FEBRUARY 19, 2023, CRYSTAL PALACE, LONDON, UK, is a weekend day for another edition of the most well-established IBJJF Open on the European circuit. As it’s been somewhat of a tradition, many of the sport’s top athletes made the trip to England’s capital for a shot at the London Winter Open gold.
SOUTH KOREA TAKES OVER LONDON
One of the most interesting facets of this year’s L.O. was the participation of South Korea’s adult black belt trio, Seok-Hyun Seo (64 kilos), Min-Ho Yoon (70 kilos), and Jae-Young Lee (76 kilos) who represented Wire BJJ and Over Limit BJJ.
This trio took Britain by storm winning all three of the divisions they competed on, proving that their country is on the rise in terms of BJJ prowess, a level of competence we had met at last weekend’s Syder Korea tournament (check coverage here). All three competitors had tough matches on their way against some of the top prospects from Britain and handled those beautifully, with the gi.
The no-gi portion of the tournament was not as fruitful as their gi experience, nevertheless, the athletes showed a high level of skill, particularly Jae-Young who lost to one of the top no-gi specialists in the world, Ashley Williams, taking the Welsh talent to a razor-thin decision.
TAYANE PORFIRIO RETURNS TO THE IBJJF CIRCUIT
After a long absence from the IBJJF circuit after being sanctioned by USADA with a 4-year ban for PED use back in 2018, followed by the birth of her child, the former World Champion, Tayane Porfirio, returned to the mats in the city she now calls home, London.
The Rio de Janeiro native did not have any challengers in her weight class but dominated the open weight with two submissions from the mount position, showing there might be some steam left for another shot at a big title.
UANDERSON FERREIRA BLACK BELT DEBUT
One of the most talked about rookie black belts of 2023 is Uanderson Ferreira, a competitor who was at the forefront of the brown belt division for the past couple of years and is coming in with plenty of promise to the pro division.
Staying true to his style, Ferreira bulldozed through a strong 88-kilogram division, a weight class that featured a few heavy hitters of the sport such as Tarik Hopstock, Bradley Hill, and Jansen Gomes.
Ferreira’s toughest challenge was the current IBJJF European champion, Jansen “Nenego” Gomes, in the semi-finals of the tournament, whom Uanderson beat by 2 points. The match was incredibly close and exciting, with Nenego pushing the pace for the majority of the match and Ferreira working on the counterattack extremely well.
In the final, Uanderson Ferreira met the Roger Gracie black belt, Faris Benlamkhadem, a challenger the Commando Group athlete beat via armbar.
JANSEN GOMES WINS ABSOLUTE
Despite the slip-up in the medium-heavyweight division, Checkmat’s Jansen Gomes returned very strong to the open-weight class, with dominant wins over Erick Diovano, and Bradley Hill, as well as a barn burner in the final against Roberto Jimenez, whom he beat via 6×4 score. One of the best matches of the weekend.
The absolute, overall, was a very fun weight class to watch, particularly the run of Jimenez to the final, all submissions, and masterful performances of sheer offensive jiu-jitsu by the Ecuatorian. A real pleasure to follow.