Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Mundials Black Belt/Faixa Preta Division Breakdown/Competitors

Can't wait for this.
Read it HERE at Graciemag.

With 18 competitors, the male black belt roosterweight features favorites Caio Terra and Bruno Malfacine and a little spice in the form of João Miyao, in his first Worlds as a black belt. There’s also strong contenders such as Fabio Passos, Milton Bastos, João Pedro Somália, Koji Shibamoto and Ivaniel Cavalcante.
In the lightfeather division, which gathers 32 athletes, Gui Mendes is going for his forth title in six years. This time, the biggest threat should be Paulo Miyao, also debuting as a black belt in the Worlds. Rafael “Barata” Freitas, Bernardo Pitel, last year’s champion Gabriel Moraes, Carlos Holanda, Samir Chantre and the Japanese battalion also make this one of the hardest light-feather divisions of all times.

Since 2009, they meet at this time of the year in the featherweight division of the Worlds. Rafael Mendes and Rubens Cobrinha, holders of seven titles, are once again in collision course in a bracket that adds up to 45 athletes. Last year’s champion, Augusto Tanquinho, kept his promise and did not register to dedicate to MMA. Nevertheless, two-time champion Mario Reis, debuting black belt Gianni Grippo and always dangerous Osvaldo Moizinho, Theodoro Canal, Denilson Pimenta and Leonardo Saggioro can easily create a lot of trouble for the favorites.

Leandro Lo climbed one weight division and will be competing as a middleweight in 2014. With that, the lightweight is another bracket lacking the 2013 champion. The truth is that it does not matter a bit once there are other 56 beasts hungry for gold. Michael Langhi, Lucas Lepri, JT Torres, Roberto Satoshi, Francisco Iturralde, Rodrigo Caporal, Philipe Della Monica and AJ Agazarm are all a guarantee that thrills will be abundant in the bracket. If all that was not enough, three-time world champion Celso Venícius decided to interrupt his BJJ retirement (he’s been more than active in MMA) and jump in once again.

With 67 athletes, the male black belt middleweight is an universe by itself. The sitting two-time champion Otavio Sousa will have to work the hardest he ever worked to keep his post. Completely adapted to the new weight, Leandro Lo wants his third gold medal in a row (he won in 2012 and 2013 as a lightweight). Claudio Calasans Jr, Lucas Leite, Victor Estima, Vitor Oliveira, Clark Gracie and Marcelo Mafra are the usual suspects to threat the two favorites.

Romulo Barral almost gave up competing in 2011, but changed his mind and came back stronger than ever. The 2013 champion is after his fifth title overall and third in a row in the Worlds. To get to that, Barral will have to fight through a jungle of 45 competitors in the medium-heavyweight division. GB’s teammate Braulio Estima is his ally for another close out, just like in 2013. Guto Campos, Keenan Cornelius, Murilo Santana and Renato Cardoso will do their best to prevent that from happening again.

The heavyweight division is liberated. After three years of complete domination, Rodolfo Vieira decided to go to super-heavy, an strategy to have more pressure against Marcus Buchecha in a possible face off in the open class division. Relieved, the 36 competitors will go at each other to see who comes out on top in the end. Andre Galvão stands out as a possible favorite, but is closely followed by strong names such as Rafael Lovato Jr, Jackson Sousa, Yuri Simões, Tarsis Humphreys, Luiz Panza, Tarcisio Jardim, Felipe Pena and Roberto Alencar.
The superheavy division has 18 competitors and Rodolfo Vieira. The three-time world champion (not counting the 2011 open class gold) is clearly the favorite here, but that doesn’t mean he will have any kind of easy path to the gold. Two-time world champion Bernardo Faria and world champion Leonardo Nogueira are the biggest stones in Rodolfo’s metaphorical shoe (once no one wear shoes in Jiu-Jitsu). Igor Silva, Gustavo Pires, James Puopolo and Lucas Sachs cans also present some kind of trouble for the favorites.

The ultra-heavy division has 27 competitors. Obviously, Marcus Buchecha is the man to be beaten, as he goes for his third title in a row. Rodrigo Cavaca will work hard to be in the final again with his pupil, just like last year. Alex Trans will also work hard to spoil the party and secure a place in the final. Abraham Messina, Ricardo Evangelista, Thiago Gaia and Bruno Bastos are in the mix and hope to be around Sunday, for the quarterfinals.

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