It’s a formality by now, at the start of each season we point out the revelations of the fledgling year, those less celebrated athletes promising to shake up the sport Jiu-Jitsu scene.
For 2012, though, we opted to innovate. With our laser scope as honed as ever, we hereby list ten glory-bound picks for the upcoming IBJJF Worlds, the sign-ups for which end this Wednesday.
The 17th Jiu-Jitsu Word Championship begins May 31 and goes till Sunday, June 3. To secure your spot at the biggest event of the year, click here.
Only excluded from the list are athletes previously mentioned in 2010 and 2011.
* The athletes mentioned in 2010 were: Patrick Gaudio, José Dias “Polenguinho”, José Carlos, Zach Maxwell, Beatriz Mesquita, Ian McPherson, Gunnar Nelson, Ary Farias, Philipe Della Monica and Ricardo Abreu “Demente”.
** Those from 2011 were: Marcio André, Denílson Bischiliari, Christian Broadnax, Mackenzie Dern, Marcelo Tarso, Mateus Luckmann, Lucas Rocha, Michel Langhi, João Gabriel Rocha and Antonio Carlos “Cara de Sapato”.
So without further ado, our…
10 ACES TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2012 WORLDS
10. ANA CAROLINA VIDAL LEBRE
Carol isn’t quite a revelation, but she is a great one to gamble on after all those years dedicated to the Lebre family mission. The Gracie Humaitá brown belt is one of the favorites to take gold at lightweight. We’re banking on a highly technical showdown between Carol and featherweight Mackenzie Dern in the absolute.
9. MAX GIMENIS
With such an ample array of promising athletes, the blue belt division is a jungle. The heavyweight Max Gimenis of GFTeam, however, looks good to brave the wild and come out in one piece. Maybe even with two golds, since current absolute world champ Rodolfo Vieira’s money is riding on him.
8. MICHAEL LIERA JR.
The blue belt world champion in 2011, the Atos lightweight is now gearing up for gold at purple. From the same academy and worth a wager, at brown belt: Ralph Go at lightweight and Ronaldo Cândido at light featherweight, and first lady Angélica Galvão, who’s recovered from an injured arm and is raring to go in the brown belt female division and make her hubby, André Galvão, proud.
7. ORLANDO SANCHEZ
A brown belt from Gracie Barra, he’s one of the sternest obstacles in the path of another ultraheavyweight divisional talent, the always exciting Wilbur Leonard of Lloyd Irvin academy. Orlando is riding the wake of his gold medal-winning campaign at the Brazilian National Championship earlier this May.
6. JURANDIR VIEIRA
The Godói Jiu-Jitsu brown belt snapped up two medals at the last Worlds, at weight and absolute. He’ll be fighting to defend his roost again this year.
5. BENEIL DARIUSH
Having racked up quite a collection of medals at the Pans, Benny is one of the brown belts with a future signed up for this Worlds. Watch out for the middleweight Ralph Gracie understudy.
4. RODRIGO AQUILES
Team Alliance’s Rodrigo da Conceição Barbosa, otherwise known as Aquiles, will surely be the athlete with the winningest smile at the 2012 World Championship. His opponents in the brown belt lightweight division won’t be all too smiley, though.
3. FRANCISCO ITURRALDE
Representing Alliance NYC, Ecuador’s “Sinistro” Iturralde will be making his maiden incursion into the Worlds as a brown belt. Keep an eye peeled for his terror-wreaking guard.
2. RENATO CARDOSO
A brown belt with a knack for finishing, Renato Cardoso is one of the middleweights with the biggest buzz about him, following his romp through the absolute division at the Pan. Besides the CheckMat Santos beast, other solid names at brown are Felipe Pena of GB BH and João Gabriel Rocha of Soul Fighters in Rio, familiar faces to GRACIEMAG.com readers.
1. JOÃO & PAULO MIYAO
How can anyone keep João and Paulo Miyao apart, even if just in a poll? The Cicero Costha-trained siblings are signed up in the light featherweight purple belt division. Keep an eye on them to learn a thing or two about sweeps and fearlessness—since the slight-framed pair are likely to try their hand in the absolute.
What about you, who’s flying into this Jiu-Jitsu World Championship under the radar? Share your picks.
And take this opportunity to check the endless list of aces already signed up for the 2012 Worlds, by clicking here.