GRACIEMAG.com’s Jiu-Jitsu Pan-American 2012 picks

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GRACIEMAG.com isn’t a betting site, but it does tend to get it right when providing tips on who is favored to win the big competitions. The 2012 Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championship will kick off on the coming 29th in Irvine, California, and sign-ups are over. Plenty of first-rate competitors showed up just as role was about to be called, as you will find here.

Once the dots on the finalized roster are connected, what takes shape is a major constellation of stars, and we point out who to us is most likely to get their hands on the gold. The absolute contest, as always, will be the main battle, but the competition in the other divisions is deep, meaning there’ll be no lack of excitement.

Check out our predictions, and comment as to whether you do or don’t agree. In the end, who are your favorites, gentle reader?

ROOSTER

The skillful and controversial Caio Terra shares favorite status with Rafael “Barata” Freitas, the current divisional champion. But Felipe Costa, Brandon Mullins, Fabbio Passos, Joseph Capizzi, Takahito Yoshioka and Koji Shibamoto are obstacles the two top seeds had best not take lightly.

Predicted final: Caio Terra vs. Rafael Freitas
Winner: Caio Terra

LIGHT FEATHERWEIGHT

Guilherme Mendes and Bruno Malfacine are the favorites, for their always masterful Jiu-Jitsu, while running in the outside lanes are Pablo Silva, Láercio Fernandes, Samir Chantre, Daniel Beleza, Bernardo Pitel and newcomer Francielio Costa.

Predicted final: Gui Mendes vs. Bruno Malfacine
Winner: Gui Mendes

FEATHERWEIGHT

The current champ, Rafael Mendes, is without a doubt one of the kingpins of the competition. It’s just that at the other end of the bracket there sits his nemesis, Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” Maciel, who yearns for a fifth Pan-American title. And not to be counted out: Mário Reis, Justin Rader, Renan Borges, Osvaldo Moizinho, Wellington Megaton, Sandro Santiago, David Juliano and Paulo Eduardo will be looking to unseat the favorites.

Predicted final: Rafael Mendes vs. Rubens Cobrinha

Winner: Rubens Cobrinha

LIGHT

This division will be a festival of first-rate Jiu-Jitsu, starting with current champ Lucas Lepri. But don’t blink, as the frenetic Zak Maxwell, Leandro Lo, Rodrigo Caporal, Claudio Caloquinha, Vinicius Marinho, Bruno Amorim, Jonathan Torres, Rodrigo Simões, Rafael Rosendo, Philipe Furão, rising star Ryan Beauregard and others will be bringing the goods. With so many worthy candidates for the title and plenty of plausible alternate picks, we opted to be conservative: we stuck with the beast from Alliance.

Final prediction: Lucas Lepri vs. Zak Maxwell
Winner: Lucas Lepri

MIDDLEWEIGHT

Current middleweight champ Cláudio Calasans is a strong candidate retain his title; however, Kron Gracie has what it takes to make divisional headlines. There are others whose chances are just as good, though, like: Victor Estima, Abmar Barbosa, Murilo Santana, Gabriel Goulart and Marcos Yoshio. There’s no shortage of elite grappling aces, and there’s still Marcelo Lapela, Vitor Henrique and Jonatas Novaes, not to mention the game Clark Gracie, all of whom are worthy of title contention.

Predicted final: Claudio Calasans vs. Victor Estima
Winner: Claudio Calasans

MEDIUM HEAVYWEIGHT

This very well could be the most riveting division of them all, thanks to the prospect of André Galvão, Rômulo Barral, Rafael Lovato and Kayron Gracie facing off. And the four teachers are in tip-top shape, too. Others adding intrigue to the mix: Marco Antônio, Wancler Oliveira, Ben Baxter, Oliver Geddes, Diego Gamonal and Renan Vital.

Predicted final: Rômulo Barral vs. André Galvão
Winner: André Galvão

HEAVYWEIGHT

With 11 athletes on the roster, the forerunners for the title are Lucas Leite, Gustavo Pires, Yuri Simões, Fabiano Leite, Ricardo Mesquita and Roberto “Tussa” Camargo.

Predicted final: Lucas Leite vs. Roberto Tussa
Winner: Lucas Leite

SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT

Bernardo Faria is the favorite. He won’t have it easy, though: CheckMat Paraíba ace Antônio Carlos “Cara de Sapato” is the real deal when it comes to winning titles.

Final: Bernardo Faria vs. Antonio “Cara de Sapato”
Winner: Bernardo Faria

ULTRAHEAVYWEIGHT

The division offers the prospect of a showdown between two new-generation ace: Danish demolition machine Alexander Trans and the mesmerizing Marcus Bochecha. One can’t be too carefull when the likes of Ricardo Evangelista, Gustavo Elias and Luiz Pedro are lurking, though.

Predicted final: Alexander Trans vs. Marcus Bochecha
Winner: Marcus Bochecha

ABSOLUTE

Predicted final: Bernardo Faria vs. Marcus Bochecha
Winner: Marcus Bochecha

BROWN BELT ABSOLUTE

Predicted final: Orlando Sanchez (GB) vs. João Gabriel (Soul Fighters)
Winner: João Gabriel (Soul Fighters)

So what do you think? Did we forget anyone? Don’t miss the complete Pan coverage, right here on GRACIEMAG.com.

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