Every year, the entire jiu-jitsu community looks forward to seeing who will become the next world champion, especially at the black belt level. This year, the results are a blend of obvious answers but also a few surprises along the way.
No surprises here. We have almost the exact same results as last year, except Rafael Freitas from Gracie Barra is the new bronze medalist along with Ivaniel Oliveira who wins bronze again. But it’s Bruno Malfacine who is most impressive here, once again winning the title for a seventh time defeating Joao Miyao yet again in the finals (albeit in a controversial referee’s decision). But at this pace, it’s only a matter of time until Joao will win his title. Bruno will be a tough opponent to defeat, but without Caio Terra in the division for the time being, Miyao will dominate.
Without Guilherme Mendes in the picture, Paulo Miyao was able to reach his goal of becoming world champion. Although it’s always unfulfilling for fans to see the absence of the defending champion, it does not take away from Paulo’s achievement – although probably in his mind, he is wishing that he could show the world how he would do this year against Gui. This is a thought that every champion keeps in mind when they win the title; did they really take it away from the previously reigning champ? At the moment it looks like it won’t be happening any time soon, as Guilherme chose to retire and spend his time focusing on his gym and his soon-to-be-born baby.
No surprises here whatsoever. The exact same results as last year except we now witness the ascent of Gianni Grippo who placed third, replacing Alberto Paiva from 2014. Mario Reis joins Grippo for bronze and we see Rafa Mendes and Cobrinha battle it out in the finals again, with Rafa coming out on top by 6 points - Cobrinha couldn’t even score a point. However, considering the age gap between the two rivals, Cobrinha doesn’t cease to amaze me. Especially since he is turning 36 years old this year, which makes him 10 years older than Rafa.
Once again, experience dominates “youth”. Neither Michael Langhi nor Lucas Lepri are actually old, but considering they are both 30, it is impressive that they can stay on top and hold the youngsters at bay. Both Alliance members dominated the division and it was Michael Langhi’s turn to take the gold since Lucas Lepri won the division last year, so in a sense they are both 2015 world champions. I wish we could see the two face-off, but we won’t be seeing that outside their academy. JT Torres also makes a re-appearance at the podium as a bronze medalist, a drop from last year because of Michael Langhi’s performance.
Last year, Leandro Lo had won this division. But this year he decided to move up in weight, leaving the crown to this division wide open for the taking. Not surprisingly, Claudio Calasans took it, defeating GF Team’s Vitor Oliveira. Both these competitors are new to the podium this year, bumping down two veterans of the division, Otavio Souza and Victor Estima to bronze.