The 20th edition of the World Jiu Jitsu Championship is at our doorstep. Although there is great anticipation to find out who the new world champions will be, this year’s “Mundial de Jiu Jitsu” will be remembered as one of the shallowest tournaments to have taken place since the creation of the competition by CBJJ in 1996.
The tournament will be missing out many of the sport’s biggest names at black belt. The list is very long, to name a few:
Caio Terra (2013 world champion: coming off an injury, could not register on time)
Guilherme Mendes (2014 world champion: retired)
Gabriel Moraes (2013 world champion: unknown)
Ary Farias (2011 world champion: prioritizing MMA career)
Luan Carvalho (2015 Brazilian Champion: denied entrance in US)
Romulo Barral (2014 world champion: prioritising ADCC training)
Felipe Pena (2014 world champion: suspended)
Rodolfo Vieira (2014 world champion: injured)
Andre Galvao (2014 runner up, 2x world champion: focussing on coaching)
Luiz Panza (2014 Pan American Champion: injured)
Braulio Estima (2013 world champion: suspended)
AJ Agazarm (2015 Pan American runner up: injured at ADCC US trials)
Roberto Satoshi (top lightweight: unknown)
Gabrielle Garcia (focussing on MMA career)
Rafael Lovato Junior (2007 world champion: recovering from injury)
The lack of some of the sport’s most dominant athletes may turn out to be a great result for some of the lesser known athletes, waiting on the sidelines for a chance to shine. But even here the Mundial will be lacking a few of today’s rising athletes. Among the hottest prospects in jiu jitsu that will not be attending the Mundial there are:
Dillon Danis (brown belt Pan American Champion 2015 weight & absolute)
Mansher Khera (lightweight prospect)
Felipe Cesar (middleweight prospect)
Márcio André (2014 featherweight world champion at brown belt)
Joao Pedro “Somália” (roosterweight prospect)
With that said, the show must go on, and the ones who will be part of next year’s tournament will surely put on a show, worthy of being watched by the fans.
The tournament will have some nice surprises, such as the rise of Keenan Cornelius to heavyweight. Without both of last year’s finalists (Preguica and Galvao) as well as one of last year’s semi finalists (Rafael Lovato Jr), the division looks open for the taking by the young prodigy.
In the medium heavyweight division, what was once the scariest weight class in the world championships, seems to have followed the trend left by the heavyweights, missing 3 out of 4 of the 2014 semi finalists, Romulo Barral, Braulio who will miss the tournament and lastly Murilo Santana who’s dropped to middleweight.
The middleweights will have some room to breathe with the absence of their champion (who’s at medium heavy). This may be a very good opportunity to see the talented Victor Estima shine, he who’s been somewhat unlucky in his many battles against Lo in the past few years. Another future star in the making, Marcos Tinoco will be trying his luck for the first time at black belt.
If the lightweight division is currently on lock by Lucas Lepri, the Atos team is coming to test the champion’s grips with three highly talented athletes (JT Torres, Andris Brunovskis and Michael Liera Jr).
If you are looking for some changes in the featherweight division, you might have to wait another year. Victor Genovesi and Gianni Grippo are on Cobrinha’s side of the brackets, and it is likely the younger team mates would give the veteran a “by”. Although Cobrinha has also Oswaldo Moizinho to get through, he should meet Rafael Mendes in the final. Rafa who has a less turbulent ride towards the final. This might be the 5th time the Mendes and Charles meet at a final of the worlds in the past 6 years.
In the light featherweights, with Gui Mendes retirement, Paulo Miyao seems set to take over. Paulo has been showing the signs of a complete athlete, passing guards and playing from the top and seems to have the upper hand in the division. The roosters will most likely see another final between Malfacine and Joao Myiao, same as last year.