The 2015 World Jiu-Jitsu championship is one month away.
Scheduled May 27-31, the most important gentle art competition of the calendar should be the stage for some dramatic action in the black belt division and beyond.
We have listed a few questions regarding some important people that will be main characters in Long Beach.
1. Will Rodolfo Vieira be healthy enough to compete in Long Beach?
The superstar scared the world of grappling when he decided to pull out of the 2015 WPJJC this past weekend after the weigh-ins. Apparently, the lower back injury he has is more serious than it appears. He wrote on his Instagram page that “he spent the whole night before the first day of competition in Abu Dhabi thinking whether he would compete or not”. Rodolfo said he lacked confidence and that he was far away from the 100% and that those who know him know he will not get into a competition in such a state. He ended the message saying that all he wants now is to heal fast to be ready again. The question is: will Rodolfo have time to heal his back and be at 100% in Long Beach?
2. If Rodolfo can’t compete, can anyone else threat Buchecha’s run at the unprecedented 4th black belt open class gold medal?
Marcus Buchecha already reached an unprecedented feat this year with the third open class title in Abu Dhabi, but the big one is still to come. If he wins again in Long Beach, he will have done something no one has achieved in history, the fourth black belt open class world title. If Rodolfo can’t compete, who else could possibly have the tools to stop Buchecha? Alex Trans put up two great efforts in Abu Dhabi and Buchecha himself said that “the Dane gets better every time they fight”. Still, the Buchecha-Trans score is 7-0 in favor of the Brazilian. Bernardo Faria, Leo Nogueira, André Galvão, Keenan Cornelius and Felipe Pena are other black belts with potential to give Buchecha a run for his dream of becoming the first four-time black belt open class champion.
3. Can the lightning strike twice in the same spot?
Mackenzie Dern made history in Abu Dhabi when she defeated Gabi Garcia in the open class semifinal. Can the 118lb-dynamo repeat the feat in Long Beach? A few aspects will make the task more difficult for Mackenzie. At the Worlds, the match will be 10 minutes long, which makes things much more complicated. Gabi will be specially motivated to defeat Mackenzie after the setback at the WPJJC. With three referees (if it’s a semifinal or a final), points and advantages have more chances of being scored (for both sides) than with the single referee system in Abu Dhabi. Anyway, the reencounter of Gabi and Mackenzie will be a sight to see.
4. Can the new generation of American black belts finally make a dent in the Brazilian domination?
Keenan Cornelius is the senior member of this very tough group of black belts. JT Torres, AJ Agazarm, Michael Liera, Tim Spriggs, Tammi Musumeci, Gianni Grippo, Dillon Danis, Mansher Khera and a few others have all the tools they need to write their names in history. The sheer number of high level black belts make it more probable than ever to have a non-Brazilian at the top of one of the black belt divisions.
5. Can Caio Terra overcome the impact of being submitted by Bruno Malfacine at the 2015 Pan?
Caio Terra and Bruno Malfacine have one of the longest and most fierce rivalries in Jiu-Jitsu today. At the 2015 Pan, Malfacine was able to hit a home run against his rival and won the roosterweight division with a choke from the back, imposing on Caio his first ever defeat by submission in the weight division. It’s well known that Caio has been dealing with health issued in the past year and that may or may not have influenced the outcome of the match in Irvine. Anyhow, it’s very probable that the two will be in the final in Long Beach. Let’s see what happens.
6. Will 2015 be the year of the Miyao?
They almost made it to the top in 2014, with two silver medals in the roosterweight and lightfeather. They have been competing almost non-stop since then and seem to be better than ever. Even so, it’s going to be a hard task to win in such competitive dvisions. Bruno Malfacine, Caio Terra, Gui Mendes, Gianni Grippo, Rafael Mendes, Cobrinha (if they go up to featherweight) and others are just some of the obstacles in the way of João and Paulo.
7. Will the Mendes be the first brothers to reach the mark of five black belt world titles together?
Both Rafael and Guilherme compete in the Worlds as black belts since 2009. Guilherme debuted with a gold medal, but Rafael had to wait until 2010 to win his first. In 2011, they won together for the first time and repeated the double feature in 2012. In 2013, neither one made it to the top of the podium, but last year they were back at it with another double gold. In 2015, they can reach the impressive mark of five gold medals a piece. Can they do it?
This are just seven of the infinite number of questions we can ask about the Worlds. One of then is: Have you registered yet?
Click here to register and then have a good read about the action in Long Beach.