebar
– Fabricio Andrey def. Alex Sodre via
One of the breakthrough athletes of the tournament was Natan Chueng. Although a highly respected competitor on the Brazilian circuit, most did not have the Rio de Janeiro native as one of the division’s favorites, nevertheless, he proved everyone wrong. One by one, Natan took out his higher-ranked challengers to make it through to the final where he faced Andy Murasaki.
Murasaki competed for most of 2022 as a middleweight (82 kg), taking a silver medal in the gi World Championship, a gold in the No-Gi World Championship, and a silver at the gi Pan American (as a lightweight). Truly one of the most impressive athletes on the team Atos roster and he proved it throughout the European Open, submitting most of his opponents.
The final was very even. Natan doing great work from the bottom, attacking and defending like a true professional against one of the best pressure passers in the game, but a slight mistake in the last 5 seconds of the clash saw Andy conquer the match-winning advantages.
– Elijah Dorsey def. Max Lindblad via 0x0, 2×1 adv
– Andy Murasaki def. Leon Larman via Katagatame
– Luiz Felipe def. Eduardo Roque via 0x0, 4×3 adv
– Natan Chueng def. Marcelo Fausto via 4×2
– Natan Chueng def. Luiz Felipe via 0x0, PEN
– Andy Murasaki def. Elijah Dorsey via Katagatame
– Andy Murasaki def. Natan Chueng via 0x0, 2×0 adv
The man who did not get a mention in the Grappler Of The Year Awards (2022), Tainan Dalpra of AOJ, arrived at the IBJJF European Open with a 37-match winning streak, 25 of those wins coming by way of submission.
We cannot remember the last time Tainan suffered a point, the exception being in the AJP ruleset, nearly 2 years ago, which came via advantage (and the only reason it is regarded as a full point was due to the ruleset). Given this setting, Dalpra was clearly the favorite to take this one home, and take it home he did, in dominant fashion.
Maybe the biggest story of the middleweight division, outside Tainan’s all-submission gold medal run, was the disqualification of Espen Mathiesen and Fausto Godoy in the ¼ finals of the 82-kilogram division. Both athletes insisted on the double guard pull, with neither athlete conceding the bottom position, despite the 3 penalty warnings awarded by the referee which eventually led to a 4th penalty and rightful DQ. At this level, losing should be more important than conceding guard.
– Both athletes lost, Espen Mathiesen and Fausto Godoy for inactivity / stalling
– Pavel Kalesnik def. Jakub Najdek via 8×6
– Tainan Dalpra def. Elder Junior via Choke from back
– Lucas Protasio def. Vinicius Martins via Armbar
– Pavel Kalesnik Advanced due to double DQ in 1/4 finals
– Tainan Dalpra def. Lucas Protasio via Choke from back
– Tainan Dalpra def. Pavel Kalesnik via Choke from back
Dynamic and offensive jiu-jitsu was what we saw in this 88-kilogram division. Lots of fun and even matches in this weight class, with Pedro Machado, Jansen “Nenego” Gomes, and Marcos “Petcho” Martins being at the forefront of grappling entertainment here.
The final was no less entertaining than what we had seen in the previous clashes of the division. An all-out war between Machado and Nenego, with the Checkmat player being the more aggressive of the two throughout the course of the match. In the end, a wrestle-up sweep attempt by Pedro left room for a standing Ezekiel choke by Jansen. A highly unorthodox maneuver that forced Machado to move out of bounds with a locked submission, a decision that was penalized with a disqualification.
– Jansen Gomes def. Matheus Spirandeli via 2×0
– Wellington Luis def. Francisco Lo via 2×0
– Pedro Machado def. Faris Dean via 2×2, 2×0 adv
– Marcos Martins def. Pedro Cadete via 4×2
– Pedro Machado def. Marcos Martins via 2×0
– Jansen Gomes def. Wellington Luis via Choke from back
– Jansen Gomes def. Pedro Machado via DQ (exited mat with locked submission)
The heavyweight division was also a very entertaining weight class to follow thanks to the work done by Bruno Lima, Rider Zuchi, Gabriel Henrique Olveira, Devhonte Johnson, Fellipe Andrew, and Adam Wardzinski. Not a boring match between them.
– Fellipe Andrew def. Leandro Santos via Choke from back
– Devhonte Johnson def. Bruno Lima via 2×0
– Adam Wardzinski def. Filipe Pinheiro via 11×0
– Rider Zuchi def. Gabriel Henrique via Verbal tap
Welcome to the Kaynan show! The Atos standout only competed once with the gi in 2022 but appears to be returning to his roots this year. Hopefully, we get to see more of this young man as he was one of the most fun grapplers to follow at the European Open.
In the 100-kilogram division, Duarte submitted all of his opponents, a trait he pursued also in the open weight class, making it look easy against outstanding talents like Harryson Pereira and Luis “Cantareira” Oliveira.
– Kaynan Duarte def. Thomas Bracher via Armbar
– Harryson Pereira advanced via WO
– Marcus Ribeiro def. Vinicius Liberati via Choke from back
– Luis Oliveira def. Eric Bergmann via 2×0
– Luis Oliveira def. Marcus Ribeiro via 2×2, 3×1 adv
– Kaynan Duarte def. Harryson Pereira via Choke from back
– Kaynan Duarte def. Luis Oliveira via Armbar
So many stories in this weight class makes it hard to select only a couple. Maybe the biggest here was the rise of Kjetil Lydvo, the student of Eduardo “Teta” Rios who won the IBJJF World Championship as a brown belt last year and proved he is on the right path to becoming a big player in the big boys’ division at this year’s Euros, his black belt debut.
Lydvo showed a skillful half-guard game and solid movement from the top, much like a different version of fellow Scandinavian player Alexander Tráns. Very fun athlete to follow throughout the tournament who went on to beat one of Brazil’s rising stars of the ultra-heavyweight division – Cleyton Flores.
Equally fun was the creative Mason Fowler. The CTA black belt had some really challenging matches to reach the final, but showed the heart of a lion, particularly in his clash against hometown favorite Seif Houmine. A match he won in the final 3 seconds after being on the bottom, under tremendous pressure, for the majority of the bout.
The final was a one-way street for the American, who dominated the Norwegian player with 27 points on the scoreboard before the finish.
– Mason Fowler def. Luiz Bonfim via Omoplata
– Seif Houmine def. Tacio Carneiro via DQ
– Cleyton Flores def. Wallace Costa via 2×0
– Kjetil Lydvo def. Pedro Bisneto via 5×0
– Kjetil Lydvo def. Cleyton Flores via Cachecol choke
– Mason Fowler def. Seif Houmine via 4×3
– Mason Fowler def. Kjetil Lydvo via RNC
MALE OPEN WEIGHT
More of a continuation of the work he did in the super-heavyweight division. Kaynan was on fire at the absolute, finishing South American champ Luis Cantareira and USA’s Mason Fowler.
On the other side of the bracket was Leandro Lo black belt, Rider Zuchi, who looked very impressive on his run also. Taking big, grinding wins against Bruno Lima and Seif Houmine. Despite his good form, Zuchi was no match for Duarte, who looked slick, calm, and composed as he took another submission win in his resume.
– Mason Fowler def. Jansen Gomes via Kneebar
– Rider Zuchi def. Seif Houmine via 2×0
– Bruno Lima def. Pedro Machado via 5×2
– Kaynan Duarte def. Vinicius Liberati via Short choke
– Kaynan Duarte def. Mason Fowler via RNC
– Rider Zuchi def. Bruno Lima via 4×2
– Kaynan Duarte def. Rider Zuchi via RNC
FEMALE DIVISIONS REPORT
No words to describe how inspirational of an athlete Amanda Magda is in our sport and be surprised by how other media outlets are not being blown away by what this young woman is doing in jiu-jitsu right now. At 45 years of age, Magda made it to the heavyweight finals, submitting her way to a gold medal against athletes half her age! Truly outstanding.
The adult black belt female divisions at the European Opens, sadly, continue to be small with lightweight being the biggest by far this year with 9 athletes, being also the most fun weight class to follow thanks to the campaigns of Luiza Monteiro and Tata Ribeiro, the division’s finalists. These two put on a show for the fans in every single match, and we appreciate their efforts.
In the open weight, it was all about Gabrieli Pessanha, who never seems to disappoint. The Infight athlete submitted every single one of her opponents, including the very talented Elisabeth Clay and Maria Malyjasiak.
FEMALE OPEN WEIGHT
– Thalyta Silva def. Leticia Cardozo via 0x0, DEC def.
– Luiza Monteiro def. Sabatha Lais via 9×0
– Gabrieli Pessanha def. Elisabeth Clay via Choke
– Maria Malyjasiak def. Nathalie Ribeiro via Wristlock
Rooster Weight Final:
– Jessica Caroline def. Thais Loureiro via 0x0, 1×0 adv
Light Featherweight Final:
– Mayssa Bastos def. Brenda Larissa via 11×4
– Anna Rodrigues def. Andreia Cavalcante via Choke from back
– Luiza Monteiro def. Nathalie Ribeiro via 11×4
– Thalyta Silva def. Vannessa Griffin via 0x0, DEC
Medium Heavyweight Final:
– Maria Malyjasiak def. Sabatha Lais via Choke from back
– Amanda Magda def. Elizabeth Mitrovic via Toe hold
Super Heavyweight Final:
– Gabrieli Pessanha def. Claire Thevenon via Choke from back