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Star-Studded 2016 European Open

Star-Studded 2016 European Open

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In 1 week’s time the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) will kick-off its 2016 calendar. As its been set since 2004, the first big international event chosen for the effect has been the European Open in Lisbon, Portugal. The tournament has been growing from strength to strength in the past 12 years, having broken the record in 2015 for number of registered athletes (3400 at the time) in a jiu jitsu competition. For this year the IBJJF has confirmed that the tournament has broken its previous record by over 100 athletes.

To host the ever growing number of competitors, the organizers have changed venue, from Casal Vistoso in Lisbon to Pavilhão Multiusos in Odivelas – Greater Lisbon. Although not as easy to access as in previous years, the venue offers better working conditions for both staff and athletes.

BJJ BLACK BELT STARS INVADE EUROPE

Although the event has always been well represented in the adult black belt division, we have definitely been witnessing a bigger buzz regarding the event, a buzz that is clearly noticed when assessing the brackets for this year’s clashes. Here is a run-down of this year’s top competitors at the European Open:

Rooster:

  • Caio Terra (legendary competitor; 10x IBJJF world titles)
  • Vincent Nguyen (black belt under Mendes Bros, London Open + American Nationals champion)
  • Koji Shibamoto (one of the top Japanese black belts)

Light Feather:

  • Hiago George (one of the rising stars in jiu jitsu, Brazilian and South American champion last year)
  • João Miyao (2015’s world no-gi, pan-american gi + no-gi champion, and one of the sport’s most popular athletes)
  • Gabriel Willcox (old school legend of the sport)

Feather:

  • Isaac Doederlein (black belt under Cobrinha, World Pro, Pan Am and Euro champion last year as brown belt)
  • Victor Genovesi (one of the most exciting and under rated black belts in the division)
  • Brian Mahecha (one of the most technical guard players in the sport with a bright future ahead)
  • Leon Amancio (seasoned competitor and a black belt under Leonardo Vieira)
  • Ítalo Lins (GF Team athlete, and one of the top competitors in the division)
  • Marcio André (one of the most talented featherweights in the world and last year’s European champion)
  • Paulo Miyao (current world champion and arguably the favourite to win the tournament in Lisbon)

Light:

  • Mansher Khera (black belt under Marcelo Garcia and a rising star in the sport)
  • Kevin Mahecha (much like his brother Brian, Kevin is incredibly talented. expect him to do well in the comp)
  • Michael Liera Jr. (together with Mansher, and Najmi, Liera Jr. represents the new blood in the sport, with a wealth of talent and one of the favourites for the gold medal)
  • Sandro Vieira (a crafty veteran from Fight Zone in Rio de Janeiro, Sandro has faced and beaten the best. A tough challenge for anyone on the brackets).
  • Thiago Abreu (another seasoned grappler from Checkmat, “Baiano” is always fun to watch)
  • Thibaut Olivier (one of the strongest athletes ever produced in France and a veteran of the sport)
  • Edwin Najmi (part of the new generation of black belts, Najmi is expected to do very well at the European Open, his first IBJJF test at black belt)
  • Diego Vivaldo (very crafty competitor from Guigo‘s team, on a good day “Gaviao” will pose a threat to any lightweight in the world)

Middle:

  • Luca Anacoreta (the most promising black belt produced in Italy. Very entertaining grappler)
  • Yan Cabral (UFC fighter and former European Open finalist)
  • Joshua Hinger (one of the top black belts in the Atos academy)
  • Alan do Nascimento (“Finfou” is one of the historic figures of the European Open. Always dangerous)
  • Nic Ruben (one of Europe’s most successful black belts)
  • Eduardo Rios (legendary competitor, a wealth of experience on the mats)
  • Charles Negromonte (although often under-rated, this “Ze Radiola” black belt is one of the favourites to win the tournament)
  • Gabriel Arges (newly promoted black belt, Arges will be trying to prove why he is regarded as one of the most promising athletes in jiu jitsu, today)
  • Yago de Souza (like Arges, Yago has not had much experience at black belt, but his talent has him as one of the favourites to steal the show)

Medium Heavy:

  • André Galvão (another legend of the sport, 3x world champion and leader of the Atos academy)
  • Lucas Barbosa (the current world no-gi champion is also one of the leaders of the new grappling generation)
  • Patrick Gaudio (just coming off a great showing at Copa Podio, expect Gaudio to bring a complete set of skills)
  • Rodrigo Fajardo (former European Open champion, coming back to try and reclaim his title)
  • Max Carvalho (another veteran of the sport, and the European Open. Always dangerous)
  • Rômulo Barral (like Galvão, Terra and Lo, Barral is one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the sport)
  • Leandro Lo (4x world champion, 4x Copa Podio champion)
  • Diogo Sampaio Araujo (former world silver medallist, always a strong competitor)

Heavy:

  • Felipe Bueno (one of the main figures of the 10x world champion Alliance camp)
  • Jackson Sousa (together with Felipe Pena, Sousa is the favourite to win the tournament at heavyweight)
  • Felipe Pena (Copa Podio champion, ADCC finalist. One of the best, of the best in the game today)

Super Heavy:

  • Cássio Francis (former team mate of Rômulo Barral, Francis is a veteran competitor with a solid game everywhere on the ground)
  • Lucio Rodrigues (another one of the historical figures of this event, “Lagarto” has been a finalist numerous times and is always a danger to the podium spots)
  • Kauê Damasceno (Kauê has been very successful competing in Brazil. Strong with a heavy top game, he is a challenge to all in the division)
  • Erberth Santos (the favourite to win the division, Santos is aggressive, athletic and an all-round grappler)

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