Who will reign at the 2012 IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship?

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Four days away from the end of sign-ups for the 2012 Pan—the biggest and most familiar IBJJF tournament of all—and the stars are already sharpening up their claws at the main Jiu-Jitsu academies in the USA, Brazil and the rest of the world.

The stars are already coming together, at least on the list of confirmed participants. Check it out here, and get in the mood by watching a match from last year.

Besides plenty of action guaranteed to unfold between the promising talent in the base categories, the black belt division looks set to go off. The elite roosterweight contest is sure to be a show of sweeps and masterful technique, and there are no favorites. In the mix: Fabbio Passos (Alliance), Felipe Costa (Brasa Warrior International), Brandon Mullins (GB Texas), Joseph Capizzi (Renzo Gracie), Takahito Yoshioka (Tokushima BJJ) and Koji Shibamoto (Tri-Force). Will any other diminutive aces signing up at the last minute make things even rougher for them than they already are?

At light featherweight, the competition is even harder to digest, with the level akin to that of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship—and there are a bunch of world champions in there, too. The current one, Gui Mendes (Atos Jiu-Jitsu), will try to show why he’s still the favorite this year by overcoming the likes of Pablo Silva Santos (GB Texas), Bernardo Pitel (Nova União), Laércio Fernandes (Lotus Club), Francielio Costa (Alliance) and Henrique Costa e Silva (Marcelo Garcia), among others.

Featherweight features top dog Rafael Mendes (Atos) and another handful of handfuls. Though two-time world champ Rafa is the favorite, things may get nasty. Training away earnestly at his academy in Los Angeles, Rubens Cobrinha may join the mix in Irvine. Also threats to Rafa’s reign are Renan Borges (BTT), Justin Rader (Lovato) and Paulo Eduardo (GB Campinas) and more.

Rafael Mendes aquece antes de luta de Jiu-Jitsu no Houston Open 2012

Rafael Mendes warms up before match at 2012 Houston Open. Photo: Mike Calimbas.

The lightweight division deserves an entire day, to be sure Jiu-Jitsu fans don’t miss anything. But that being infeasible, don’t take your eyes off of Lucas Lepri (Alliance), Leandro Lo (Cicero Costha), Bruno Amorim (GB Texas), Rodrigo Caporal (Atos), Claudio Caloquinha (GB BH), Vinicius Marinho (GFTeam) and, last but not least, home nation sons Ryan Beauregard (BJJ Revolution) and Jonathan Torres (Lloyd Irvin). So who will tbe left with the throne once the dust settles?

Middleweight looks to be the second hairiest of the weight classes. With Claudio Calasans (Atos), Marcos Yoshio (Bonsai), Marcelo Lapela (CheckMat), Vitor Henrique (GFTeam), Jonatas Novaes (Brasa) and Clark Gracie (Carley Gracie) all in it to win it, the mats might not handle the pressure.

At medium heavyweight, Rômulo Barral (GB Northridge) has the difficult task of defending his post as divisional kingpin, facing at least 13 new values gnashing their teeth as they eye the gold, including Marco Antônio (CheckMat), Wancler Oliveira (GFTeam), Ben Baxter (Ribeiro JJ) and Oliver Geddes (Roger Gracie).


In what is so far a sparsely populated division, heavyweight has teachers Gustavo Pires (GB America) and Yuri Simões (CheckMat) as favorites, with Fabiano Leite (Alliance) and Daniel O’Brien (Solis) on their coattails.

Now the mission at superheavyweight is to put the brakes on Bernardo Faria (Alliance), something Antônio Carlos “Cara de Sapato” (CheckMat) and James Puopolo (Lovato) will do everything in their power to get accomplished.

At ultraheavyweight, two aces who may get up to no good in the absolute: Alexander Trans (CheckMat) and Ricardo Evangelista (GFTeam).

In the female tournament, the big stars are in, with Gabi Garcia, Hannette Quadros, Luanna Alzuguir, Sofia Amarante and Fabiana Borges all having put their names on the roster. In the absolute, expectations abound for a Gabi-versus-Hannette classic, in a repeat of their electrifying No-Gi final last year in Abu Dhabi.

Who are your favorites, gentle reader? Have you got the goods on anyone else who’ll be there but didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments field below.

And click here for further information and to sign up.

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