2016 Worlds: most stacked black belt division in years features almost all the big names and a few surprises

The Long Beach Pyramid at the 2014 Worlds
The Long Beach Pyramid at the 2014 Worlds

The final deadline for the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu came and went. The black belt division is one of the most stacked in recent years. Almost all the big names are there, both men and women, and the list also shows a few surprises.

This Wednesday, May 25, was the day athletes could change their divisions or request their removal from the list. This Thursday, May 26, will be the time for Team leaders to make changes.

The registration check day is May 28. The brackets are scheduled to come out May 31st.

Here are a few interesting numbers after the deadline.

There are 194 male black belts registered, against 52 female black belts, totaling 246. The most populated male black belt division is the middleweight, with 34 names. The least populated male black belt division is the roosterweight, with 14 athletes.

In terms of names, the black belt division will feature almost all of the greatest competitors currently active. Rodolfo Vieira, now devoting himself to MMA and training at ATT in Florida, is the most notable name not on the list. Alexandre Ribeiro, seven times world champion and heavyweight gold medalist in 2015, is also out.

Another name not on the list is Mario Reis, in what would be his first absence since 2000. Mario has placed at least in third place at the Worlds since 2003, as a black belt. In the female division, Luanna Alzuguir and Ana Laura Cordeiro are the two most notable names not on the list.

Other than that, everybody is in, making the 2016 Worlds one of the most talent-stacked of recent years.

Bernardo Faria at the 2015 Worlds
Bernardo Faria at the 2015 Worlds

Rooster: Bruno Malfacine, Caio Terra and João Miyao (who just moved down from light-featherweight) lead the roosterweight pack, which also includes Koji Shibamoto, Ivaniel Cavalcanti, Washington Lima and Tiago Barros, among others.

Lightfeather: Paulo Miyao is after his second gold medal. Michael Musumeci, roosterweight champion at the 2016 Pan, decided to move up. Isaac Doederlein, Gabriel Moraes, Milton Bastos, Rafael Freitas and Hiago George are also in the mix. Gianni Grippo and Ary Farias moved down from featherweight to join the party. There’s nowhere to run.

Feather: Rafael Mendes and Rubens Cobrinha are once again the favorites in the featherweight division. It’s Rafa’s 8th appearance in the black belt division and he’ll be fighting for his 6th title. Cobrinha is in his 11th appearance and he’ll be trying to tie the title count with Rafa at 5. The problem for both is that the division also features Marcio Andre, Osvaldo Moizinho, Samir Chantre, Bruno Frazzatto and more.

Light: Friends and teammates Lucas Lepri and Michael Langhi will try once again close things out at the lightweight, but it won’t be easy. JT Torres has the company of Michael Liera, Mansher Khera, Kevin Mahecha, Roberto Satoshi, AJ Agazarm, Edwin Najmi, Rafael Barbosa to spoil Alliance’s plans.

Middle: Champion Claudio Calasans Jr has 33 hungry opponents looking for his place on the top of the podium. Otavio Sousa,Yago Souza, Jon Satava, Dillon Danis, Vitor Oliveira, Gabriel Arges, Vitor Estima are the usual suspects. The division also features two surprising names. Lucas Leite is back to the weight class where he won his only world title, in 2007. Now a MMA fighter and usually a lightweight, Celso Venícius decided to enroll as a middleweight after a few years away.

Mike Musumeci
Mike Musumeci

Medium-heavy: In another incredibly stacked division, champion Leandro Lo will have to fight his heart out to keep the title. Romulo Barral is going for his 6th gold medal while Keenan is after his first. There’s also Tarsis Humphreys, Matheus Diniz, Guto Campos, Murilo Santana, Lucas Barbosa and Gregor Gracie, among others.

Heavy: Felipe Pena and Andre Galvão could repeat the 2014 final, but first they’ll have to pass by some serious competition. Erberth Santos, Tim Spriggs, Jackson Sousa, Cassio Francis, Lucas Rocha, among others, are in the mix for some pretty awesome action.

Superheavy: Bernardo Faria will also have to work hard to defend his gold medal from the competition. Teammate Leo Nogueira will be there to help and maybe get a close out, like they did in 2012. Luiz Panza, Lucio Lagarto, Igor Silva, Alex Ceconi, Guybson Sá and Rodrigo Cavaca will do their best to steal the spotlight.

Ultraheavy: Marcus Buchecha is back to reclaim his place at the top of the podium, which he kept from 2012 to 2014. Buchecha’s teammate Gabriel Lucas, last year’s champion, for sure will do his best to stay where he is. Alex Trans, Roberto Abreu, João Gabriel Rocha and Mahamed Aly, among others, make the 2016 ultraheavy one of the toughest of all times.


The women will for sure put on a great show once again. All the champions are back to defend their titles.

Rooster: Rikako Yuasa won the lightfeather last year and is now at the roosterweight. Fellow Japanese Kanako Inaba and Sofia Amarante are also in the mix.

Lightfeather: Gezary Matuda won at the Pan, but Kristina Barlaan won at the European. The rubber match could happen in Long Beach, but Ariadne Oliveira also wants a piece of the pie.

Feather: Mackenzie Dern wants her second gold medal, while Michelle Nicolini wants her 9th in her goodbye run at the Worlds. Tammi Musumeci is still after her first. The presence of the three, among others. makes the featherweight one of the strongest divisions.

Dominyka Obelenyte at the 2016 Pan
Dominyka Obelenyte at the 2016 Pan

Light: Bia Mesquita is the favorite to win her 5th gold medal at the weight class (her 7th in total). Sarah Black has been having great performances in the IBJJF open circuit and could be a big hurdle for Bia.

Middle: Another very stacked division includes Luiza Monteiro, Monique Elias, Shanti Abelha, Megan Nevill, among others. Luiza wants her second gold medal in a row, while Monique is still after her first one as a black belt.

Medium-heavy: Andresa Correa wants the grand slam and the gold medal at the Worlds is the only one missing after wins at the European, Pan and Brazilian Nationals. Sijara Eubanks is back after dedicating more to MMA in recent years. Leanna Dittrich and Gretchen Zoeller could also represent danger for Andresa.

 Heavy: Fernanda Mazzelli wants her third gold medal, but Vanessa Oliveira, Samela Lopes and Alison Tremblay will do their best to prevent that from happening.

Superheavy: Dominyka Obelenyte wants another double gold campaign, just like last year. The division used to feature the biggest surprise in the list. After being away for two years, now MMA fighter Gabi Garcia was registered to compete, but her name came out this Wednesday, May 25. World champion Talita Nogueira is now the biggest opponent to Obelenyte.

Click here to see the full list.

The coverage of the 2016 Worlds is brought to you by GAMENESS.

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