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BJJ Fanatics Instructionals

The Most Challenging Female Division At IBJJF 2024 World Championship

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Craig Jones Instructionals

One of the greatest beneficiaries of the growth in jiu-jitsu’s female division has been the featherweight class, which saw a tremendous spike in talent over recent years. This crescendo is reaching 2024 as one of the biggest open questions for the IBJJF World Championships taking place this weekend.

After two years of dominating the featherweights, Almeida JJ squad star, Bianca Basilio will be sitting out of the tournament due to a cruciate ligament tear. This absence by the most recent Queen of the Featherweights has left the podium wide open for someone else to take the reigns of the challenging category.

Altogether the 58,50-kilogram division (129.0 lbs) will have 14 female savvy grapplers attempting to conquer their gold medal, each one with extensive competitive records, including big European talent such as Astrid Scholin (SWE) of Checkmat & Margot Ciccarelli (ENG), as well as American talent in Elizabeth Liera and Taylor Sausser, and a platoon of Brazilian athletes led by Anna Rodrigues and Nathalie Ribeiro. Below are the main figures of this featherweight division.

FRONT-RUNNERS OF FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION AT WORLDS 2024

ANNA RODRIGUES

Team: DREAM ART
Record: 92W-8L

Rodrigues is the front-runner of this division. She is a 2x IBJJF World Champion in the light-featherweight division and earned silver in 2023 as a featherweight, losing by an advantage to the champ after a 0x0 scoreboard.

Rodrigues is an absolute gamer, with good passing and a very competent guard, but one of her best qualities is how she plays the clock like no other in this game. She is very hard to score on (the last person to score on Anna in the IBJJF ruleset was Ciccarelli a year ago), she is on a 10-match winning streak and has only one loss in this weight class in her whole career via 1 advantage score in the last 5 seconds of the Mundial last year. Expect Anna Rodrigues to be highly motivated and ready to take the title that narrowly escaped her grasp last year.

MARGOT CICCARELLI

Team: AOJ
Record: 48W-16L

After winning IBJJF Euros this year, modern jiu-jitsu specialist Ciccarelli switched her focus to no-gi where she went on a 7-match winning streak and won another of Europe’s toughest challenges, the ADCC Trials.

As promised, Margot is back to the gi this weekend and to a tournament she placed 3rd in 2023, after a very controversial loss to Anna Rodrigues in the semi-finals. This is a match many fans would love to revisit, including us. Not only is Ciccarelli one of the biggest talents in the sport, but she was also the only player to score on Rodrigues in the whole of 2023 (and she did it twice), so keep your eyes peeled for this “former” Crab Ride wizard who is ever evolving with AOJ and has more recently improved substantially in her passing game as well.

NATHALIE RIBEIRO

Team: CHECKMAT
Record: 43W-18L

One of the hardest guards to pass in jiu-jitsu, “Tata” Ribeiro has struggled with a back injury for some time. This year, however, the exciting Spider-Guard specialist has appeared to be in excellent form, winning over big names such as Jaine Fragoso, Karen Terra, and Larissa Campos. This good form puts her in a solid position to challenge for the world title, one of the few gold medals still missing from Ribeiro’s vast medal cupboard.

Although mostly known for her guard, Nathalie has changed her game up a little as of late, showing very good guard passing as well, particularly from the knee-cut stance, and has a solid submission rate in 2023 with most subs coming from foot attacks. If her body holds up, Ribeiro is a real challenge to the division.

LARISSA CAMPOS

Team: AOJ
Record: N/A

Formerly with Gracie Humaita and training mostly in Reunion Island in Africa, Campos became one of the most dangerous triangle specialists in the sport—a technique she used to submit the current world champ, Bia Basilio, back in 2020.

Although very talented, Larissa fell somewhat short of her full potential in the past due to her training conditions, preparing mostly with hobbyists throughout the year in preparation for these big events. That was then and this is now. Larissa is currently training at the Mendes Brothers camp – Art Of Jiu-Jitsu – one of the most successful jiu-jitsu programs in the world, where Campos will have all the tools to succeed with her 2024 gold medal at the Pans being proof of the new and improved Lari Campos. She is at the peak age of many athletes (29) she has the experience and a solid training camp, all elements that point to this being her year.

MARIA LUIZA

Team: ALMEIDA JJ
Record: 25W-8L

Flying slightly under the radar is Maria Luiza (or Maria Nunes), a training partner of the reigning champ, Bianca Basilio, and the current CBJJ Brazilian Nationals Champion. Still in her rookie year in the professional division, the young Luiza has amassed important wins and is, slowly but surely, finding her ground and making noise in the division.

Maria Luiza has looked great this year. After a bumpy start at the European Championship, she went on to win the Brasileiro and earn a silver medal at the Pan. On any regular weight class, an athlete of her talent and accolades would be seen as a front-runner, but in this division, she will have to settle for the Dark Horse label. If she pulls it off, it would be one of the biggest upsets of 2024.

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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