The IBJJF World Championships give jiu-jitsu fans the opportunity to watch their favorite veteran athletes as they search for a first world title or a new world title. It’s a showcase for the best and most loved grapplers on the planet. But it’s also an opportunity for the all new Black Belts to gain their recognition, try to climb the ranks and, perhaps, start dynastic races on the world podium.
This year, there are nearly two dozen rookie black belts registered for the Worlds. Any of them could upend their divisions and take gold. And even those who fall before the final could create some upheaval in the opening rounds and gain the attention of fans. Here are the rookies to watch for at the 2021 IBJJF World Championships.
** Note: For the purposes of this article, “rookies” refers to black belts promoted after the dates originally scheduled for the World Championships in May 2020. As a result, some of the athletes on this list have been black belts for a bit longer. long as a year.
2021 IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu World Championship
Of all the rookies entered at the Worlds, Tainan Dalpra may have the best chance of winning gold in his division. The Art Of Jiu-Jitsu star has amassed a 32-1 record this year with 23 wins by submission. He won his first major black belt title in Pans earlier this year and continued his streak at the IBJJF Grand Prix where he won matches against Renato Canuto and Jonnatas Gracie to take home the $ 20,000 prize.
Dalpra is one of three rookies on record in the middleweight. He will be joined by Lucas Gualberto and Alex Munis.
The lightweight featherweight division is also teeming with rookie talent, and the favorite among them is Meyram Maquine from Dream Art. Maquine has been nearly unstoppable since earning his black belt in June 2020 and has brought explosive energy to each of his matches, forcing – and winning – scrambles. At light featherweight, he could meet Brown Belt Pan champion and purple belt world champion Keven Carrasco, and dangerous Pan Jordan Vaisman bronze medalist.
Featherweight is a loaded division in general, but it’s also chock-full of freshman black belts. Samuel Nagai could be the favorite among them, especially now that his world champion teammate Checkmat Matheus Gabriel has moved to lightweight. Nagai looked exceptional at the Pans in 2020 before losing to the eventual champion, and has continued to knock out the biggest names ever since. But he recently lost to fellow rookie Fabrico Andrey, who recently won Brasileiros and a bronze medal at Les Pans. Andrey is an energetic competitor, and fans should be hoping to see a rematch, as he promises to be action-packed.
Other rookies to watch include Nick Salles, Daniel Maira and Damion Oranday.
Atos’ Andy Murasaki is the only lightweight rookie. The lightweight and all-time brown belt champion 2020 has only played one game on the IBJJF stage since earning his black belt, a loss to Johnatha Alves in Pans earlier this year. But Murasaki knocked out some of the top lightweight talents earlier this year, including Matheus Gabriel, Gianni Grippo and Kennedy Maciel.
Andre Porfirio rocked the light heavyweight division in Les Pans, winning gold in his rookie year against a deep division. He will face a deeper division at the Worlds. Make no mistake, he could do it; but the best dog in the division is Leandro Lo. Freshman black belts Bruno Matias and Alex Munis are also listed in this division.
Speaking of the Munis brothers, Anderson Munis and Erich Munis are registered in super heavyweights. Erich wins gold at the World Pro and Brasileiros, while Anderson also holds several top-tier wins, recently beating Erberth Santos. They will look to shut down the super-heavyweight division, but will have to get through favorites like Felipe Pena and Fellipe Andrew. Either way, the Munis brothers will likely enter the absolute division, and they’ll be title contenders there as well.
Jessa Khan and Elisabeth Clay hardly seem like rookies, they’ve been taking out top opponents for years. But both will compete at the world championships as black belts for the first time. Khan will be looking to bounce back from a narrow loss in the Pans final and is among the favorites. But she will have a tough opposition with Ana Rodriguez and reigning division champion Tammi Musumeci.
Clay, for her part, has the potential to subdue anyone in her division, but she’ll have to go through Ana Carolina Vieira, who has beaten Clay in their last two meetings. Unity rookie Chloe McNally will join Clay and Vieira in the middleweight division.
Margot Ciccarelli has won over a few tough division rivals in her short stint to the black belt. She won a silver medal at the Pans for her efforts, but she will face the best of them at the Worlds, including Nathalie Ribeiro and Beatriz Mesquita. Rookie Janaina Maia is also listed in the lightweight.
Vanessa Griffin is in the middleweight, where she could meet world champion Andressa Cintra and tough veteran Raquel Canuto.