There are 2,642 competitors signed up for the 2012 Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, set to begin May 31 in California. That’s about 400 more than there were at the 2011 installment.
Three athletes have a shot at equalling the record set by Roger Gracie, the first and only black belt ever to win three absolute world titles, who will be absent from the contest due to a July 14 fight with Keith Jardine under the Strikeforce banner. The two-time absolute champions signed up for the 2012 Worlds are: Xande Ribeiro (heavyweight) and Rodrigo Comprido and Marcio “Pé de Pano” Cruz (both ultraheavyweights).
Though Rubens “Cobrinha” is a four-time world champion and Rafael Mendes has won it twice, the most riveting rivalry of the championship in Long Beach doesn’t have much of a tradition at the main Jiu-Jitsu event of the year. If both make it to the final, it will only be the second time Rafa and Cobrinha square off in the final of a World Championship. Their lone encounter in the tournament decider took place in 2010.
This year 357 black belts will take to the mats in the Long Beach Pyramid. May there be enough açaí to content them.
How many members of the Gracie family will join the mix at the 2012 Jiu-Jitsu World Championship? Our count has seven. They are: white belt Nayef Gracie Chamma, blue belt and tennis whiz Roggan Gracie, brown belt Ronis and black belts Clark, Kron, Kyra and Neiman Gracie Stambowsky.
It’s little wonder middleweight purple belt Keenan Kai-James Cornelius has legions of fans on Facebook and comments about him galore here on GRACIEMAG.com. The Lloyd Irvin student is gearing up for an historic achievement in 2012: to win his weight and the open-weight classes at all four of the main IBJJF tournaments on the same year: the Europeans, Pan, Brazilian Nationals and the Worlds. Not long ago Alexander Trans came close to achieving this particular Grand Slam. In 2011, as a brown belt, the Danish CheckMat product only missed out on producing the absolute title at the Brazilian Nationals.
The number of women competing at the Worlds went up as well. This year there are 374 of them. In 2010, to give you an idea of how much the division has grown, there were 176 ladies in the contest.
What do you say, is there any other statistic or curiosi