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Pan American Results, Epic Performances By Mica And Nagai As AOJ Dominates Female Division

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Gordon Ryan Guard Passing Instructional

MARCH 24, 2024, KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, USA, was the date and time set for the 29th edition of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Pan American Championship, the second most prestigious event promoted by the organization and one of the main gi-jiu-jitsu tournaments in the sport. The show started on the 20th of this month and spanned 4 days with podiums from white to black belt & all the adult & masters categories in between. In this piece, we will be addressing solely the Adult, Black Belt Divisions, often regarded as the professional wing of the sport.

2024 IBJJF PAN CHAMPIONS
57KG: Thalison Soares (AOJ / BRA)
64KG: Diego “Pato” (AOJ / BRA)
70KG: Kennedy Maciel (Alliance / BRA)
76KG: Jackson Nagai (Checkmat / BRA)
82KG: Micael Galvao(Escola Melqui Galvao / BRA)
88KG: Uanderson Ferreira (Commando Group / BRA)
94KG: Fellipe Andrew (Alliance / BRA)
100KG: Anderson Munis (Fratres /BRA)
+100KG: Yatan Bueno (Fratres /BRA)
OW: Gutemberg Pereira (AOJ / BRA)
49KG: Shelby Murphey (AOJ/USA)
53KG: Mayssa Bastos (AOJ / BRA)
58KG: Larissa Campos (AOJ/BRA)
64KG: Janaina Lebre (AOJ/ BRA)
69KG: Thalyta Silva (Fratres / BRA)
74KG: Ingridd Alves (DreamArt / BRA)
79KG: Isadora Silva (DreamArt / BRA)
+79KG: Gabrieli Pessanha (InFight/BRA)
OW: Gabrieli Pessanha (InFight/BRA)

The first thing to mention would be the elephant in the room, the female divisions. Although some improvements had been seen in previous years, 2024 has shown that the women’s pro category is diminishing, with big drops in numbers in the medium-heavy & heavyweight categories this year. Overall, the female division had 65 matches, meaning about 35% of the matches observed in the male division. A bleak picture despite the solid showings in the rooster weights, who did display improved attendance with 12 matches (the biggest weight class in the women’s category).

As to where the sport is in its wider reach, despite the efforts put forth by the IBJJF in spreading its ruleset across the USA and Europe, Brazil’s hegemony appears unshakable at this junction with 81% of the quarter-finalists at the Pans this year being Brazilians in the adult male category. For reference, there were more quarter-finalists from the Brazilian city of Manaus than there were from the whole of the United States.

Skipping these “not so positive” indicators of health, the event did bring out some of the biggest stars in the sport, names like Mica Galvao, Adam Wardzinski, Andy Murasaki, Diego Pato, Gabrieli Pessanha, and Fabricio Andrey, to name a few while also leaving space for the new breed of grappling to shine. Below is an assessment of each weight class.

2024 IBJJF PAN CHAMPIONSHIPS QUICK STATS
Adult black belt division
– Male Matches: 168
– Female Matches: 62
– Total Matches: 231
– Male Submissions: 53 (32%)
– Female Submissions: 16 (27%)
– Total Submissions: 68 (35%)
– Athlete With Most Submissions: Jackson Nagai 4 (80%)

MALE, ROOSTER-WEIGHT (57.5 kg / 126.8 lb)

Traditionally this is not one of the most exciting divisions to follow given how competitive this weight class is and the type of games deployed by roosterweight athletes (i.e. lapel guards & 50/50). However, thanks to the finalists Rodnei Barbosa and Thalison Soares, this was indeed quite entertaining. Using a more traditional approach of half-guard (Barbosa) and pressure-passing (Soares), these two dominated the 57-kilo class on their way to the final.

Quarter-Finals:
– Mateus Azancot def. Wanki Chae via 2×0 pen, 2×2 adv, 2×2 pts
Thalison Soares def. Welison Fernandes via 6×0
– Bruno Sena def. Roiter Lima via 2×0
Rodnei Barbosa def. Oziel Santos via dogbar

Semi-Finals:
Thalison Soares def. Mateus Azancot via 29×0
Rodnei Barbosa def. Bruno Sena via advantage (2×2 pts)

Final:
Thalison Soares def. Rodnei Barbosa via advantages (0x0 pts)

MALE, LIGHT-FEATHERWEIGHT (64 kg / 141.1 lb)

Lots of fun matches here. Malachi had an absolute quarter-finals war with Pedro Dias – who had beaten one of the favorites, Zach Kaina (AOJ) in the previous match – while Diego Pato faced his toughest opponent in the very first round (Pablo Mantovani), going on to dominate Keven Carrasco and Malachi Edmond on his way to the gold.

Quarter-Finals:
Diego “Pato” Oliveira def. Keven Carrasco via 7×0
Jordan Vaisman def. Michael Mehl via 3×0
Malachi Edmond def. Pedro Dias via 2×0
– Bebeto Oliveira def. Tomoyuki Hashimoto via advantage (2×2 pts)

Semi-Finals:
Malachi Edmond def. Bebeto Oliveira via decision (2×2 pts)
– Diego Oliveira advanced via WO (Vaisman forfeited to teammate)

Final:
Diego “Pato” Oliveira def. Malachi Edmond via straight ankle lock

MALE, FEATHERWEIGHT (70 kg / 154.3 lb)

Arguably, the most even of weight divisions, the featherweights had multiple world-class challengers on every side of the bracket, a true “who-is-who” of grappling. The breakthrough star here was Belgium’s Florian Bayili, an athlete who overcame two of his bracket’s top figures, namely Daniel Maira and Sebastian Serpa, and put on a real challenge against Fabricio Andrey. Florian looked sharp, with a no-nonsense style of grappling, solid everywhere.

Kennedy Maciel and Fabricio Andrey worked their way through to the final, showing they were in excellent form physically, mentally, and technically. In a division where so many attempted stalling tactics, it was a pleasure to follow these two advancing using very entertaining jiu-jitsu to become the worthy finalists of the event’s toughest division.

Quarter-Finals:
Kennedy Maciel def. Alex Sodre via decision (2×2 pts)
Isaac Doederlein def. Gabriel Cardoso via armbar
Fabricio Andrey def. Florian Bayili via 5×4
Diego Sodre def. Ademir Barreto via decision (2×2 pts)

Semi-Finals:
Fabricio Andrey def. Diego Sodre via 6×4
Kennedy Maciel advanced via WO (Isaac forfeited to teammate)

Final:
Kennedy Maciel def. Fabricio Andrey via advantages (2×2 pts)

MALE, LIGHTWEIGHT (76 kg / 167.6 lb)

A pleasure to watch, this division. One of the largest weight classes at the pans (over 30 matches) the lightweights had some of the most entertaining bouts of the 2024 Pan. Much of this is owed to Leonardo Saggioro and Jackson Nagai. Two sources of relentless, forward-moving jiu-jitsu that made following their path an absolute joy. Saggioro had 3 wins, all by submission, before succumbing to Natan Chueng in the semi-finals by 2 points while Jackson submitted everyone in his path on the way to the final.

In the final, we saw more of the same from Nagai, relentless aggression from the passing position. Chueng did his best to stifle Jackson by wrapping him up as often as possible, attempting to slow down the Tasmanian Devil living in the Manaus native. Natan did prevent him from passing and even had some solid sweeping attempts of his own in this back-and-forth clash, but Nagai pulled it off in the end. If Performance Of The Tournament was an award at the Pans, that would most likely go to Nagai.

Quarter-Finals:
Leo Saggioro def. Youngseung Cho via RNC
Natan Chueng def. Rolando Samson via decision
Jackson Nagai def. Richar Nogueira via armbar
Michael Liera def. Pedro “Bolo” Silva via 4×2

Semi-Finals:
Natan Chueng def. Leo Saggioro via 2×0
Jackson Nagai def. Michael Liera via armbar

Final:
Jackson Nagai def. Natan Chueng via advantages (0x0 pts)

MALE, MIDDLEWEIGHT (82.3 kg / 181.4 lb)

All eyes were on Micael Galvao and Andy Murasaki, the favorites in the middleweight division, and sure enough, they delivered dominating performances throughout. The surprise here, for some, may very well have been Alliance Porto Alegre’s Vinicius Martins, a student of Mario Reis who had a strong showing throughout the tournament, including against Mica.

The much-anticipated rematch between Galvao and Murasaki was everything people hoped for in terms of excitement. Mica came in strong from the get-go, taking Murasaki’s back from the guard, opening the match with a 6-point lead. Andy resisted the first onslaught of attacks from the back but ended up succumbing to a very slick armlock from the back triangle from Mica.

Quarter-Finals:
Mica Galvao def. Vinicius Martins via 8×4
Raul Basilio def. Rafael Silveira via advantage (2×2 pts)
Andy Murasaki def. Austin Oranday via armbar
– Wallison Oliveira def. Gabriel Machado via 6×4

Semi-Finals:
Mica Galvao def. Raul Basilio via guillotine
– Andy Murasaki def. Wallison Oliveira via 4×2

Final:
Mica Galvao def. Andy Murasaki via armbar

MALE, MEDIUM-HEAVYWEIGHT (88.3 kg / 194.7 lb)

Another entertaining division, particularly thanks to Uanderson Ferreira (Commando Group), Caio Vinicius (Gracie Barra), and Mateus Rodrigues (AOJ), who showed excellent jiu-jitsu across the board, working for takedowns, passes, and aggressive guard work.

The final between Uanderson and Mateus was well-fought and very even for most of the match. Ferreira had a beautiful ushi-mata throw to back control that placed him in the lead in the advantages and forced Rodrigues to take risks in the final minute of the clash. Once Mateus exposed himself, Uanderson was ready to take the back and get the finish.

Quarter-Finals:
Uanderson Ferreira def. Manuel Ribamar via 2×0
Caio Vinicius def. Dory Aoun via 11×2
– Erick Diovano def. Vitor Peres
Mateus Rodrigues def. Servio Tulio via 8×2

Semi-Finals:
Uanderson Ferreira def. Caio Vinicius via choke from the back
Mateus Rodrigues def. via Erick Diovano via choke from the back

Final:
Uanderson Ferreira def. Mateus Rodrigues via choke from the back

MALE, HEAVYWEIGHT (94.3 kg / 207.9 lb)

The usual suspects made it across to the semi-finals here. The headline of this weight class should be the overall performance of Pedro Machado and, most of all, against Adam Wardinzki. The Polish heavyweight is notoriously difficult to overcome. As technical and resilient as they come, but was unable to stop the barrage of attacks by the Rio de Janeiro native, Machado.

Pedro attempted the same approach against Fellipe Andrew in the final but the Alliance standout was able to meet Machado on the center of the mat and push the pace himself while being tactical at the same time. Andrew pushed the pace when he had to, drained the clock when necessary, and ended up taking the match on points. A masterclass of maturity by Andrew.

Quarter-Finals:
– Pedro Merlim def. Jose Jurema via 2×0
Adam Wardzinski def. Lucas Norat via armbar
Pedro Machado def. Lucas Alves via armbar
Fellipe Andrew def. Marcos Carrozzino via 11×2

Semi-Finals:
Fellipe Andrew def. Pedro Merlim via 12×0
Pedro Machado def. Adam Wardzinski via armbar

Final:
Fellipe Andrew def. Pedro Machado via 2×0

MALE, SUPER-HEAVYWEIGHT (100.5 kg / 221.6 lb)

The Munis brothers dominated this weight class with relative ease. No big stories here as this was one of the smallest categories in the male division.

Quarter-Finals:
Harryson Pereira def. Gabriel Oliveira via 2×0
Anderson Munis def. Anderson Kauan via decision (0x0 pts)
Erich Munis def. Paulo Lanzillotti via cross choke
– Felipe Mauricio def. Nicholas Maglicic via WO (injured in the previous round)

Semi-Finals:
Anderson Munis def. Harryson Pereira via armbar
Erich Munis def. Felipe Mauricio via armbar

Final:
Closeout for team Fratres

MALE, ULTRA-HEAVYWEIGHT (+100.5 kg / +221.6 lb)

A fun division to follow. Norway’s Kjetil Lydvo with his unorthodox deep-half-guard game surprised many in his run to the semi-finals, including one of the favorites, Marcus “Scooby”. Overall, the division was worthwhile to follow as many of the players showed great athleticism for their size.

On one side of the bracket was the king of flair Gutemberg Pereira, who met the king of pressure, Yatan “Train” Bueno in the final. The match saw Gutemberg playing lapel guard for lengthy periods of the match, receiving a penalty for a knee reap from single-X with lapel. The time spent wrapping Yatan with his lapel ended up costing “Berg” the match as there wasn’t enough work to warrant any type of point or advantage.

Quarter-Finals:
Kjetil Lydvo def. Marcus Ribeiro via 4×2
Yatan Bueno def. Pedro Alex via advantages (0x0 pts)
Gutemberg Pereira def. Austin Baker via 6×0
Guilherme Augusto def. Luis “Cantareira” Oliveira via kimura

Semi-Finals:
Yatan Bueno def. Kjetil Lydvo via advantage (0x0 pts)
Gutemberg Pereira def. G. Augusto via 8×2

Final:
Yatan Bueno def. Gutemberg Pereira via penalty (0x0 pts)

MALE, OPEN-CLASS

Always interesting to watch the open-weight division. Andy Murasaki and Diego Pato had fun scraps despite being a lot smaller than their opponents, but, ultimately, size did matter and two ultra-heavyweights made it through to the final. The final was a patient but dominant performance by Gutemberg Pereira, who got his second straight open-class IBJJF title in a major event.

Quarter-Finals:
– Marcus Ribeiro def. Diego Oliveira via shoulder pressure
– Gutemberg Pereira def. Andy Murasaki via decision
– Guilherme Augusto def. Harryson Pereira via 5×0
– Pedro Alex def. Luis Oliveira via decision

Semi-Finals:
– Gutemberg Pereira def. Guilherme Augusto via 9×0
– Marcus Ribeiro def. Pedro Alex via 7×2

Final:
Gutemberg Pereira def. Marcos “Scooby” Ribeiro via choke from the back

FEMALE, ROOSTER-WEIGHT (48.5 kg / 106.9 lb)

Quarter-Finals:
Thais Loureiro def. Giulia Gregorut via advantages
– Ana Carolina Lima def. Jhenifer Aquino via 4×2
– Lavinia Barbosa def. Mariana Rolszt via kneebar
Shelby Murphey def. Maria Kelly via 6×0

Semi-Finals:
Shelby Murphey def. Lavinia Barbosa via 4×2
– Ana Lima def. Thais Loureiro via 2×0

Final:
Closeout for team AOJ

FEMALE, LIGHT-FEATHERWEIGHT (53.5 kg / 117.9 lb)

Two matches for Mayssa Bastos who avenged her loss this year at the Euros this year to Jessica Caroline in the final with a fantastic performance in typical Bastos fashion, taking Caroline’s back from the guard and finishing with the collar choke. This was Mayssa’s 5th Pan title and her 3rd in the light-featherweight division.

Quarter-Finals:
Mayssa Bastos advanced via WO
– Amanda Monteiro def. Brenda Wunner via 21×0
Jessica Caroline def. Laura Peretti via straight ankle lock
– Brenda Larissa def. Polyanna Araujo via 6×0

Semi-Finals:
– Jessica Caroline def. Brenda Larissa via 2×0
– Mayssa Bastos def. Amanda Monteiro via 6×2

Final:
Mayssa Bastos def. Jessica Caroline via choke from the back

FEMALE, FEATHERWEIGHT (58.5 kg / 129.0 lb)

A small division that suffered from 3 of the biggest names signed up not coming in to compete on game day. The final was set between two different approaches to the game, Maria Luiza, the young challenger with a technical yet patient and strategical game against Larissa Campos’ more traditional game of closed guard and pressure passing, whose mental approach comes with a much more submission-oriented/aggressive impetus.

Currently representing AOJ after a lifetime competing for Gracie Humaita, Larissa’s aggressive game paid dividends against Luiza. Campos started strong, taking the back of Maria early in the match and attempting several submissions while stacking up the points.

Quarter-Finals:
Larissa Campos def. Andreza Morais via bow and arrow
– Astrid Scholin advanced via WO
– Maria Luiza advanced via WO
– Vitoria Damiana advanced via WO

Semi-Finals:
– Larissa Campos def. Astrid Scholin via choke from the back
Maria Luiza def. Vitoria Damiana via 2×0

Final:
– Larissa Campos def. Maria Luiza via 12×2

FEMALE, LIGHTWEIGHT (64 kg / 141.1 lb)

Another recent acquisition by team AOJ from the Gracie Humaita camp paid off immediately. Janaina Lebre and Larissa Campos (featherweight Pan champ) have been training partners at the Gracie camp for many years and are now members of the strongest female team in the sport, under the Mendes Brothers’ tutelage. In the lightweight division, it was Lebre who made the best of her aggressive game to make it all the way through to another gold medal. The final was spent mostly in a lapel guard (Lebre playing guard), which was not fun to follow, but she made up for it in her run to the final where she submitted both her opponents.

On the opposite side of the bracket was Sabrina Gondim of team Fratres, who showed a solid skillset once again. She traditionally medals in big events as she did at the Euros (2024), Brazilian Nationals (2023), as well as Sul Americano (2023), and represented her team well, albeit, with a more tactical style of gamesmanship in comparison to her fellow finalist, Lebre.

Quarter-Finals:
Janaina Lebre def. Joanna Trindade via choke
– Suellen Souza def. Maria Claudia via 2×0
– Sabrina Gondim def. Maynne Correa
– Janine Mutton def. Emily Fernandez via decision

Semi-Finals:
– Sabrina Gondim def. Janine Mutton via decision
– Janaina Lebre def. Suellen Souza via choke

Final:
Janaina Lebre def. Sabrina Gondim via decision

FEMALE, MIDDLEWEIGHT (69 kg / 152.1 lb)

Superb runs by both finalists, Thata Silva and Vannessa Griffin, who dominated their opponents with fun performances. Many were excited to watch what these two could bring to the finals, after such plush performances on their way there and they didn’t disappoint. Although not a guns-blazing type match, this was a war. Thalyta with her grinding style, head low, knees on the floor, pushing forward against Griffin’s aggressive collar & sleeve open guard, in the end, it was a takedown early from a poor guard-pull that got Silva the win.

Quarter-Finals:
– Thalyta Silva def. Kennedy Franklin via 4×0
– Ana Brandao def. Natalia Zumba via advantages
– Larissa Martins def. Jessica Buchmann via choke from the back
Vannessa Griffin def. Marcia Figueiredo via choke from the back

Semi-Finals:
Thalyta Silva def. Ana Brandao via armbar
– Vannessa Griffin def. Larissa Martins via choke from the back

Final:
Thalyta Silva def. Vannessa Griffin via 2×0

FEMALE, MEDIUM-HEAVYWEIGHT (74 kg / 163.1 lb)

Hard to write anything about this division. Ingridd Alves earned a Pan American gold medal with one single match while Maria Carolina Vincentini earned a silver with zero matches.

Quarter-Finals:
– Elizabeth Mitrovic def. Fernanda Cristo
– Maria Vicentini advanced via WO
– Ingridd Alves advanced via WO

Semi-Final:
– Maria Vicentini advanced via WO
Ingridd Alves def. Elizabeth Mitrovic

Final:
– closeout for DreamArt

FEMALE, HEAVYWEIGHT (79.3 kg / 174.8 lb)

A division all too similar to the medium-heavyweights.

Quarter-Finals:
(Small Division With No matches)

Semi-Finals:
– Isadora Silva def. Amanda Magda via advantages
– Thaynara Silva advanced via WO

Final:
– Isadora Silva def. Thaynara Silva via 7×0

FEMALE, SUPER-HEAVYWEIGHT (+79.3 kg / +174.8 lb)

Another steamrolling performance by Pessanha who conquered double gold one again. Only two matches in her division, both submissions but props to Mayara Monteiro of Checkmat. Mayara is a Masters 2 division athlete but still comes in to represent herself and her club in the professional category, repeatedly reaching the final against the most dominant female athlete of all time who is still in her early 20s.

Quarter-Finals:
– Mikaela Lima def. Maria Barboza
– Tamiris Silva advanced via WO
– Mayara Monteiro advanced via WO

Semi-Finals:
Gabrieli Pessanha def. Mikaela Lima via pressure
– Mayara Monteiro def. Tamiris Silva via decision

Final:
Gabrieli Pessanha def. Mayara Monteiro via choke from the back

FEMALE, OPEN-CLASS

Another year of the Pans, another dominant performance by Gabrieli Pessanha. The Cidade de Deus native had 3 matches in the open weight class, winning all with ease, her 11th double gold medal, and now going on 119 matches unbeaten.

Quarter-Finals:
– Gabrieli Pessanha def. Larissa Martins via pressure
– Izadora Cristina def. Mayara Moreira
– Vannessa Griffin def. Kennedy Franklin via advantages
– Elizabeth Mitrovic def. Maria Barboza via 13×2

Semi-Finals:
– Izadora Silva def. Vannessa Griffin via 2×0
– Gabrieli Pessanha def. Elizabeth Mitrovic via 23×0

Final:
Gabrieli Pessanha def. Izadora Silva via straight ankle lock

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