Thursday, December 5, 2013

IBJJ Pro League Picks/Prognostications wi/ Gianni Grippo

Gianni Grippo put up some insight as to his thoughts on the divisions at the IBJJ Pro League this upcoming Sunday, December 8th.

Caio Terra is out, with Samir Chantre taking his place in the bottom weight class division. That being said, with Caio not in it, I think it's Gabriel Moraes' division to win. The guy is an animal (went from blue to black in one year and still one the world championship in each belt class). I like Samir as he has some notable wins, but I don't see Samir, Barata, or Laercio beating him. I like Laercio a lot, and I watch his matches quite a bit, but he's always seemed lacking in the strength at that weight class, and Moraes is an animal.
I think Moraes takes this one and puts another feather in his cap in what I hope is a return to high profile competition.
"Of the four, the favorite looks to be Moraes, who is the current light-featherweight World champion and has two black belt World titles on his resume. Right behind Moraes, Fernandes surely stands as the second favorite. The 2012 Worlds runner-up to Guilherme Mendes has been steadily improving since he began training with Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles and doesn’t look to be slowing down."

I think Victor Estima is hard to ignore, but I also wonder how he'll fare against the heavier competitors. Oliveira has subbed some good guys and when he's on point, he is on point ala his win at the US Nationals by armbar in less than two minutes over AJ Agazarm. Agazarm is  new to black belt, but I've seen him in matches with long time black belts like Eduardo Telles and avoid danger for the most part. I think I still go with Estima to pull it out because he is crafty, as evidenced by his close battles with Kron and others.

Keenan and Jackson Souza will hopefully rematch in the Gi after their close/decision-ending match at the Five Grappling NoGi invitiational. Keenan took 2nd in the absolute at brown belt last year with Jackson taking 3rd (and a certain much smaller competitor winning it all).
I'll go with Keenan to win this one and in particular, make a splash against Tussa should they match up. Keenan looked good at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials against the likes of Magid Hage et al. His showing at the Copa Podio against the likes of Xande and Rodolfo also proves he can hang with heavier, elite level players.
" Last year, while Cornelius was still a brown belt and representing Lloyd Irvin, the young American defeated the veteran black belt to earn a trip to Abu Dhabi. Now, Tussa has his opportunity for revenge. However, if looking at favorites going in, many may see the final coming down to another Cornelius-Souza match-up."

Eduardo Telles is out and Joao Gabriel Rocha steps in against some monsters in his division with guys like Evangelista and Pe De Pano. I have to think Pe De Pano takes this one flat out.

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