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BJJ Fanatics Instructionals

Top Finishers In Jiu-Jitsu 2023

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Nicholas Meregali Instructionals

Another year, another epic jiu-jitsu season. This year, 2023, was marked by the soaring number of tournaments at an international level as the IBJJF, AJP, and ADCC locked horns to battle for who will lead the sport into its next step towards the mainstream. All three organizations put out quality tournaments across the globe regularly, with over 40,000 matches registered this year by BJJ Heroes. In this article we return to an exercise we’ve done over the past 9 years: To unveil the top submission artists in the sport.

Ranking Rules:

As in previous editions of our ranking, the rules of this little exercise are simple: Every athlete who achieved victory in a minimum of 14 grappling matches at a professional/high-level event was counted. What we mean by a professional-level tournament is any tournament/GP/super-fight promotion with talent depth similar to an IBJJF adult black belt style tournament. In past editions of the Top Finishers list we have only accounted for black belts in BJJ, but given how so many elite colored belts are regularly competing with black belts in the no-gi circuit (think Izaak Michell, Dan Manasoiu, Jozef Chen, Dorian Olivarez, etc, etc) we have decided to include these elite athletes in our maths, taking into account their matches at the professional level.

Previous Rankings:

If you want to check previous years of the Top Finishers ranking, please click on any of the dates below:

– 2015
– 2016
– 2017
– 2018
– 2019
– 2020
– 2021
2022

The following section is our finished Top Submission Competitors in jiu-jitsu for the past year.

TOP MALE FINISHERS IN BJJ, 2023

#10 HORLANDO MONTEIRO – 71% of wins via submission

Lots of changes in Monteiro’s life this year. Although he was once one of the most active players in the sport, a new baby, new gym, pro-MMA debut, and having moved to Hawaii have somewhat stifled his activity in jiu-jitsu’s competitive front. When he does compete, however, he always puts on a show. A gi specialist and one of the nastiest guard players in the sport, Monteiro has stacked up impressive wins in 2023, most of which by submission.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Mateus Rodrigues
– Rafael Anjos
– Clay Mayfield
– Ronaldo Junior

#9 JAVIER BARTER – 73% of wins via submission

One of the most exciting additions to the jiu-jitsu circuit this year was Javier Barter of Panama. The Fernando Moya Jiu-Jitsu representative has quickly gained his space among fans of the sport thanks to his dynamic style. Barter is the type of athlete who will give one to take one, exposing himself to unpredictable scrambles which he’s used to his advantage numerous times this year against the elite of the sport with very solid numbers.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Enderson Dias
– Santeri Lilius
– Patrick Gaudio
– David Garmo

#8 ERICH MUNIS – 74% of wins via submission

The Pride and Joy of team Fratres is Erich Munis, one of the most exciting competitors in the super-heavyweight division. Although the majority of athletes on this list compete in both gi & no-gi (exceptions made to Corbe, Couch, & Porfirio), Munis competes exclusively in the gi ruleset where he’s been a dominant force, holding 3 world titles to his credit.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Guilherme Augusto
– Felipe Costa
– Davi Cabral
– Guilherme Lambertucci

#7 GABRIEL BROD – 77% of wins via submission

A newcomer to the black belt division and a straight ankle lock specialist, Brod hit the ground running since he was promoted by his instructor, Felipe Preguica, this year. Gabriel has competed exclusively on the Brazilian circuit thus far, where he conquered 26 wins, 20 of those being finishes. We are excited to see what the future holds for the Gracie Barra product in 2024, particularly as he ventures into the top international events.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Kaue Damasceno
– Julio Arantes

#6 DEANDRE CORBE – 79% of wins via submission

Although still a very young man, Corbe is a veteran of the game with well over 100 matches in the black belt division alone and wins over the best in the business. Despite going on his 6th year in this pro category, the Standard Jiu-Jitsu representative shows no signs of slowing down in the no-gi circuit, quite the contrary as shown by the tremendous year he had on the mats in 2023.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Danilo Moreira
– Joshua Murdock
– Dominic Mejia

#6 NICHOLAS MEREGALI – 79% of wins via submission

In our opinion, Meregali has the most impressive record of 2023. Despite not competing as often as we would like him to – as fans of his work – whenever he did compete this year, he did so against the very best of the best in the gi and no-gi ruleset. World Champions, Pans Champions, European Champions, ADCC Champions, Nicholas beat them all and submitted most in his path. Another amazing period in this young man’s career, the sky is the limit in 2024.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Kaynan Duarte
– Gutemberg Pereira
– Roberto Jimenez
– Pedro Marinho
– Felipe Pena

#5 JACOB COUCH – 84% of wins via submission

One of the most fun guard players in the game, The Hillbillly Hammer made his reputation in the lower ranks of the sport as one of the most submission-oriented competitors out there. It is good to see the trend has carried over to his black belt career, with no shortage of big names on his portfolio of submission victims. A very impressive year for Couch who had an even submission rate of 50% of his finishes coming from lower limb attacks and another 50 from upper body ones. Dangerous and versatile.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– David Garmo
– Elder Cruz
– Jacob Rodriguez

#4 ANDRE PORFIRIO – 85% of wins via submission

Another straight ankle lock specialist on this list, Andre Porfiro did not compete in any major tournament this year with most of his wins coming from submission-only style tournaments such as Midwest Finishers, True North, ADCC Open, and other organizations where he was able to apply his submission-oriented style with great success. Despite going through some turbulence in his career with a team change, this was one of his best years since reaching the black belt level, nearly 3 years ago.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– n/a

3# MICA GALVAO – 86% of wins via submission

Without a doubt, one of the biggest stars and biggest draws in the sport is the Manaus phenom, Mica Galvao, who continues to epitomize forward-moving jiu-jitsu in the best possible way. Although always fun to watch, unlike what happened in previous years, we didn’t see Galvao compete in the biggest tournaments of the season. BJJ Stars was the only real upper-echelon challenge Mica took in 2023 with the majority of his wins this year coming against unranked athletes.

Mica competes in one of the most exciting divisions in our sport with athletes like Tye Ruotolo (gi & no-gi), Kade Ruotolo (no-gi), Jozef Chen (no-gi), Jansen Gomes (gi), and Tainan Dalpra (gi), all matchups we are dying to see in 2024.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– PJ Barch
– Kody Steele
– Alexandre Jesus

#2 DAN MANASOIU – 88% of wins via submission

Although Big Dan is not yet a black belt and many of his wins have taken place in ADCC Opens against lower belt competitors, he has also competed against quite a few of the top-ranked no-gi athletes in the world this year with great success in elite tournaments such as the ADCC Trials, in both Europe and the USA, as well as good wins in the UFC Fight Pass Invitational & ADXC, therefore he is more than qualified to be included in this type of list alongside the elite of the sport. Daniel Manasoiu is one of the most successful athletes in the sport with the Smother submission (also known as Mothers Milk), with tens of these submissions on his record this year alone.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Francisco Lo
– Declan Moody
– Damon Ramos

#1 ROBERTO JIMENEZ – 93% of wins via submission

A spectacular year for Roberto “The Natural” Jimenez, an athlete who competed extensively this year and came out of his shell in 2023 with one of the best years – if not the best year – of his career. Roberto placed as the #1 no-gi grappler of the year in our BJJ Heroes rankings (check here) and did it while also being the #1 finisher in the sport at the top level, proving you can be in the elite and reach the top of the sport without the use of PEDs, while also being the most exciting athlete on the planet. An ambassador of the sport in a wide range of topics, no doubt.

Roberto won double medals at top-level events such as the IBJJF World No-Gi Championships (silver & gold), London Open (gi & no-gi), Blue Collar Invitational, and many more while submitting all but one athlete in his wins this year.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Roosevelt Sousa
– Tarik Hopstock
– Heikki Jussila
– Vinicius Trator

TOP FEMALE FINISHERS IN BJJ, 2023

#5 JULIA ALVES – 74% of wins via submission

An epic year for the GFTeam powerhouse, Julia Alves, who conquered the World Pro and other important tournaments of the AJP circuit while always displaying fun-to-follow, forward-moving jiu-jitsu, heavily reliant on omoplata attacks and armbars.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Gabriela Pereira
– Jaine Fragoso
– Maria Luiza
– Larissa Martins

#4 JASMINE ROCHA – 75% of wins via submission

For the second year in a row, our ranking of top submission artists in the female division is Rocha, with a substantially better record than before. Rocha benefited from competing mostly in smaller ADCC Opens where divisions are compiled by lesser-known athletes (mostly colored belts), nevertheless, Rocha did make it through to the ADCC Trials final, which places her in the top tier of the sport.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– n/a

3# GABRIELI PESSANHA – 81% of wins via submission

The most dominant athlete ever seen in the female division, Gabrieli Pessanha conquered the Grand Slam with the kimono this year in both her weight class and the open weight class. A dominance that also earned the young Rio de Janeiro native an incredible 81% submission rate.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Maria Malyjasiak
– Yara Soares
– Thalyta Silva
– Elisabeth Clay
– Sabatha Lais

#2 THAMARA FERREIRA – 85% of wins via submission

As entertaining as it gets, Thamara Ferreira has built a career as one of the most exciting athletes to follow in the sport. Always fearless, and always looking for the finish, Ferreira’s overall submission rate is over 60% and this year she outdid herself in that department with 85%. A hit list that included many big names in the sport.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Raquel Canuto
– Leticia Cardozo
– Elizabeth Mitrovic
– Mayara Custodio

#1 ADELE FORNARINO – 87% of wins via submission

One of the breakthrough stars of 2023, Adele Fornarino made it through to the Pound-4-Pound #3 ranked best female no-gi by BJJ Heroes (check here) but her reach in greatness went beyond submission-wrestling and well into the major leagues of the sport with the gi as well with 6 submissions in this ruleset as well as a medal at the Brazilian Nationals. Adele beat many of the sports’ top featherweights and is currently the most successful Australian competitor on the international circuit.

TOP NAMES WON VIA SUB IN 2023
– Alexa Yanes
– Jessica Crane
– Heather Morgan
– Ashley Bendle

Cover photo taken by Bane Visnjic, @banejitsu on Instagram (click here to follow)

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