10 BJJ Up-And-Comers to Keep an Eye On
This is a list of some of the athletes that are sure to continue to make waves in their respected divisions, ranging from purple to black belt.
10. Marina Ribeiro (Checkmat)
Marina is the female prodigy from Fight Zone in Rio de Janeiro and received her black belt from Ricardo Vieira in only four years. Since then she has won several major titles including the Brazilian Nationals and European Open. Every year, Marina comes closer to her goal of being world champion and perhaps 2013 will be her year.
9. Marcio Andre (Nova Uniao)
Marcio Andre is a purple belt from the Nova Uniao academy in Bangu, a neighborhood in the Northern part of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Bangu academy has been successful in producing many of today’s younger top Nova Uniao athletes. Marcio Andre is world champion and has been facing both the Miyao brothers on a regular basis. As such, he is famous for finding several different ways of overcoming berimbolos. Still in his teens, we can expect some fireworks from the young Andre, so keep an eye out for him in 2013, probably in the brown belt division.
8. Roberto Satoshi (Bonsai)
Roberto is a black belt under Adilson de Souza, part of the lineage of George Gracie, a younger brother of Carlos Gracie. Satoshi had shown great promise at brown belt and now continues to do the same at black having won the European Open in 2012. He was unable to conquer the title at the World’s this year, but it’s possible that in 2013 he may take what he wants so very badly, that world title.
7 & 6. Paulo & Joao Miyao (Cicero Costha)
These two Japanese-Brazilian twin brothers have been the talk of the purple, and now brown belt, divisions because of their aggressive ‘berimbolo’ attacks. Along with the Mendes brothers, these twins have almost single handedly popularized the berimbolo techniques. Now, both competitors are in the brown belt division and it seems that their constantly evolving style is working well for them. Watch out for the Cicero Costha athletes to continue to do damage in the lighter divisions next year.
5. Yuri Simoes (Checkmat)
Yuri is another promising heavyweight fighter from Ricardo Vieira’s Checkmat academy in Rio de Janeiro. Now residing in Australia, Yuri is already a very decorated athlete, having won world titles at purple and brown belt. He has also already won the Pan American championship at black belt. Hopefully still training hard in his new home in Australia, he can continue to amaze us.
4. Felipe Preguica (Gracie Barra)
It is a surprise that this BJJ athlete is still even a brown belt. Having won the world championship at brown belt already, Felipe “Preguica”, meaning “laziness” in Portuguese, also fought to a draw with lightweight world champion (at black belt), Leandro Lo at the Copa Podio event held in Rio de Janeiro. The two top athletes are due for a super-fight rematch in January at the same event. But it is already clear that he will be a force to be reckoned within the black belt division, a belt he already deserves and will probably receive from Draculino after his rematch with Lo set for January 2013 at Copa Podio again.
3. Jackson Souza (Checkmat)
A brown belt from Ricardo Vieira’s checkmat gym in Rio de Janeiro, Fight Zone, Jackson holds a lot of promise for the future. As one of the top brown belts in Brazil, there has been a demand to see what he is capable of against the rest of the international competition, including other Brazilians in the USA and Keenan Cornelius, which has been a fight that Lloyd Irvin has been promoting quite a bit.
2. Keenan Cornelius (Lloyd Irvin)
This Lloyd Irvin prodigy has shown great promise so far. After one year of no title wins as a purple, Keenan had turned things around and propelled himself to the top ranks of the purple division (winning every major IBJJF title) and brown division. Now with the promotional power of his teacher, Lloyd Irvin, Cornelius will be put in the spotlight to do some amazing things in the near future and represent the American side of BJJ.
1. Michel Langhi (Alliance)
Michel Langhi is the younger brother of BJJ phenom, Michael Langhi. The Cobrinha black belt has a bright future ahead of him since, so far, he has conquered a world title at every belt division, except black. He has won a world title every two years and if his track record keeps up, he should be taking a title home in 2013.