FEBRUARY 19, 2022, ROME – ITALY. The long wait for the post-covid19 European Jiu-Jitsu Championship is finally over. The tournament ran continuously under the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) umbrella from 2004 to 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal, but the pandemic managed to put a stop to that glorious run, forcing the organization to halt the prestigious event in 2021. Due to the many restrictions to public events still haunting most European countries, the IBJJF has opted to remove the event from Portugal in 2022, shifting it to Rome (where the European No-Gi tournament had traditionally taken place), a move that may prove to be permanent.
Severely lacking in numbers of athletes and in the big names that are traditionally drawn to the event in droves, the 2022 version of the European Open does appear to have lost a bit of its oomph. Nevertheless, big names did make the trip to Rome and a fair few black belt duels took place this Saturday at the PalaPellicone venue, in the Lazio borough.
FEMALE ROOSTERWEIGHT STARS MEET AT LIGHT FEATHER
One of the clashes we were most looking forward to watching this weekend was that of Mayssa Bastos – the queen of the female roosterweight division – and one of the rising stars of this class, Miss Duda Tozoni (Maria Eduarda).
Duda has been making waves in Brazil with wins over Mariana Rolszt and Brenda Larissa. Interestingly, despite both being mostly known for their runs as rooster weights, Mayssa and Duda opted to compete in the light-featherweight weight class.
In a very small division of 4 athletes, Bastos and Tozoni met in the first round (semi-final) with the match being less competitive than previously anticipated. Mayssa opted to challenge Duda’s dangerous guard from the top, passing the Santa Catarina native and achieving back control as well as the finish. Flawless performance once again by Mayssa Bastos who is in the final.
YATAN BUENO FINALLY BREAKS THROUGH ON INTERNATIONAL SOIL
We have been talking about Dream Art Yatan Bueno for some time and for good reason. Although lesser known to the wider Western audience, Bueno has been a prolific athlete on the South American circuit, always showing a very fun, aggressive game, particularly for a large ultra-heavyweight, when he competes. Today he proved his worth against the European crowd. Hopefully the first of many international runs.
In the open-weight class, Bueno was dominant, submitting his first opponent and moving on to show his tremendous guard passing power against solid names of the sport such as Sean Coates and Adam Wardinski.
Despite the (slight) upset of Bueno defeating Wardzinski (9×0), the tournament has ran with little to no upsets. Stay tuned for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals of the adult men’s black belt divisions as well as the female black belt division finals.
BLACK BELT DEBUTS GALORE
The European Open is featuring plenty of important black belt debuts. The first of the day was a former colored belt Euros champ, ZR Team UK’s Taylor Pearman. Competing as a medium-heavyweight, Pearman beat Alvaro Fernandes decisively in the first round but lost to the experienced Alliance talent, Matheus Spirandeli on points in the second.
Ultra-heavyweight Renan Cruz was another important debut. Challenging in the open weight class, Cruz beat Ioannis Proios with a beautiful submission, before being stopped in his tracks by Fellipe Andrew (a very competitive match at that). Although out of the absolute, Cruz is still in the race in his own weight class.
Guilherme Bacha of Checkmat also made his debut this Saturday against the talented Tacio Carneiro, taking home a dominant win over a seasoned grappler. He will be returning tomorrow for the quarter-finals of the ulta-heavyweight. Also on the menu for tomorrow will be the debut of Tarik Hopstok. One of the most exciting prospects from Europe.
MALE ROOSTER WEIGHT
– Yatan Bueno x Fellipe Andrew
FEMALE ROOSTER WEIGHT
– Kaori Hernandez x Thais Felipe
– Rose El Sharouni x Mayssa Bastos
– Gabriela Andrelevicius x Anna Rodrigues
– Janaina Maia x Nathalie Ribeiro
– Erin Johnson x Thalyta Silva
– Magdalena Loska x Maggie Grindatti
– Gabrieli Pessanha x Claire-France Thevenon
– Thalyta Silva x Gabrieli Pessanha