The IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championship starts tomorrow (thursday the 28th of May, 2015) with the lower belts, hitting the black belt adult divisions on saturday. Though this year’s tournament will miss quite a few of our usual title hunters (as seen on our “missing in action article“), there is still a whole lot of expectation surrounding this iconic championship. Below are a few of the many great achievements up for grabs this weekend.
MALFACINE TO STACK UP HIS 7th
In the adult male “galo” division, also known as roosterweights, the incredible Bruno Malfacine looks to surpass his own record of 6 world titles at black belt. With his long term nemesis Caio Terra out of the picture, “Malfa” is set to lock horns with the tactical Joao Miyao, a likely candidate to meet Bruno in the final. Last year the two had a very tight match that ended in a referee decision to Malfacine.
RAFA or COBRINHA TO BREAK 15 YEAR OLD RECORD
If Royler Gracie was the ruler of the featherweight division in the 1990’s and Rubens Charles the ruler of the 2000’s decade, there is little denying that Rafael Mendes has been in control of the 70kg category since 2010.
The “peso pena” world titles record was set by Royler in 1999, and though both “Cobrinha” and Rafa have managed to match Royler for world titles, none has surpassed it. As the 2015 brackets were defined two days ago, the duo seems set to meet again at the final, a final that will result in history regardless of who wins. There are, however, a few new black belts that will have their say in the matter and will certainly do their best to stop the legendary duo on their tracks.
BUCHECHA WANTS 4
The fact that this year the tournament will be missing out on a few of “Buchecha’s” main rivals (i.e. Rodolfo Vieira and Felipe Pena), seems to have left Almeida’s path clear for the taking, but don’t be mistaken. With monsters like Bernardo Faria, Keenan Cornelius, Leo Nogueira, Alexander Trans and Leandro Lo on the mats, this will be no walk on the park.
TRANS-ATLANTIC TO EUROPE
This year’s tournament seems set to bring great news for the non-Brazilian fans. After an incredible performance by the “The Four Horsemen” of jiu jitsu, AKA the US/European contingent at the Pan American Championship, the good form of the American and European athletes is set to continue. If Keenan Cornelius looks on paper as the strongest candidate to the heavyweight title, Alexander Trans seems determined to take the ultra-heavyweight gold. If he does, he will be the first European athlete to win the “Mundial” in the men’s adult black belt division… And yes, he has to go through Marcus Almeida to do so. This may seem unfeasible to some, but looking at Trans’ last two performances against the open weight world champion, it is not as far out of reach as some may think.
Michelle Nicolini set the record for the lightest adult black belt to have won an open weight title at black belt, adult in 2007. This was in a mixed division of brown and black belts. With Nicolini mentioning that she will not participate in this year’s open weight division, Mackenzie Dern seems set for the same goal, though this time in a “black belt only” division.