Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship Preview

After taking a year off from doing any big tournament articles I got the pre-Pan excitement.  I am really looking forward to the tournament that seems to get bigger every year with each division getting more stacked from lower belts all the way through black belt.  Tournament info can be found here:

This preview will focus on divisions that interest me and/or I feel like I know enough about the competitors to make comments.

Brown / Adult / Male / Light Feather
2014 Champ - Andris Brunovskis (Atos)

This is actually a pretty stacked division with some exciting guys to watch and picking a winner is difficult.  Michael Musumeci, Ostap Manastyrski, Woolf Barnato, and Darson Hemmings are my personal favorites in this division.  Woolf came up short and finished second in 2014.

My prediction: Woolf Barnato (Ralph Gracie)

Brown / Adult / Male / Feather
2014 Champ - Fabio Caloi (Alliance)

Watch for Isaac Doederlein and Rick Slomba (Atos) will be big contenders.  Slomba is coming off a big year but Doederlein is likely to claim the title this year.

My pick: Isaac Doederlein (Alliance)

Brown / Adult / Male / Middle
2014 Champ - Dillion Danis (Alliance)

Marcelo Garcia protege has to be the favorite to reclaim his title this year.

Brown / Adult / Male / Medium Heavy
2014 Champ - Manuel Diaz (Brasa CTA)

Reigning champ Manny "Beats" Diaz was promoted to black belt late last year making way for some new blood this year.  Another Marcelo Garcia protege, Matheus Diniz (Alliance) will be a big favorite this year.  Don't overlook Cyborg's sutdent Hunter Ewald (Fight Sports) as he is a gamer. These two would make for a great final.

My pick: Matheus Diniz (Alliance)

Brown / Adult / Male / Super Heavy
2014 Champ - Erberth Santos de Mesquita (TLI)

Not familiar with many of the guys making up this division but one name stands out by a lot.

My pick: Jared Dopp (Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu)

Brown / Adult / Male / Ultra Heavy
2014 Champ - Pedro Henrique Moura (Ribiero Jiu-Jitsu)

This is a pretty small division with only 6 guys.

My pick: Ryan Sandhagen (Bruno Bastos Association)

Black / Adult / Male / Rooster
2014 Champ - Joao Rodrigues (CheckMat)

Seven competitors making up this division with Caio Terra returning after taking time off from health issues in 2014.  He will have his hands full on the tougher side of the bracket with Fabio Passos (Alliance) likely in the semi-final.  Bruno Malfacine (Alliance) has the easier path on the other side of the bracket.  I'm going to predict a Passos / Malfacine final here as I'm not sure how healthy Caio is these days.

My pick: Bruno Malfacine (Alliance)

Black / Adult / Male / Light Feather
2014 Champ - Paulo Miyao (PSLPB Cicero Costha)

We will be treated to both Miyao's competing in the Light Feather this year and thankfully on opposing sides of the brackets.

My pick: Paulo Miyao (PSLPB)

Black / Adult / Male / Feather
2014 Champ - Mario Reis (Alliance)

This is probably my favorite division every year.  The usual names are here minus Rafa Mendes, Tanquinho, and Cobrinha.  Make way for Vitor Paschoal (Brasa CTA), Osvaldo Moizinho (Gracie Fighter), Gianni Grippo (Alliance) and Davin Maxwell (Cassio Werneck BJJ).  My personal interest this year is to see how Gustavo Dantas (Nova Uniao) will fare competing with the younger guys.

My pick: Osvaldo Moizinho (Gracie Fighter)

Black / Adult / Male / Light
2014 Champ - Lucas Lepri (Alliance)

Usual favorites Lucas Lepri and Michael Langhi (Alliance) are not registered this year which should be a relief for the rest of the division.  That said there is a lot of talented guys which should make for an interesting watch.  Mario Reis (Alliance) has moved up a weight class, Jonathan Torres (Atos), Andris Brunovskis (Atos), Michael Liera Jr (Atos)...the list goes on.  Lots of Atos guys here are likely to make some noise.

My pick: Jonathan Torres (Atos)

Black / Adult / Male / Middle
2014 Champ - Leandro Lo (PSLPB Cicero Costha)

Reigning champ Lo is back again this year and will be the favorite as usual.  Otavio Sousa (Gracie Barra), Victor Estima (Gracie Barra), Magid Hage (Gracie Barra), Vitor Henrique Oliveira (GF Team), Tanner Rice (Amazonas), Sean Roberts (CheckMat) are just a handful of the superstars making up this group.

My pick: Leandro Lo (PSLPB)

Black / Adult / Male / Medium Heavy
2014 Champ - Gustavo Campos (Atos)

This will be a hotly contested division again with most of the big names returning including all of the medalists.  Keenan (Atos), Gustavo Campos (Atos), Abmar Barbosa (Zenith BJJ), Murilo Santana (Barbosa JJ)

My pick: Keenan Corneilius (Atos)

Black / Adult / Male / Heavy
2014 Champ - Yuri Simoes (Brasa CTA)

Yuri has moved up to Super Heavy this year making way for Lucas Leite (CheckMat), Marcelo Mafra (CheckMat), and Timothy Spriggs (TLI).

My pick: Timothy Spriggs (TLI)

Black / Adult / Male / Super Heavy
2014 Champ - Luiz Panza (Barbosa JJ)

Guys to watch are Yuri Simoes (Brasa CTA), Bernardo Faria (Alliance) Joao Assis (CheckMat), Eduardo Telles (Brasa CTA), and Erberth Santos de Mesquita (Guigo JJ).

My pick: Bernardo Faria (Alliance)

Black / Adult / Male / Ultra Heavy
2014 Champ - Andre Galvao (Atos)

First thing worth noting is no Galvao this year!  Luis Panza (Barbosa JJ) has moved up in weight. Bruno Bastos (Bruno Bastos Association) will give it a run again with the younger guys.  James Puopolo (Ribiero JJ) and Alexander Trans (UAE JJ Team).  An interesting note is that Joao Rocha (Soul Fighters) has just recovered from cancer and will be in this division.

My pick: Alexander Trans (UAE JJ Team)

Black / Adult / Female / Light Feather
2014 Champ - Andrea Encarnacion (Elite BJJ Redmond)

With only 4 women in this small division this is a pretty easy pick for me.  Michelle Nicolini (CheckMat) and Gezary Bandeira (ATT) are likely to meet in the finals.

My pick: Michelle Nicolini (CheckMat)

Black / Adult / Female / Feather
2014 Champ - Tammi Musumeci (ATT)

Tammi is making her first big stage showing since suffering an awful elbow dislocation at the 2014 Worlds.  I think we are likely to see a finals rematch with Mackenzie Dern and Musumeci (ATT).

My pick: Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaita)

Black / Adult / Female / Light
2014 Champ - Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita)

Texan Lora Hallock (Atos) will be making her first attempt as a black belt this year.  Fabiana Borges (Gracie Barra), Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita), Angelica Galvoa (Atos), and Nyjah Easton (TLI) will be heavily favored here.

My pick: Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita)

Wheeeeeeew that's about it.  If you want to watch the Saturday & Sunday portion of the live stream go here:

Tournament info:

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