Out of all the tournaments in the year, none receive the same amount of attention as the IBJJF world championships. What makes this championship unique is that fact that it’s an open competition - anyone can register and have a chance to be the world champion, unlike Abu Dhabi’s World Pro, that has trials from different parts of the world.
The big difference is that since only a select few grapplers can compete from Brazil in the World Pro, it cuts down on many other top competitors that could have competed in there. At the IBJJF worlds, there is no limit to the amount of Brazilians that can compete, so we see all the top competitors in one place – an exciting thought for BJJ fans. Here are some of the final results and their implications on the future of the championship rankings. These are for the black belt adult divisions.
Usually this division is a constant battle between Bruno Malfacine and Caio Terra. However, this year, Caio’s place was taken by, the young and feisty, Joao Miyao. The match was extremely close but Malfacine was able to scrape out the win to now have six titles under his belt – 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and now, 2014. In 2013 he had lost to Caio Terra.
This division had no surprises either. The finals showcased Gui Mendes of Atos and Joao’s twin brother, Paulo Miyao from Cicero Costha. This match was also close but Gui Mendes was able to come-out on top to win his fourth world title at black belt. However, it is clear that the Miyao brothers are already contending for the gold in their first year as black belts.
In this division we have one of the biggest champion rivalries in BJJ. Once again, we see Rafael Mendes and Cobrinha clash in the finals of the world championship. The match was a huge 50/50 position battle, but Rafael was able to squeeze the win. Now, Rafa is four-time world champion, just like his older brother, Guilherme. It is curious to know how many more times these two will run into each other in the finals. Although Cobrinha is over thirty years old, it doesn’t seem that he has any interest in really ever competing in the master divisions, especially since he is still so dominant.
In this division we do have a bit of a surprise this time. The lightweight division is always stacked with former world champs, and this time, Lucas Lepri was able to take the gold home after seven years since his last gold victory back in 2007. He had to defeat American JT Torres in the finals. The bronze medals went to his teammate Michael Langhi, also a former world champion, and young gun, Satoshi.
Another pattern here – defending champion Leandro Lo runs into Gracie Barra’s Otavio Sousa. Lo was again victorious and is now world champion again, three years in a row. Leandro Lo competes with such a high pace that very few competitors can keep up with it. He is the “Rush” St. Pierre of the jiu-jitsu world.
This division was all Gracie Barra and not a surprise when you take a look at the names involved. The division was cleaned out by non-other than the two men that have dominated that division for years, Romulo Barral and Braulio Estima – two house-hold names in the jiu-jitsu world. Romulo Barral was already four-time world champion prior to this tournament. He was champion in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Braulio Estima was a three-time champion prior to this championship with wins in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Since Romulo already has his four wins when they both won the division again the previous year, he conceded this year’s gold to his senior teammate, Braulio, to give them both four gold medals. Both champions are always in shape and ready for competition. We can expect to see them continuing to dominate this division for a few more year at least.
This division presented us with some new faces and champions. The finals showcased legend Andre Galvao versus newcomer Felipe “Preguica” from Gracie Barra. Andre Galvao was absent from the world championship the previous year and decided to go up in weight from his usual division of medium-heavy. Preguica is a Gracie Barra athlete that has been mainly competing in the lighter weight classes, especially in a league called Copa Podio in Brazil. We have seen Preguica push Leandro Lo to a draw when he was only a brown belt, a result of strong future promise. Preguica delivered on that promise by scraping out the point win over Andre Galvao in the heavy weight division. He had gained a tremendous amount of weight and really showed his talent – this is only his first year as a black belt! So not only did Estima and Barral put Gracie Barra on the map again for 2014, but Preguica added to the mix. Watch out for this guy for many years to come, he is only getting started.
Here we have another disruption of the flow of a division. Usually, Rodolfo Vieira competes at heavyweight. However this year, Vieira decided to avoid the weight cut and stay at his natural weight. This turned out to be bad news for defending champion Bernardo Faria who loses to Rodolfo on a regular basis when they face each other in the absolute division. The pattern stayed its course and Rodolfo Vieira was able to defeat Faria once again to now become a super heavyweight champion as well.
This is the division of the titans that has been dominated by one king for the past three years – Marcus “Almeida” Buchecha, a champion that is already showing that he will be one of the best of all-time. Buchecha is known for his uncanny speed and agility for a man of his size. This is something that gives him a huge advantage over opponents his size or even larger. It’s hard to see him slowing down in the distant future unless he chooses to pursue MMA like most top champions do.
There haven’t been any real surprises in the absolute division in the last three years. It’s always been a battle between rank number one and number two – Buchecha versus Rodolfo Vieira, and Bernardo Faria coming in as one of the bronze medalists. Buchecha was able to edge-out Rodolfo again this year. However, there was one addition to the mix, Keenan Cornelius, a middleweight who gave Buchecha a hard fight in the semi-finals. Keep an eye on Keenan to keep this momentum going in future contests.