The Munich International Open saw so many entries in its previous editions that it first expanded to two events per year, and, this time around, included a no-gi event in addition to the gi divisions from before. With that expansion, fighters from across Europe had the opportunity to take part in two separate competitions in the same day, an opportunity that lead to almost twelve hours of hard-fought competition in Germany.
The no-gi event took place first of all, and the black belt results were as follows:
In the light-featherweight division, Frenchman Julien Gaillard took on Jorge Elias in a back and forth straight final match which was close all the way to the finish. After two sweeps apiece, and with the score 4-4 and tied at 2 advantages, Julien was able to off balance Jorge sufficiently from the bottom with a sweep attempt to score the advantage that gave him the lead and the victory.
At middleweight, Italy’s Luca Anacoreta was victorious, defeating both Ilke Bulut of Icon JJ (traditionally a lightweight, but moving up for the nogi event) and Nic Ruben Nikolaisen of Frontline Academy in Norway.
Middle-heavyweight saw Hungary-based Max Carvalho, representing Gracie Barra, taking the win over Pedro Palhares of Luiz Palhares team in the lone fight of the division. A single sweep was all that separated the two warriors at the end of the match.
Heavyweight saw two Norwegian-based Brazilians face off twice. Felipe ‘Gargamel’ Mota of Roger Gracie took on Renato Tavares of Frontline Academy in what was slated to be a three man division. In their first match up, Felipe was able to secure a finish with stepover ankle lock from the 50/50 guard, advancing through to the final. Unfortunately, the third man in the bracket was nowhere to be found which put Renato straight back into the final and giving him a chance for redemption. However, it was not to be. Although less decisive than the previous encounter, Felipe was able to control the match and eventually earned the win by 7 points to zero, and with it the heavyweight gold medal.
Lightweight Luiz Finocchio and Ultra-heavyweight Attila Banfi were both alone in their respective divisions and took gold before signing up for the open weight to get their opportunity to fight.
Max Carvalho continued his run of form following his middle-heavyweight division victory, going two for two and adding the absolute gold to his tally for the day. His opponent in the final match was Renato Tavares, who rebounded strongly after his tough losses in his division.
Shortly after noon, the nogi divisions began to draw to a close and the bullpen began to fill with eager competitors ready and waiting to try their luck in the gi. Some of those were stepping on the mats for the second time in the day, whilst others had made the choice to focus their efforts on just the one competition, feeling that the kimono was more to their liking.
At light-featherweight, Lucas Dantas of Nova Uniao took first place, defeating two brothers along the way. He overcame first Nicolas and then Julien Gaillard of Toulon BJJ to become champion of his division. Julien defeated Dutchman Jordy Peute in his own semi-final to reach the final.
The featherweight division, empty without the kimono, this time saw three competitors battle it out for gold. The final saw Luiz Tosta of Alliance International, fresh off claiming gold in the nogi masters at featherweight and in the absolute, taking on competitive veteran Gustavo Dantas. Both fighters had defeated Spain’s Sergio Calderon to set up the final, with Luiz finishing with a toehold and Gustavo taking a much closer win by 2 advantages in a slow-paced and tactical matchup. With the score tied at 2-2 and Luiz trailing by a negative point with less than twenty seconds left, Gustavo pulled guard and Luiz dived for his foot, locking in a very tight toehold as the buzzer rang. The fighters were stood up and moved to the center and a single advantage was given to Luiz, putting him in front and giving him the gold medal with literally the last move of the match.
Lightweight was another three-man division, opening with Ilke Bulut of Icon JJ taking on Luiz Finocchio of De Souza Dojo. After a protracted feeling-out process on the feet, Luiz jumped guard and Ilke was eventually able to work past the guard and secure the mount, eventually finishing with a cross-collar choke. This sent Luiz across the bracket to face Oliver Geddes of Roger Gracie Academy. After an early takedown by Luiz and an exchange of sweeps, Oliver was able to lock on a kneebar and finish the fight, advancing to the final. Ilke made the match a short one, passing Oliver’s Guard early and coaxing a quick tap with a wristlock from side control to take the lightweight championship.
Not letting his loss in the no-gi division hold him back, Pedro Palhares was on form in the middleweight gi division. After defeating Spain’s Jordi Lloveras by armbar, he then finished Luca Anacoreta with a gi choke and booked his place in the final opposite Thomas Oyarzun of Switzerland. Thomas had defeated Nic Ruben to earn his own place. Although closer than his previous matches, he was able to score 2 points with a takedown and stay out of danger from that point onwards to take Middleweight gold.
The medium-heavyweight division ended without anyone even needing to step onto the mat. Gracie Barra teammates Julien Cazier of France and Max Carvalho of Hungary decided to close out the two-man division, with the pair agreeing that Max would take the gold medal and move on to the absolute later.
The five man heavyweight division, which had the potential to be action-packed throughout, was also over almost before it had begun. Two competitors failed to show up on one side of the bracket, putting Felipe Mota through to the final unopposed, whilst on the other side Swiss-based Karim Khalifa of Alliance and Renato Tavares faced off, with Karim emerging victorious after 10 minutes of action by a single sweep, despite trailing on advantages. The strain of this match was too much for Karim, who had been suffering from an illness over the previous days and he was unable to continue, forfeiting the final. Thus Felipe took the gold, with Karim taking silver and Renato the bronze.
By this stage of the competition, with many competitors approaching their fourth division of the day, the absolute was understandably sparse. The final consisted of Felipe Mota on one side and Luca Anacoreta on the other, with Felipe having booked his place by defeating Nic Ruben Nikolaisen of Frontline Academy, and Luca defeating Max Carvalho. The final was defined by Felipe’s pressure and control – an early guard pull by the Roger Gracie fighter lead almost immediately to a sweep, and although Luca was able to sweep back, a third sweep put Felipe on top where he remained for the rest of the match, controlling the grips and consistently threatening the pass to remain in the driving seat for the last minutes. As time ran out, the score stood at 4-2, and Felipe had earned his third gold medal of the day.
Despite travelling all the way from Denmark for the competition, Checkmat’s Shanti Abelha was unable to find an opponent in the black belt divisions at either her weight or the absolute, instead occupying herself as a referee and adding two medals to her collection for both her weight class and the absolute divisions.