Last year, we put together a post just like this one with the ten doubts in the Jiu-Jitsu community’s minds that the World Championship would probably answer.
And it did.
Twelve months later, we have another round of questions to be addressed by the facts that will take place in Long Beach, from May 29 to June 1st.
1. Will Buchecha be the first athlete to ever win three black belt open class finals in a row?
He is still the one to be beat. Marcus Buchecha is undoubtly the most dominant power in competition BJJ today. If he wins in 2013, he will do what no other athlete have done before, not even Roger Gracie. Fast, explosive and extremely technical, Buchecha doesn’t seem to be willing to give up the throne of ruling king of the gentle art.
2. Can a heavier Rodolfo finally put a stop to Buchecha’s reign?
Last month in Abu Dhabi, Rodolfo Vieira proved that he is comfortable in the super-heavyweight division. He took no consideration of his opponents both in the weight division and the open class right until the final. And even the face off with Buchecha had a different taste this time. On top from the beginning, Rodolfo put pressure on Buchecha and almost got the pass and mount. In the end, Buchecha still managed to outsmart him to come out as the winner. Will the champion be able to do that again in Long Beach?
3. Can anyone prevent an absolute final between Rodolfo and Buchecha?
Even more than last year, it seems highly unlikely. The two rivals seem even more distant from the pack both technically and physically than they were in 2013. Bernardo Faria, Leo Nogueira, André Galvão, maybe Keenan Cornelius are the best guesses to intrude in the final.
4. Will Atos JJ repeat its performance of the 2014 Pan and snatch the adult male teams title?
Last year they were expected to be the greatest obstacle in Alliance’s quest for the eighth trophy, but that didn’t happen. Turns out Atos finished the 2013 Worlds without even one champion in the black belt division. Not even Keenan Cornelius won the double gold he was expected to in the brown belt. This year they showed at the Pan that they have regrouped and are coming strong again. Can this be the year?
5. Can any other black belt step up and be a real threat to Gabi Garcia in the open class?
The crown of queen of Jiu-Jitsu sits comfortably on Garcia’s head since 2010. She had a bit of a rough time in the last twelve months, dedicating to a strict diet and exercise regime, venturing into some MMA training for the next step on her career and also successfully defending herself from a not at fault positive drug test by USADA that caused her to lose the gold and the silver medals she won in the 2013 Worlds. Even with all that, she travelled to Abu Dhabi last month and displayed the usual pressure and also some nice technical moves to win once more at the 2014 WPJJC. Once again, she arrives in Long Beach seemingly without a real threat to her dominance, but you never know.
6. Will the Miyaos have success in their first Worlds as black belts?
They are fearless, train like maniacs and they like to teste themselves against bigger and more experienced opponents. The 2014 Worlds is the first opportunity for the Miyao brothers to do just that on the main stage. After a more than successful run up until the brown belt, they arrive in the black belt and split to two different divisions to have a chance to win big flying solo. João Miyao is in the roosterweight and should face Bruno Malfacine or Caio Terra, or both. Paulo is in the light-feather division, the same as Gui Mendes, Gabriel Moraes, Carlos Holanda. It’s going to be fun.
7. Will Cobrinha win his fifth title in the featherweight or is Rafael Mendes going to tie the score in 4 – 4?
Augusto Tanquinho was brillant last year when he stole the spotlight from both Cobrinha and Rafael Mendes. With the sitting champion out, the two bitter rivals should be in the final on Sunday, June 1st. Cobrinha has kind of the upper hand, once he was the winner in the last time they met, but it was in the ADCC, without the gi. Rafael had an off year in 2013 but seems back in the game with the birth of his first son and the success of his academy. Despite the outcome, one answer is quite clear. It’s going to be a thrilling match, if it happens.
8. Are we going to see a non-Brazilian win an adult male black belt division for the third time in history?
Keenan Cornelius might be the best chance of a non-Brazilian on the top of the podium. Rafael Lovato Jr, Alex Trans, Gianni Grippo, Clark Gracie, Koji Shibamoto are in the mix and can be nice surprises.
9. How will fighters adapt to the updated rules?
The IBJJF launched bold updates to the rules recently. Knee-reaping and double guard pull are two of the things most common to happen that were addressed. Will fighters know that they can’t stay sitting down otherwise they will be penalized every 20 seconds? And will referees know how to differentiate non-disqualifying leg crossing from the disqualifying ones?
10. Who’s gonna be next big thing in Jiu-Jitsu?
The color belts are fun to watch and a trained eye can easily spot the talents that are coming to shine in the black belt in the years to come. The list of purple or brown belt champions that later on made it big in the black belt is endless. Roger Gracie, Ronaldo Jacaré, Xande Ribeiro, Marcus Buchecha, Rodolfo Vieira are juts a few that come to mind. Who do you think it’s gonna be this time?