Well, sometimes we are just in the mood to watch fun grappling matches. If this is you, grab a cuppa, sit down and get ready to see 10 of the most exciting jiu-jitsu matches of 2019.
Our selection, of course, was made within the matches available outside the copyright restrictions of our sport’s main broadcasting providers. There are plenty more on order in other platforms such as Flograppling (IBJJF, F2W, ADCC, Kasai, etc) and UFC FightPass (Polaris, Quintet, EBI), but on the free market, there are also lots of outstanding battles. So without further ado:
FFION DAVIS vs TATÁ RIBEIRO
This huge match-up between two of our sport’s finest featherweights took place at the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship ¼ Finals. Welsh black belt Ffion Davies is well known for her relentless pressure passing, while Checkmat’s Nathalie Ribeiro is an aggressive and submission oriented open guard player. A style clash that had fireworks written all over, and indeed it did provide one of the best comebacks of the tournament.
NICHOLAS MEREGALI vs FELLIPE ANDREW
This match should be a candidate for “Match Of The Year” in 2019 and will be very hard to top. Takedowns, submission attempts, sweeps, back takes and scrambles upon scrambles are what you can expect from both these guys when they step on the mat, true berserkers. This CBJJ Brazilian national – super-heavyweight final was no different.
SERGIO RIOS vs THIAGO MACEDO
“Pichilinga” Rios has been regarded as one of the most exciting middleweights in the world, as is Thiago Macedo in the featherweight division. This clash took place at the IBJJF Orange County Open in the absolute division, which was, in our opinion, one of the best performances Sergio Rios’ performance this year. The peculiarity of this match is the use of the lapel as a big weapon throughout most of this match.
TIAGO BARROS vs GABRIEL SOUSA
Cicero Costha’s Tiago Barros is one of the most underrated competitors in the world, a true veteran with a tremendous list of accomplishments, Tiago’s low-key demeanor has kept him on the sidelines of mainstream discourse, nonetheless, he always puts on a show when he comes on the mats.
On the 2nd round of the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Barros came across the rising star of the light-featherweight division: ZR Team’s Gabriel Sousa. Seeing two of the best scramblers in the world meeting-up so early in the tournament was a real shame for the athletes and the general public who might have missed this work of art.
FELLIPE ANDREW vs MARCUS RIBEIRO
You might have noticed Fellipe is on this list twice, that is because we could have easily made a “Top 10 Andrew Matches”. Every time Fellipe competes he puts on a highlight reel of movement and offense and this one was no different. On this particular bout at the final of the IBJJF São Paulo Open clash, Andrew welcomed the current brown belt champ Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro to the black belt division. Marcus had an absolutely brilliant brown belt career, beating a true who-is-who in that division and came in with that same mindset to face Fellipe. The result was fireworks for the fans.
ALEXANDRE VIEIRA vs YAGO RODRIGUES
Okay, this is one of the shortest matches on the roster, but that is just how both these athletes play. Yago is one of the rising featherweights in the world, competing out of Rio de Janeiro’s Equipe Marcio Rodrigues (owned by his father). On the other side was Alexandre Vieira, who is the ONLY professional adult black belt competitor with a 98% submission win record. This in a 4-year-old BB career. Super underrated skills, we don’t understand how this guy isn’t being called by every pro-grappling event out there.
FERNANDO REIS vs HENRIQUE CARDOSO
This was a grueling and entertaining war between two very big dudes, for the Rio International Open open weight title, most of which spent on the feet. Alliance’s Fernando Andrade Reis’ judo style against Cardoso’s wrestling oriented stand-up, this match had takedowns, sweeps, passes and god knows how many scrambles. A real grind.
SERGIO RIOS vs FELLIPE TROVO
We referenced before that one of Rios’ top 2019 performances took place at the IBJJF Orange County Open in the absolute division, and this is yet another example of Rios’ outstanding performance that day against a super game Fellipe Trovo. Trovo, who trains with Romulo Barral at Gracie Barra Northridge, is equally known for his love of scrambles.
LUCAS LEPRI vs RENAN MARCEL
Lepri’s European Open absolute weight class run was one of the most memorable moments of 2019, this was one of the many exciting performances carried out by the Alliance – Charlotte head coach. Marcel is a well-accomplished competitor who outweighed Lucas by a good 42 kilograms (93 lbs) making Lepri’s win here all the more impressive.
KEENAN CORNELIUS vs NICHOLAS MEREGALI
Regarded by many experts as one of the biggest matches on the World Championship this year was Meregali vs Cornelius. Power, speed and flair of Nicholas against the technical and tactical maneuvers Keenan, this match did not have a lot of points scored on the board but was a true treasure for those looking for the technical intricacies of BJJ.