GRACIEMAG.com isn’t a betting site, but more often than not it’s right on the money when predicting Jiu-Jitsu’s future champions. In 2010, we pointed out a team of fighters. Click here to see who we ponied up on. With 2011 only just beginning, we decided to stick our neck out once again and pick ten names we’ll be reading all too much about on the site and in the magazine. Did we forget anyone? Comment below!
10 – Marcio André
The kid is a product of Fabio Andrade’s goodwill project in Rio de Janeiro’s Bangu neighborhood. Still a juvenile, Marcio has been ravaging all the opponents he’s encountered at big tournaments like the Brazilian Nationals, where he won the absolute, and the Brazilian Team Nationals, among other events. The promising young Nova União rep also qualified for the World Pro at the Rio de Janeiro tryouts, beating opponents in the adult division.
9 – Denílson Bischiliari
The Atos light featherweight tends to make it to the podium at all the competitions he is party to. In late 2010, in Natal, he secured a spot in the blue belt division of the Abu Dhabi World Pro. Yet another wicked ground wizard to come from the “cauldron” in Rio Claro?
8 – Christian Broadnax
The student of our GMA Gustavo Dantas at Nova União Arizona, Christian Broadnax will likely keep up his title-winning ways at purple belt. At the last Pan, while still a blue belt, he won both his weight and the open weight divisions. Along with him comes his twin brother, Christopher Broadnax, who is also a Pan 2010 champion.
7 – Mackenzie Dern
Like father, like daughter. That’s what Mackenzie Dern has been proving, with her black belt father Wellington Megaton. While still a blue belt, Mackenzie won the World Championship among other events. At the same tournament, the featherweight took second in the absolute. Already at purple belt, Dern showed she can even stand up to black belts, having lost only to the seasoned Michelle Nicolini at the World Pro tryouts in Lisbon.
6 – Marcelo Tarso
Recently promoted to purple belt by Master Guto Campos, Marcelo Tarso is the surrent superheavyweight blue belt world champion. In 2010, he also did well at the World Pro, taking second place. He’s another who should be a handful at his new rank.
5 – Mateus Luckerman
Fabio Gurgel-trained beast Matheus won the 2010 Worlds, Pan, and World Pro as a blue belt. The featherweight shares an apartment in São Paulo with other slick submission aces, like also-world champion Bernardo Faria, where they set up a dojo and practice positions. Another good reason to bet on the kid.
4 – Lucas Rocha
The Zé Radiola student at Gracie Barra-PE stood out at all the belts he’s been through, winning the 2009 World Championship as a purple belt. This year, he has just what it takes to carve out a place for himself at brown belt. Top on his list of things to accomplish is repeating his joint feat with teammate Otávio Sousa and conquer weight and open weight at the Worlds.
3 – Michel Langhi
Younger brother of two-time world champion black belt Michael Langhi, Langhinho doesn’t just have his name in common with his bro. The Alliance rep has slick Jiu-Jitsu to boast of too. Besides having stood out at all the belts till now, he won 2010 events like the Brazilian Nationals as a brown belt. He ended up dropping the Worlds to rival Ary Farias, but he has what it takes to snatch the title this time around.
2 – João Gabriel
The Soul Fighters brown belt won the Pan and the Brazilian Nationals as a purple belt. Now promoted to brown, he’s given black belts a hard time at events like the Brazilian Team Nationals and the Rio World Pro tryouts, taking runner-up in the absolute of the latter, only losing to Rodolfo Vieira.
1 – Antonio Carlos “Cara de Sapato”
The CheckMat rep from the Brazilian state of Paraíba has a number of medals at all belts to boast of. Last year, still a brown belt, he closed out his weight and the open weight divisions with teammate Marcus Bochecha both at the Worlds and the Brazilian Nationals. He was promoted to black belt by Master Helder Bob Sponhja while still on the podium at the Natal, Brazil, tryouts for the World Pro, after submitting higher-ranked opponents. Watch this monster of the mats closely!