NOVEMBER 14, 2022, ROME, ITALY, saw another edition of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Open, one of the biggest no-gi jiu-jitsu tournaments on the international calendar and one that hadn’t been held since 2019, pre-pandemic.
In the past, the Euros No-Gi Championship of the IBJJF had been, for the most part, regarded as an afterthought by the majority of the pro athletes on the circuit, but that does appear to be changing as of late.
This year, in particular, the male adult black belt divisions were well-equipped with top-level talent despite the low turnout in the female class. Among the big names on the Euros were Adam Wardzinski, Oliver Taza, Lucas Pinheiro, Claudio Calasans, Alexandre “Robinho”, Santeri Lilius, Hunter Colvin, Jed Hue, Igor Feliz, Fernando Reis, Ashley Williams, to name a few. All in all, 92 matches in the male, adult black belts and 21 clashes in the female weight classes.
2022 EUROPEAN NO-GI CHAMPIONS
55.5 KG: Coco Izutsu (AOJ)
61.5 KG: Lucas Pinheiro (Atos)
67.5 KG: Ashley Williams (Draig)
73.5 KG: Lucas Rodrigues (AOJ)
79.5 KG: Igor Feliz (R1NG)
85.5 KG: Oliver Taza (New Wave)
91.5 KG: Santeri Lilius (Lilius Barnatt)
97.5 KG: Fernando Reis (Alliance)
+97.5 KG: Sean Goolsby (Atos)
(OPEN): Adam Wardzinski (CheckMat)
46.5 KG: N/A
51.5 KG: N/A
56.5 KG: Christina Tsantila (Gracie Barra)
61.5 KG: Hannah Rauch (Gracie Humaita)
66.5 KG: Julia Maele (OXY)
71.5 KG: Joanna Dineva (Gracie Humaita)
76.5 KG: Eleftheria Christodoulou (ZR Team)
(OPEN): Eleftheria Christodoulou (ZR Team)
Making his black belt debut at the No-Gi European Open was Lucas Rodrigues, an athlete who is currently living in Sweden but is a product of the AOJ academy of the Mendes Brothers. Rodrigues was on a submission spree, making easy work of solid European veterans like Marcus Phelan and Romão Carvalho, with an overall count of 4 matches and 4 submissions.
Another rookie worthy of big praise is Eleftheria Christodoulou, the Cypriot ADCC veteran that received her black belt just hours before the tournament in an impromptu ceremony to get her to compete at the highest level. Despite her diminished experience (this was only Eleftheria’s 15th appearance at a grappling event since she began training), Christodoulou looked as sharp as she always does, taking home 3 submissions and two gold medals out of 5 matches. All of which she dominated from post to post.
Coco Izutsu of AOJ was another athlete who was making his debut at the black belt level in this tournament and won, in the roosterweight division. Sadly, we weren’t able to watch his matches but this win was a clear sign of another quality newcomer to the growing roosterweight class.
IGOR FELIZ, TOO MUCH FOR THE EUROPEAN ELITE
One of the most exciting lightweights in the world, Mr. Igor Feliz decided to move up in weight and challenge the middleweight division at the Euros. In front of Igor was an army of very crafty competitors, which included Hungary’s rising talent Gyula Szabo and two of Britain’s top performers in Polaris’ Grand Prix finalist Jed Hue and veteran Ellis Younger. Feliz handled everyone remarkably well without conceding a single point during his 4 matches while putting on healthy margins of points on the board, himself.
In the final Feliz met Chilean grappling veteran “Pipo” Chiappe of Cohab Santiago. Always a gamer, Pierpaolo proved to be a worthy challenger, but Igor was too tight to allow anything through his defense. 4×0 for a very good overall performance by Igor Feliz who is now the middleweight European No-Gi champion.
Despite the solid performances of a few rookies, the biggest stars of the show still delivered to a very high standard. The biggest name here was, arguably, Adam Wardzinski. Despite the slip-up in his weight class, where he lost to Fernando Andrade Reis (Alliance), Adam controlled the open-weight class where he beat Reis in the semi-finals via decision and dominated the rest of the matches with two submissions and a 9-point lead win over Oliver Taza in the final.
Taza was equally impressive in the tournament, competing one weight class above what he’s accustomed us to in the past, Oliver beat 4 of the bigger boys at medium-heavyweight with a few top shelf black belts under his win count. This included a win via advantage against UK talent Taylor Pearman, a decision over the durable and former ADCC open weight champion Claudio Calasans, and another hard-fought battle against Alexandre de Jesus.
Also on the veteran front, Santeri Lilius was on fire this weekend. The Finish black belt has had a tremendous 2022, winning the ADCC Trials, taking Jacob Couch to a very tight decision at GrappleFest, and now at the Euros with 4 wins against very worthy opponents, including Bradley Hill and Hunter Colvin, coming out with 3 submissions, 1 win by points and a very worthy gold medal.
Last, but not least, we would like to reference Fernando Andrade Reis. The half-guard wizard was out of the tournament scene for some time but appears to have returned in full force as of late. This weekend Fernando had 8 matches, losing one via decision to Adam Wardzinski (which he avenged later that weekend), and taking 4 subs on his way to a heavyweight gold medal. Very impressive work.
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / ROOSTER
#1 – Coco Izutsu (AOJ)
#2 – Denis Beenen (Open Mat MMA)
#3 – Alberto Alamia (Accademia Kama)
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / LIGHT-FEATHER
#1 – Lucas Pinheiro (Atos)
#2 – Daniel de Groot (CheckMat)
#3 – Lucas Feitosa (Carlson Gracie)
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / LIGHT
#1 – Lucas Rodrigues (AOJ)
#2 – Ilias Dikelis (Gracie Barra)
#3 – Marcus Phelan (ECJJA)
#3 – Rafal Farjaszewski (Academia Gorila)
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / MIDDLE
#1 – Igor Feliz (R1NG)
#2 – Pierpaolo Chiappe (Cohab Chile)
#3 – Gyula Szabó (Carlson Gracie)
#3 – Thomas Cellamare (Draig)
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / HEAVY
#1 – Santeri Lilius (Lilius Barnatt)
#2 – Janis Riekstins (ZR Team)
#3 – Dimitrios Margaritopoulos (Adamas)
#3 – Hunter Colvin (Triton)
MALE / ADULT / BLACK / ULTRA-HEAVY
#1 – Sean Goolsby (Atos)
#2 – Felipe Mauricio (Icon)
#3 – Patryk Wysocki (CheckMat)
#3 – Wesley Lopes Caixeta (RGA)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / LIGHT-FEATHER
1# – Nina Navid (RGA)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / FEATHER
1# – Christina Tsantila (Gracie Barra)
2# – Ashley Bendle (Draig)
3# – Fiona Middleton (RGA)
3# – Sofia Amarante (JJ4L)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / LIGHT
1# – Hannah Rauch (Gracie Humaita)
2# – Chelsea Leah (Escapology BJJ)
3# – Laura Rattya (Hilti)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / MIDDLE
1# – Julia Maele (OXY)
2# – Suvi-tuuli Koikkalainen (Takado)
3# – Isa Bruno (Impact)
3# – Outi Karhuvaara (Hilti)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / MEDIUM-HEAVY
1# – Joanna Dineva (Gracie Humaita)
2# – Rachel Ranschau (Atos)
3# – Ane Svendsen (GFT)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / HEAVY
1# – Eleftheria Christodoulou (ZR Team)
2# – Paivi Aittamaa (CheckMat)
FEMALE / ADULT / BLACK / OPEN CLASS
1# – Eleftheria Christodoulou (ZR Team)
2# – Marta Szarecka (Gracie Barra)
3# – Laura Rattya (Hilti)
3# – Magdalena Loska (Brasa)
This article was written and researched by Andre Borges.