"At rooster weight: Caio Terra (CTA), Bruno Malfacine (Alliance), Fabbio Passos (Alliance), João Pedro (Checkmat), Koji Shibamoto (Tri-Force) and Jorge Nakamura (GFTeam)."
- Fabbio Passos has slowly looked more and more competitive against Caio Terra over the years, some quick back take to RNC losses not withstanding and at the previous American Nationals (I think it was) he actually stayed even with Caio for much of the match until a rolling back take semi-out of bounds and a restart. It's hard to think that Bruno won't come out on top, especially considering the departure of some of Caio's top flight guys (Moizinho among others).
"At light featherweight: Paulo and João Miyao (Cícero Costha), Bernardo Pitel (Nova União), Mark Ramos (Ricardo Rey BJJ) and Yoshihiko Matsumoto (Carpe Diem)."
- Miyao brothers close out is the only bet here.
"Featherweight: Mário Reis (Alliance), Leonardo Saggioro “Cascão” (BTT), Fabio Caloi (Alliance), Victor Genovesi (Alliance), Gianni Grippo (Alliance), Mayko Araújo (Checkmat), Kim Terra (CTA), Gustavo Dantas (Nova União) and Nicollas Welker (Ryan Gracie)."
- Without the brothers Mendes this divisions looks good for stalwart Mario Reis but I'm looking forward to a tough final with Reis and Grippo. I'm interested to see the division play out without the brothers Mendes, but part of me is kinda blase about it at the same time. Other than the Rickson Cup, I haven't gotten to watch two of the best Jiu-Jitsu competitors.....compete......for about a year. My one main detracting point for Sport Jiu-Jitsu is that other than PPV events (which are growing like Metamoris et cetera, the Eddie Bravo Invitiational 3 this month), our sporting calendar is the Spring with the Pans, Abu Dhabi Pro, and the Worlds in a 2 month span and the ADCC every other year.
"Lightweight: Michael Liera (Atos), Luan Carvalho (Nova União), Andris Brunovskis (Atos), JT Torres (Atos), Gabriel “Palito” Rollo (Checkmat), Rodrigo Caporal (Atos), Juan Kamezawa (Alliance), Rodrigo Freitas (GB) and AJ Agazarm (GB)."
- Michael Lieira debuts at black belt at the Pans in a very tough division with guys like Caporal, Brunovskis (who has quickly picked up steam and notable wins this year) but AJ Agazarm is always a tough draw and I see Agazarm taking 3rd, with a toss up between either Lieira or Brunoskis assuming they fight it out. Lieira completely dusted the Worlds and the Pan at brown belt, but as we all hear, the jump to black belt can be a whole different game.
"Middle weight: Leandro Lo (Cícero Costha), Otavio Sousa (GB), Vinicius Marinho (GFTeam), Magid Hage (GB), Victor Silvério (GFTeam), Francisco Sinistro Iturralde (Alliance), Felipinho Cesar (Barbosa), Fabio Pulita (Alliance) and Tanner Rice (Rice Bros)."
- Super excited for this division as Leandro continues to crush it, Otavio Sousa has swept back and forth with Leandro and come close with some armlock via omoplata attempts, Vinicius Marinho is always in it, Magid Hage is always dangerous, Sinistro is actively competing, Tanner Rise has wins over big names in the sport, and Victor Silverio is one of the black belts who has really impressed me since his promotion to Faixa Preta. This division is in my humble opinion one of the toughest throughout from one end of the bracket to the other.
It's almost impossible to not think Leandro won't take it, but with Marinho, Silverio and others, the quarter and semi-finals are anyone's guess.
"Middle heavy: Keenan Cornelius (Atos), Renato Cardoso (Alliance), Guto Campos (Atos), Murilo Santana (Barbosa), Thiago Sá (Checkmat), Rodrigo Fajardo (GB), Inácio Neto (GB) and Abmar Barbosa (Zenith)."
- Super excited for the possibility of a Murilo Santana/Keenan final (rematch of sorts) with Renato Cardoso and Abmar Barbosa always dangerous.
"Heavyweight: Lucas Leite (Checkmat), Felipe “Pé de Pão” (Alliance), Marcelo “Lapela” (Checkmat), Lucas Rocha (GB), Alexandro Ceconi (Ceconi Team) and Jurandir Vieira (G13)."
"Superheavy: Léo Nogueira (Alliance), Bernado Faria (Alliance), Eduardo Telles (Nine), Erberth Santos (TLI-Guigo), Yuri Simões (CTA), and João Assis (Checkmat)."
-The team that I dare not speak its named has Erberth Santos who has been making noise since his move to black belt, but Leo Noguiera, Bernardo Faria, and Erberth Santos along with Yuri and Joao are each and every one very tough draws. Faria's game has triumphed against virtually everyone but Rodolfo and/or Buchecha and it's tough to think he won't do so here, but Yuri Simoes has been putting in work at black belt and with youth on his side, he might have enough flex and bust out to catch Faria down the stretch as a few others have from time to time.
"Ultra heavy: João Gabriel Rocha, Alex Trans (UAE), James Puopolo (Ribeiro JJ), Abraham Marte (GFTeam), Gabriel “Fedor” Lucas (Checkmat), Bruno Bastos (Bruno Bastos BJJ Midland), Marcelo Tarso (Atos) and Léo D’avila (Atos)."
-Another division full of tough, active competitors, Rocha, Trans, Marte, Bastos et all make this another division to watch. I have to choose Trans in this division based on how competitive he's been against the very best in the world of the big men.
Gabi Garcia (Alliance), Michelle Nicolini (Checkmat), Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaitá), Tami Musumeci (ATT), Angélica Galvão (Atos), Bia Mesquita (Gracie Humaitá), Nyjah Easton (Lloyd Irvin), Monique Elias (Alliance) and Luiza Monteiro (Cícero Costha)."