The European Jiu-Jitsu Championship reaches its 12th edition in 2015. To celebrate that, we have selected a dozen unforgettable moments that helped in the making of the event’s thrilling history. Let’s travel back in time. There’s still time for you to make the European 2015. Register here now.
1. Lucio Lagarto worked hard to have the honor of being the first black belt open class champion of the European, in 2004. The event debuted in Lisbon, at the same Caval Vistoso Gymnnasium of today, but only 300 athletes registered, in oposition to the almost 3000 expected to 2015.
2. In 2005, Roger Gracie and Ronaldo Jacaré met in Almada (the only year the event was not in Lisbon) only six months after the most famous BJJ match of all times, the 2004 Worlds black belt open class final, the armlock final. Roger said that he was there with the sole purpose of fighting Jacaré. The final result was a 2-0 Roger win, with a sweep.
3. Mario Reis was the name of 2006. To this day he is the lightest fighter to have ever won the black belt open class gold medal. And to do that, he defeated an ultra-heavy Victor Costa.
4. Braulio Estima won the first of his two black belt open class titles in 2007. The Gracie Barra star kind of had a team revenge over Xande Ribeiro, who had defeated Braulio’s teammate Roger Gracie at the 2006 Worlds, six months earlier.
5. Alexandre Souza taught an important lesson in 2008. The black belt open class champion defeated the much heavier Luiz Big Mac in the final and said: “You don’t fight a mountain, you climb it”.
6. In 2009 Braulio Estima and Alexandre Souza battled for the honor of becoming the first athlete with two black belt open class gold medals. Braulio came out on top after a tough match. He still holds the title of only two-time open class champion.
7. Another “magrinho”(thin guy) to steal the show in the black belt open class division was Guto Campos, in 2010. He faced Rodrigo Cavaca in the final and despite the weight difference (middleweight to ultra-heavy) caught the opponent with a triangle for the gold. Also in 2010, the European was honored with the return of Fabio Gurgel to the adult division. The General fought and won the heavyweight division.
8. Now a UFC star, Sergio Moraes also had his moment in Lisbon. In 2011, Serginho lost the medium-heavy gold to Braulio Estima, but came back in the open class, with a win over Claudio Calasans Jr.
9. In January 2012, Rodolfo Vieira was the man of the moment in Jiu-Jitsu, once he had dominated the 2011 season. He consolidated his dominance in Portugal with two golds, in the heavyweight and open class.
10. In 2013, the black belt open class had no final match, once Bernardo Faria and Leo Nogueira closed out the division. The thrill was brought on by the brown belt open class final, when Keenan Cornelius defeated João Miyao with a last minute ezequiel choke.
11. The European 2013 was the setting for one of the most thrilling moments in recent Jiu-Jitsu history. The crowd was brought to its feet when Alan Nascimento gave Fernando Tererê his old black belt back. The very belt Tererê sold to him years before to buy drugs and Nascimento said he would return the belt once Tererê got back to his feet and competing again.
12. Alex Trans made history in 2014 when he became the first Europe-born black belt to win the male adult open class in Lisbon. After the feat, he dismissed it: “I train with Brazilians, I spend a lot of time in Brazil. I don’t give that much importance for being born in Europe,” said the Danish.