APRIL 10, 2022, KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, USA, settled another edition of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Pan American Championships, a tournament that gathered some of the finest grapplers on the planet for a two-day showdown of adult black belt athletes. Despite the many entertaining matches and solid talent on the mats, the event did suffer from plenty of close-outs and gentlemen agreements, particularly in the male division, which appeared to somewhat dismiss or denigrate the importance of the #2 tournament on the IBJJF calendar.
Another sign that the IBJJF Pans may be losing some of the relevance it once held among the professional athletes of the sport was the many big names missing from this year’s tournament. Names such as Mica Galvão, Rafaela Guedes, Tommy Langaker, Luiza Monteiro, Gustavo Batista, Lucas Hulk, Isaque Bahiense, Renato Canuto, to name but a few. Despite the absentees, this was, overall, a very strong event with solid talent across all weight classes of the adult black belt division.
COSTA RICA CROWNS FIRST ADULT BLACK BELT CHAMPION
The medium-heavyweight division saw a brand new king being crowned for 2022, and that king was none other than Unity’s Sebastian Rodriguez of Costa Rica. The first-ever IBJJF Pan champion from this well-known Central America territory. Rodriguez had a submission win against the very tough Guthierry Barbosa in the first round, after which he went to war with Dream Art’s Alex Munis of Dream Art, taking a win over ref’s decision. Two matches was all it took for Rodriguez who closed out the semi-finals with Leandro Lo, and the final with Manuel Ribamar, both teammates of Sebastian at Unity in New York City.
ANNA RODRIGUES GOES UP A WEIGHT CLASS AND DOMINATES
Two exciting matches and two submissions for the Dream Art athlete who is making her claim to the top Pound 4 Pound throne in the female division. Despite being a savvy guard player, Rodrigues came in willing to play the top game and did it with style, dominating both Sophia Dalpra and Amanda Monteiro-Canuto to achieve another Pan title.
TAINAN DALPRA MAINTAINS TITLE WITH 29TH STRAIGHT WIN
Despite competing in one of the most stacked divisions in the sport, Dalpra continues to impress with his clean passing stance and his cleaver guard playing, a game that is becoming increasingly more difficult to overcome for middleweights. Arguably the most dominant gi player in the sport right now, Dalpra had 4 matches, taking two submissions (over Roberto Jimenez [Triangle] and Eduardo Avelar [Choke]), and two more via points (Ronaldo Junior & Jeferson Guaresi), settling his 29th victory – 21 of those being by submission.
ERICH MUNIS CEMENTS HIS CLAIM AS THE NEW OPEN WEIGHT BOOGEYMAN
One of the most exciting prospects in the sport, Erich Munis of Dream Art conquered the open weight title in style, while also making the final of the super-heavyweight (forfeited to Marcus Ribeiro). Overall 6 victorious matches for this impressive guard player, with the open weight final being his 31st straight victory. Erich has only lost twice in his 1.5-years-long, adult black belt career, and only one of those was in his weight class.
2022 IBJJF PAN CHAMPIONS:
(57KG) Carlos Oliveira – GFTeam
(64KG) Meyram Maquiné -Dream Art
(70KG) Alex Sodré – Nova União
(76KG) Johnatha Alves – AOJ
(82KG) Tainan Dalpra – AOJ
(88KG) Sebastian Rodriguez – Unity
(94KG) Dimitrius Souza – Alliance
(100KG) Marcus Ribeiro – Alliance
(+100KG) Roberto Abreu – Fight Sports
(OPEN) Erich Munis – Dream Art
(49KG) Mayssa Bastos – Unity
(52KG) Jessa Khan – AOJ
(58KG) Anna Rodrigues – Dream Art
(64KG) Nathalie Ribeiro – Checkmat
(69KG) Thamara Ferreira – Guigo
(71KG) Maria Malyjasiak – Abmar Barbosa
(79KG) Melissa Cueto – Alliance
(+79KG) Gabrieli Pessanha – InFight
(OPEN) Gabrieli Pessanha – InFight
An aggressive showing by Thalison Soares ended up with a silver medal after facing a strategic Carlos Alberto in the final. Soares submitted Matheus Rossi in the 1/4 finals and had a beautiful scrap with the scramble king, Estevan Martinez in the semis before facing the GFT representative.
– Estevan Martinez def. Kevin Martincowski via armbar
– Thalison Soares def. Matheus Rossi via botinha
– Frank Cespedes def. Italo Bonfim via bow and arrow choke
– Carlos Oliveira def. Osamah Almarwai via 8×4
– Carlos Oliveira def. Thalison Soares 4×3 adv, 4×4 pts
It is always nice to see the rising stars in the sport showing beautiful, forward-moving jiu-jitsu, and this is exactly what you get when you come and watch a Meyram Maquiné match. The Dream Art light-featherweight’s performances throughout the tournament were the perfect balance between entertainment and composure. Against Diogo Reis (one of the event’s favorites) in the elimination rounds, Maquiné was forced to play the 50-50 guard, a game imposed by his opponent, but showed he was up for slowing things down if need be. From that match onwards it was all offense. The silver medalist, Lucas Pinheiro, was equally entertaining, securing two solid submissions before being stopped by Maquiné.
– Meyram Maquiné def. Keven Carrasco via choke from the back
– Tomoyuki Hashimoto def. Pedro Dias via 1×0 adv, 2×2 pts
– Hiago George def. Huthayfah Penney via 9×2
– Lucas Pinheiro def. Malachi Edmond via choke from the back
The toughest division in the event went to the Sodré Brothers, two of Brazil’s rising stars. Despite being a black belt for a relatively short period of time, Diego Sodré has become one of the very top gi competitors in the world, currently holding an European Open gold medal, a bronze at the Mundial, and now, gold at Pans. Equally impressive was his older brother, Alexssandro (Alex) who beat an army of elite black belts in Yuta Shimada, Isaac Doederlein, and Thiago Macedo to reach the final.
– Alex Sodré def. Isaac Doederlein via 4×2
– Thiago Macedo def. Nick Salles via 3×0
– Diego Sodré def. Daniel Maira via choke from the back
– Richar Nogueira def. Jamil Hill-Taylor via decision
– Sodré brothers, Alex and Diego closed out the featherweight final for Nova União
Alves of AOJ cruised his way to the final with submissions, meeting his former Atos teammate, Andy Murasaki, in the final. This turned out to be one of the most intense matches of the tournament with no love lost between these two proficient grapplers. Despite the intensity, this was also a calculated match as necessary when competing at this level.
– Andy Murasaki def. Sergio Soares via katagatame
– Igor Feliz def. Hugo Marques via decision
– Johnatha Alves def. Daniel Diniz via toe hold
– Natan Chueng def. Rodrigo Freitas via 6×0 adv, 0x0 pts
Truly mesmerizing how good Jeferson Guaresi’s guard retention was throughout the tournament, but particularly in the final, against the best guard passer in the middleweight division right now, Tainan Dalpra. Despite his great efforts, the current World Champ (Dalpra) did eventually break through, around the 7-minute mark.
– Mathias Luna def. Leonardo Lara via 2×0
– Jeferson Guaresi advanced as team-mate Levi Jones-Leary forfeited via gentlemen’s agreement
– Ronaldo Junior def. Felipe Cesar via 3×1 adv, 0x0 pts
– Tainan Dalpra def. Eduardo Avelar via choke from the back
A historic event for the IBJJF Pans and for Sebastian Rodriguez who became the first Costa Rican to reach the final of the event.
– Leandro Lo def. Jansen Gomes via 5×0
– Sebastian Rodriguez def. Alex Munis via decision
– Manuel Ribamar def. Rafael Paganini via armbar
– Yan Lucas def. Matheus Luna via 2×1 adv, 2×2 pts
– Pedro Machado def. Rider Zuchi via 2×0
– Matheus Diniz def. Adam Wardzinski via 3×0
– Dimitrius Souza def. Pedro Elias via choke from the back
– Pedro Marinho def. André Porfirio via 4×2
– Erich Munis def. Wilson Almeida via armbar
– Fellipe Andrew def. Anderson Munis via botinha (lapel grip straight ankle lock)
– Marcus “Scooby” Ribeiro def. Devhonte Johnson via choke from the back
– Vinicius “Trator” Ferreira advanced to the semi-final unopposed as his opponent missed weight.
A valiant effort by Gutemberg Pereira who cruised with flair and technique all the way to the final where he met Roberto Abreu. Despite being more aggressive and trying several submissions, Gutemberg lost due to a technical fault (escaping the mat), which penalized the GFT athlete with 2 points.
– Roosevelt Sousa def. Igor Schneider via 2×0
– Gutemberg Pereira def. Orlando Baccino via armlock
– Roberto Abreu def. Wallace Costa via 3×0
– Davi Cabral advanced to the semi-final unopposed as his opponent missed weight.
The very best of the show made it to the final of the absolute. Both Andrew and Munis played on the offense throughout the tournament amassing several submissions and double-digit scores. For the last showdown, Erich came out strong with a very tight toe hold on the footlock master that is Andrew. Fellipe looked unphased and escaped the submission while imposing attacks of his own, nevertheless, it was the Dream Art representative who prevailed.
Many would argue Bastos is the best Pound-4-Pound female athlete in the sport, and few would argue that claim. Playing beautifully from top and bottom, Bastos continued to dominate, putting points on the scoreboard while not suffering any points herself.
– Mayssa Bastos def. Lavinia Barbosa via 9×0
Traditionally a roosterweight, Khan of AOJ decided to move up a weight class, a decision that proved to be the right one for the young competitor. Jessa showed great composure in her two matches, submitting Sofia Amarante while putting on a sober performance against GFT’s Aquino.
Another big win for Rodrigues of Dream Art, an athlete that came up a weight class after conquering the light-featherweight division last year. Anna came in more aggressive than ever, submitting both her opponents from a passing stance, showing she is more than ready to settle in this division.
The most fun division in the female category, the lightweights played beautifully and were the evenest weight class also. In the end, it was all down to the two top performers, Nathalie Ribeiro of Checkmat La Habra and Ffion Davies of East Coast JJ (Ireland), a hard-fought match won by the American-Brazilian competitor, Ribeiro, with a beautiful sweep from her trademarked spider-guard.
Another small division but an even won, particularly between the two finalists, Thamara Ferreira of São Paulo, Brazil, and New York’s Chloe McNally. This even grappling match was decided in the final 10 seconds when Chloe was forced to use an illegal grip (inside pants inseam) to block a guard pass by Ferreira. The grip received a match-deciding penalty as it was all zeros on the scoreboard after the final whistle.
– Thamara Ferreira def. Chloe McNally via penalty
A beautiful performance by Abmar Barbosa’s Maria Malyjasiak. In the final, Maria put on a clinic of aggressive jiu-jitsu, always hunting to improve her positions and seeking the submission.
– Maria Malyjasiak def. Izadora Cristina via omoplata/choke
Cueto has grown tremendously since joining the Alliance team in California and the results are here for everyone to see. After a historic performance at the World Championships 5 months ago, Melissa returned with another dominant showing at the Pans, taking home the win after a very scrappy final with Maggie Grindatti.
A three-athlete division, both Pessanha, and Soares dominated their matches with Mayara Custódio to reach the final where Pessanha showed her superiority.
Yara showed very forward-moving jiu-jitsu, seeking the submission throughout the tournament. That aggressive frame of mind clashed with the more patient but effective style of Soares’ arch-nemesis, Pessanha, in the final. This final did indeed bring forward a more pending issue for the IBJJF right now, which is the refereeing and the lack of stalling calls issued by the judges, a problem that has been brewing for quite some time. The match between Pessanha and Soares was, by all means, very slow with little to no offensive maneuvers by either athlete throughout the 10 minutes it lasted. It was near impossible to follow for us, who follow the sport like no other, we can only imagine how casual fans felt about the action. With this type of ruling (or lack thereof), the organization is effectively stifling any interest in the sport.
– Gabrieli Pessanha def. Melissa Cueto via decision
– Yara Soares def. Maria Malyjasiak via bow and arrow choke