Every year the black belt division gets a boost of talent as brown belts get promoted and add even more hardship to the game.
The 2016 world championship will be no exception, as a bunch of the best brown belts in 2015 will be registered for the black belt division.
We have highlighted 8 of these newcomers, but there are many more out there.
Here we go.
Michael Musumeci Jr.
The 2015 brown belt light-featherweight world champion has already debuted in the black belt division in great fashion. Looking incredibly thin, he signed up for the roosterweight division at the 2016 Pan and made it to the top of the podium. For the 2016 Worlds, Mikey and his sister Tammi have moved to California to train with Gui and Rafa Mendes at AOJ Academy, which should generate some great results. Mikey is signed up for the roosterweight once again, but maybe going up to light-feather is his best chance to win another gold medal for Team USA, which doesn’t happen in the male division since 2007.
Just like Musumeci, Najmi won his division (lightweight) at the 2015 Worlds. After getting his black belt, he struck gold for the first time at the 2016 Pan, with a beautiful Estima lock on Francisco Iturralde. The 2016 Worlds black belt lightweight division will be a true mine field, with Lucas Lepri, Michael Langhi, AJ Agazarm, JT Torres, etc. Najmi is another big talent to make things even more complicated.
Another PSLPB Cicero Costha talent, Yago Souza closed out the brown belt middleweight division in 2015 with his teammate Manuel Ribamar Filho. Then, he got his black belt and already did great at the 2016 European and the 2016 Pan, wining the middleweight division both in Lisbon and Irvine. It should interesting to see Yago going against the likes of Otavio Sousa, Claudio Calasans Jr, Victor Estima and Vitor Oliveira, just to name a few.
The 2015 brown belt open class runner-up also transitioned to the black belt and has already made his presence felt. He finished third in the heavyweight division at the 2016 Pan and won the same division at the recent 2016 Brazilian Nationals. The heavyweight division with the likes of Tim Spriggs, André Galvão, Erberth Santos, Jackson Souza, among others should be a great challenge for the newcomer.
The double gold campaign at the 2015 Worlds puts some pressure on Aly for his first Worlds as a black belt. Already registered in the ultra-heavy division, Mahamed should encounter some big competition, including Alex Trans, Marcus Buchecha, Gabriel Lucas, João Gabriel Rocha, among others.
Another talent coming out of Romulo Barral’s lineage, Arges finished third at the brown belt middleweight division of the 2015 Worlds. As a black belt, he did great at the 2015 Irvine Open and then travelled to Lisbon for another great showing at the 2016 European, closing out the medium-heavy division with his Professor Barral.
Fresh out of Marcelo Garcia’s talent factory, Khera (and his teammate Jon Satava) will be making his first appearance at the Worlds as a black belt. They could have done it last year, but they did not have time to add up the 50pts necessary to qualify after being promoted. Khera is signed up for the lightweight division while Satava is registered for the middleweight.
The Hulk won the brown belt medium-heavy division at the 2016 Worlds. After getting his black belt, he jumped right into the mix and managed some big results. most importantly the medium-heavy division at the 2015 Worlds No-Gi. Just recently, he won the medium-heavy division at the 2016 Las Vegas Open. Lucas should be another big hurdle at the medium-heavy in Long Beach.
Don’t forget to register for the 2016 world championship before May 24.
Click here to sign up now.