The Pan Jiu-Jitsu championship is one of the most thrilling events of the year for a reason.
Every edition brings unbelievable experiences both for athletes and the crowd.
With the best in the business going at it full throttle on the mats, it’s easy to witness awesome things happen.
With the final deadline to sign up for the 2016 Pan nearing (March 8), it’s time to look back and remember 5 of these unbelievable things that happened at the Pan.
Here we go.
1. No one touched Monique Elia’s injured ankle
Last year, Monique Elias was beating Tammy Griego 10-0 in the black belt open class quarterfinal when she made the mistake of crossing her ankles while on back mount. The ankle lock applied by Tammy left Monique screaming in pain and most probably out of commission for weeks. Tough as nails, Elias was back in action the day after for her weight division. She had a very noticeable limp and heavy bandage left foot. It was clear that she would not be able to resists even a light pressure on that foot. Even so, not one of her three opponents attacked her ankle in a impressive showing of sportswomanship. Brave and talented, Monique was able to make her way to the final and win the middleweight title. Luiza Monteiro, Monique’s opponent in the final, summed up why no one touched the badly injured ankle:“ I wanted to beat her at her best. I wanted to pass her guard and tap her; I didn’t want to go after her foot. That would not prove I’m better than her.” Monique was thankful, but also a bit in disbelief:“Fortunately I had three matches with three people of great character, which did not attack my foot. I thought that was a very noble act by them. It was an indescribable feeling!”
2. Bruno Paulista could be dead, but instead he returned to competition at the 2015 Pan
Black belt Bruno Paulista, aka Mamute, was a a true talent and one of the most active competitors of his generation, both in Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. He was also the leader of Mamute Jiu-Jitsu, in Anaheim, California. Then, on April 23, 2010, a slippery road in Florianopolis, Brazil, changed his life. Paulista hit his car and his head on a light pole. When he got to the hospital, the doctors gave him a 30% chance of survival. Even so, he pulled through and after 5 years of recovery, including physical therapy and reconstructive surgeries, on March 14, 2015 Mamute was back competing again. later on, he talked about the experience: “Saturday was a very special day for me. I didn’t win the Pan Ams but I won in my life. It was a big victory to be back competing after my car accident and I am really proud to have amazing family and friends. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my girlfriend Jessica Schumacher, my mom Angela Paulista, my brother Hugo Paulista, and Jeff Rohn. I want to thank everyone that helped me to get ready: all my students, and the black belts Magno Almeida, Ricardo Testai, Renato Sobral, and Jorginho Closel.”
3. The match Milton Bastos had to win twice in 2014
The adult male black belt roosterweight semifinal between Milton Bastos (Brasa CTA) and Ivaniel Oliveira (Checkmat) was nerve-racking. The drama started early on, when Milton caught Ivaniel in a tight triangle. Referee Andre Glodzinski was paying close attention to the defense attempt by Ivaniel and at one point he was convinced that the Checkmat athlete had lost conscience, which meant the fight was over. Glodzinski stopped the match and to his surprise, Ivaniel was wide awake and saying he did not tap. “I saw his legs relaxing and was sure he had slept, so I stopped the match. Thinking back, I should have checked Ivaniel’s legs closely before stopping it. The thing is that the fight prior to that one ended with one of the athletes cold out and my action was to preserve his physical integrity” explained Andre. The solution for the mistake came in the form of two points for Milton and the restart of the match at the point it was interrupted.
The problem for Bastos was that he went from submitting his opponent to being in deep waters soon after. As soon as the match restarted, Ivaniel went for it and passed Milton’s guard. Now behind in the scoreboard, Milton kept playing guard and almost had another triangle choke in place. Ivaniel escaped and almost got Milton’s back with less than one minute left. That’s when things got unreal. With the clock running out, Milton escaped the back attack and rolled on top to attack Ivaniel’s back himself. First he put the hooks to score 4 points and then went for the neck. With seconds to the end, Ivaniel did what he didn’t do in the beginning and tapped three times. Bastos’ celebration came out with the intensity that only those who have to win twice the same match can reach. He tried to put it into words: “Gosh, it’s hard to explain! It was a relief from the frustration of having the match restarted. This frustration quickly became joy when I tapped him again. I didn’t even know how much time left we had and all I heard was my coaches Samir Chantre and Osvaldo Moizinho telling me to put the hooks in to win. I did that, but I also felt that my hand was deep in his collar and all I wanted was to submit him again.”
4. Braulio Estima won weight and absolute with 7 submissions in 7 matches in less than 6 minutes on the mats
Braulio Estima still holds dear his performance at the 2003 Pan. At the brown belt division, he fought seven times and finished all of his seven opponents. After it was over, he checked the match and found out that he had spent less than 6 minutes on the mats, or exactly 5:24, an average of 46s per match. “It was one of the best competitions I ever fought in. I could not believe my eyes!” said Braulio years later.
5. The year Marcelinho came to watch, but ended up winning the middleweight division
In 2007, Marcelo Garcia travelled from New York to California just to watch his students and Alliance teammates compete. Focused on the ADCC, that would happen months later, he was not planning to compete in the gi. Even so, Fabil Gurgel put some good pressure on his golden boy and MG agreed to compete. Bad news for the athletes in the middleweight division, who had to endure one of the best of all times putting to test a armbar from the crucifix he had been training. Garcia’s gold medal helped Alliance to conquer the adult division that year.
Don’t forget to register for the 2016 Pan. The final deadline is March 8, so you need to hurry.
Click here to sign up now.