The legend Marcus Buchecha will be fighting for his fifth absolute gold this Sunday. Meanwhile Leandro Lo has reached his first absolute final — before, he had been stopped by injury, Bernardo Faria or some other hurdle.
While you decide which of the two stars you’re rooting for, how about looking at how they each reached the final?
Unlike in recent years, this has not been an absolute division with a world champion in every corner. That’s the case because André Galvão, Romulo Barral, Felipe Preguiça and more opted to fight only in their weight classes. On just two pages the IBJJF printed the open division’s brackets — half as many as the usual.
Leandro Lo entered the fight area first, and scored an economical 2-0 over Danny Guy. Then he met in a quarterfinal João Gabriel Rocha, who had passed Nicholas Meregali’s guard. Lo swept Rocha for another 2-0 win, although this time he had to hustle to survive incessant attacks. Meanwhile, Luiz Panza was having a perfect fight against Bernardo Faria, pulling to the open guard early, sweeping the 2015 absolute champion and scoring an advantage at the very end to reach the semifinals (4-4 on points).
In their semifinal encounter, Lo had to get around the guard and locks of Panza, his old colleague from events in Sao Paulo, like Copa Podio. Lo did what he had to: he masterfully passed the guard, scoring three points. Close to the end he yielded two points, but got through to the final — nothing fancy, but lots of technique involved.
Marcus Vinicius “Buchecha” Almeida started out at full force. With a fire-spitting demeanor, the Checkmat teacher first submitted Igor Tigrão on the arm, following a scramble and some different attacks attempted. Next up was Mahamed Aly, who had beaten Matheus Diniz 7-0 in a tough fight. Buchecha hugged super-heavyweight Aly’s waist, took him down and landed almost on the back. After scoring eight points, Buchecha choked him.
His semifinal match was against Erberth Santos. Santos had first beaten Roberto Cyborg by one advantage in an exciting bout. He had then defeated Tanner Rice 2-0 (clearly Rice is a tough opponent, but there was the impression that no one wanted to get too tired).
And then came Buchecha and Santos’s semifinal, the most eventful match from Saturday. Erberth was more alert at the beginning, and shook Buchecha, even throwing him off the mat and into the ad banners. Buchecha came back with a vengeance, stapled Santos and threw him to the ground. Santos tried his best not to allow him to stabilize, but Buchecha was swifter and landed on half-guard. From that point the action subsided, and Buchecha secured a spot in another final, against a Leandro Lo who will be debuting in the biggest fight of the BJJ season.
Who will win this one? Don’t forget to let us know what you think.
Tayane beats Bia in the women’s absolute
Tayane Porfírio confirmed her position as favorite by securing her spot in the final with two finishes and then a win over Bia Mesquita by 4 advantages to 1 (2-2 on points).
This has been a tournament full of surprises, like Mackenzie Dern’s first-round elimination at the hands of Venla Luukonen, who scored 5-0.
Nathiely Jesus will be Porfírio’s opponent in the final. Nathi looked unstoppable from the get-go, beating Amanda Loewen 20-4. Then she scored eight points to Monique Elias’s six, and in a semifinal she beat Jéssica Flowers 2-0.