DECEMBER 13, 2020, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was yet again jiu-jitsu’s capital this weekend as the Marvelous City housed the latest edition of the South American Championship, a tournament held by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the IBJJF.
The “Sul-Americano de Jiu-Jitsu” gathered some of the top competitors in Brazil and a few international players. As expected the tournament had very strong showings by GF Team, arguably the strongest side in Rio de Janeiro at the moment, who had to face their strong São Paulo rivals: The Dream Art Project, Guigo Jiu-Jitsu, team Almeida Jiu-Jitsu, and Cicero Costha’s PSLPB.
RIO DE JANEIRO’S FINEST SHINE THROUGH
From the stacks of talent on display at the adult, black belt level, there were quite a few “Cariocas” proving their worth. The first of the day to shine through was former Cantagalo Project standout and Ricardo Vieira student, Mr. Jonata Gomes, who won his first big tournament since his promotion during the Summer. Gomes came down to his natural weight class (featherweight) this time and looked fantastic, earning two submission wins on his way to a gold medal, including a finish in the final over the very tough Sergio Soares.
Also showing their good form was GF Team’s super-squad in the medium-heavy, ultra-heavy and absolute divisions of the male categories, which were all close-outs for the green, black and yellow academy, with the exception of the ultra-heavy where teammates Pedro Alex and Wallace Costa were forced to meet in the semis (Wallace conceding to Alex who won the weight-class). Wallace had conquered the open weight class of the CBJJE World Championship just 48 hours prior to the South American tournament and repeated the deed today with the IBJJF, he who received his black belt only a few weeks ago. Costa beat 3 very game opponents in the absolute division, closing this weight class with Jaime Canuto who conquered double gold.
Equally impressive as her Rio de Janeiro neighbors, was Gabrieli Pessanha. The Infight talent had 3 matches to conquer double gold, dominating all with ease, coming out without one single point scored against her in the tournament.
IS SÃO PAULO LOSING ITS GRIP OVER JIU-JITSU IN BRAZIL?
From the many strong São Paulo Teams on display at the Sul-Americano, PSLPB were the strongest. Cicero Costha’s star pupils – Yuri Hendrex, Jonas Andrade, and Hiago George – dominated the lighter weight classes (rooster and light-feather) taking home gold and silver while looking very dominant in their performances.
Another team with a strong performance was Dream Art, who came in with a very strong side, taking home one gold medal through Lucas Gualberto (who remains undefeated and, as of yet, has had no points scored against him as a black belt in 10 professional matches). “Simba” was the only gold medal brought home by this All-Star team, nevertheless, the team had incredible showings by Alex Munis and Luiz Paulo, who came home with bronze in their weight classes.
Although with very decent performances this year, São Paulo took home 3 gold medals from the adult black belt divisions this year, a stark contrast with the 11 gold medals it conquered in 2019. Could this be the end of the state’s dominance over the sport in Brazil? Time will tell. Check the full results below.
#1 Jonata Gomes
#2 Sergio Soares
#3 Daniel Amorim
#3 Kennedy Guilherme
#1 Felipe Pinheiro
#2 Tyrone Gonsalves
#3 Pedro Agrizzi
#3 Rider Zuchi
#1 Marcelo Gomide & Victor Mello
#3 Bruno Novaes
#3 Wilson Almeida
#1 Pedro Alex
#2 Cleyton Flores
#3 Haroldo Bunn
#3 Wallace Costa
#1 Ershirley Granja
#2 Brunca Maciel
#3 Márcia Karina Ramos
#1 Graciele Carvalho
#2 Claire-France Thevenon