The 11 highlights of the 2011 Pan

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Caio Terra, in photo by John Lamonica

While the final article and finest images await arrival in readers hands, GRACIEMAG.com takes a look back on the biggest Jiu-Jitsu event of the Americas, the IBJJF Pan.

To make sure you receive your copy of GRACIEMAG swiftly in the comfort of your own home every month, subscribe here. Take a look back at the eleven highlights of the last Pan, below:

11) The best of what went on at the Pan took place on Saturday, March 26, in the absolute division. If we must unfairly judge the event by the Sunday finals, it was about average. The absolute, though, was on par with the greatest championships I’ve ever seen.

10) In closing out the featherweight category, Ana Carolina, the wife of GMA Regis Lebre, became Pan champion without having to fight. Still she had an amazing achievement: she gave birth and then returned to competition not six months later, earning her way to the World Pro in Abu Dhabi.

9) One of the greatest matches of the tournament took place early on in the absolute, between Ryan Beauregard and Luiz Felipe Big Mac. The diminutive Arizonan took a six-point lead on Big Mac, but (literally) couldn’t take the pressure. Big rallied back passing guard and then deliberately returning just to pass again. After the match, Big dropped out of the absolute, clearing the way for the hard-nosed Bernardo Faria, who eventually took runner-up.

8) André Galvão was the grand medium heavyweight champion. But as he put it himself, he’ll need to pick up the pace to win the division at the 2011 Worlds.

7) In the master contest, our GMA Fábio Leopoldo had a hard-fought battle with Fernando Soluço that few in the adult division would have it in them to do.

6) The most out-of-this-world move of the 2011 Pan was Malfacine’s armbar on Megaton, in the featherweight division.

5) Caio Terra is one of the most technical athletes in present day Jiu-Jitsu. What’s up with that guard? Hooks all over the place, grips every which way. He’s got great defense and attack, and he’s a specialist in leg assaults.

4) The best black belt finals were at heavyweight, light featherweight and middleweight.

3) Honorable mention goes to Gabriel Vella. He lost to Bochecha in the very last instant, while having a great come-from-behind bout. He started out getting nailed with a double-leg takedown, flipped things around with a half-guard sweep, and brought the pressure down on the superheavyweight champion. He made a mistake at the tail end, and Bochecha was unforgiving. Gabriel is probably the black belt dating back the farthest still competing in the top flight, to the point of making waves in the absolutes of major tournaments. He didn’t do so well on Sunday, but his performance on Saturday made up for it.

2) Rodolfo is indeed the man. His game can give Roger some woes from a tactical standpoint, and there’s no doubt Xande will surely have his hands full. Wait and see what happens at the Worlds.

1) Braga Neto had particularly splendid performances in two matches: against Demente on Saturday and Big Mac on Sunday. Rodolfo sent him packing, but Big Neto was the tournament’s number two, better even than Faria. A hard nut to crack.

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