European 2014: here are our predictions for the black belt

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stamp_enOne day from the beginning of competitions at the Casal Vistoso gymnasium, in Lisboa, Portugal, the list of athletes for each division is set and checked.

So, it’s safe to make some predictions of how the adult black belt divisions could go and try to point out favorites for the finals and also the champions.

As usual, don’t take it too serious, as the predictions to follow are not in any way a sign that we are rooting for this or that athlete.

All we want is to make people talk about the European 2014.

Join the conversation and leave your own predictions in the comments area.

Black belt – Male

Rooster

Caio Terra

Caio Terra

Caio Terra’s name among the 5 athletes registered for the division makes it fairly easy to point out a favorite for the gold medal. The two-time world champion (gi), is the man to be beat, but probably won’t be. Koji Shibamoto, champion in 2012 and second place in 2013 is the best candidate for a spot in the final with Caio.

Final: Caio Terra vs. Koji Shibamoto

Champion: Caio Terra

Light feather

Keenan Cornelius in combat against João Miyao. Photo: Ivan Trindade/ GracieMag

João Miyao will be competing in his first major IBJJF competition since he was promoted to the black belt. Even so, his tricky berimbolo game is good enough to put him as the favorite for the gold. Seasoned competitors Gabriel Willcox and Rafael “Barata” Freitas are two of the biggest obstacles in João’s way to his first gold medal as a black belt in a IBJJF event.

Final: Rafael Freitas vs. João Miyao

Champion: João Miyao

Feather

Rafael Mendes

Rafael Mendes

A division with a Worlds look, the featherweight brings together names like Rafael Mendes, Gianni Grippo, Samir Chantre and Paulo Miyao. Mendes is without a doubt the favorite because of his results in the past and also because of his skills as a competitor. The tricky thing is to point out who’s gonna be in the final with him (it also depends on how the brackets will be built). Young guns Grippo and Miyao will battle more experienced Chantre for the spot.

Final: Rafael Mendes vs. Paulo Miyao

Champion: Rafael Mendes

Light

Michael Langhi

Michael Langhi

Two-time European champion, Michael Langhi is in for his third title in Lisbon. This year, he will have young powerhouses AJ Agazarm and Francisco Iturralde as biggest opponents. Paulo Henrique Silva and Oliver Geddes can also create problems for the favorites.

Final: Michael Langhi vs. AJ Agazarm

Champion: Michael Langhi

Middle

Claudio Calasans Jr

Claudio Calasans Jr

The champion in 2013, when he defeated legend Fernando Tererê (DQ), Claudio Calasans Jr is at it again for a second gold. Teammate JT Torres is the other big name and there a big chance this becomes a “finaless” division with a close out between the two.

Final: Claudio Calasans Jr vs. JT Torres

Champion: Claudio Calasans Jr

Medium-heavy

Renato Cardoso attack check mat abu dhabi wpjjc

Renato Cardoso (Check Mat) is on his way to Abu Dhabi. Photo: Preston Smith / CTRL Industries

Keenan Cornelius just announced he is out of the event, which changes everything. A recent sensation after he caught two-time world champion and UFC star Sergio Moraes in a leg lock, Checkmat’s Renato Cardoso is likely to be in the semifinal. In the other side of the bracket, Rodrigo Fajardo, last year’s runner up, has all the tools to secure his spot in the gold medal match again.

Final: Renato Cardoso vs. Rodrigo Fajardo

Champion: Renato Cardoso

Heavy

Jackson Souza

Jackson Souza

As the medium-heavy, here is probable that the young competitors will prevail. Jackson Souza is working hard to establish himself as a dangerous black belt. Yuri Simões, Tarcisio Jardim are also in the mix, as the talented and experienced Jefferson Moura.

Final: Jackson Souza vs. Yuri Simões

Champion: Jackson Souza

Super-heavy

Rafael Lovato Jr

Rafael Lovato Jr

Another talent-packed division, it’s hard to predict an outcome here. Antonio Peinado, Igor Silva, Lucio “Lagarto” Rodrigues, James Puopolo and Rafael Lovato Jr are the five names most likely to battle for the two spots in the final. Details will determine which ones make it all the way.

Final: Rafael Lovato Jr vs. Lucio Lagarto

Champion: Rafael Lovato Jr

Ultra-heavy

Alexander Trans

Alexander Trans

Big chances of a repeat of last year’s final between Rodrigo Cavaca and Alex Trans. Can the Brazilian Professor debunk the Danish this time? Ricardo Evangelista is also in the mix.

Final: Rodrigo Cavaca vs. Alex Trans

Champion: Alex Trans

Open class

The final I would love to see? Kennan Cornelius vs. Rafael Mendes, but they are teammates. My second choice would be Keenan vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. Who’s gonna actually be in the final?  No idea. Let’s wait for Sunday.

Female

Luanna Alzuguir

Luanna Alzuguir

With only nine athletes registered in the category, it’s not easy to make predictions.

Luanna Alzuguir is the only household name and she should be the standout both in the medium-heavy division and in the absolute.

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