While the number of stars in the Pan 2012 adult division is flabbergasting, the over-30-year-old divisions are a rocky road unto themselves. As GRACIEMAG.com discerned, Irvine, California, will be awash with familiar old faces and seasoned champions come this Thursday the 29th.
Among those signed up for the master, two-time absolute champion of the world Rodrigo Comprido is in, as are professors Flavio Cachorrinho, Denílson Pimenta, Theodoro Canal, Aldo Caveirinha, Daniel “Mano Brown” Pires, Baret Yoshida, Rodrigo Clark, Thiago Silva, Bruno Bastos, Leonardo Peçanha and Roberto Tozi.
EX-UFC FIGHTERS IN SENIOR CLASS
Now in the senior division, Bernardo Pitel (who will also be putting in an appearance at adult) and Renato Tavares join the battle for light featherweight gold, Cleber “Tomadinha” Luciano and Paulo Guilhobel will compete at middleweight, while former UFC fighters Renato “Charuto” Veríssimo and Ricardo “Cachorrão” Almeida will take to the mats as medium heavyweights. And then there’s Roberto Godói at super heavyweight and Francelino Gonçalves at ultraheavyweight.
“I’ve never won a Pan. I’ve been runner-up and third place before, but never champion; and I want this title. The bracket will be really tough, as usual; but that will just make the conquest all the more satisfying, God willing,” says Francelino.
A fierce competitor who has won the championship on five prior occasions, black belt Fabio Leopoldo’s name appears on the IBJJF list, too. And he’ll be competing at home, amid his students. Check out some of the highlights involving the leader of Gracie Morumbi in Ventura, California, at the 2011 Pan. Watch and learn.
To see the full competitor list, click here.
What do you think, gentle reader; who makes it to the top of the podium in Irvine?