The 2017 event features the return of big names and new stars.
The next few days hold a special place in competitive grappling as the IBJJF holds its annual World Jiu Jitsu Championship tourney. As with every year, there are a number of intriguing potential matchups, names and storylines to watch heading into the event. Set to start on Thursday, June 1, here are some of the bigger developments to watch this year.
When talking about grappling at the highest level, the conversation starts with the black belts. As expected, this year features some of the best men and women competitors in the game today across every weight class. There are a number of prominent faces missing from competition this year, such as the newly-retired Rafa Mendes, suspended Paulo Miyao, and recovering Keenan Cornelius, but that doesn’t detract from the anticipated action.
While those names may not be in the brackets, the return of Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is a headline that has attracted widespread attention. “Buchecha” is a multiple-time world champion that has caused havoc in the heavyweight and open-weight divisions for years. He suffered an injury that sidelined him back in 2015 but he made a triumphant return back in 2016, capturing double gold. The idea of a potential rematch between he and Leandro Lo, recently awarded the award of top grappler of the year, is a match that could easily headline an event as a super fight.
The rest of the black belt divisions have captivating storylines going on as well. Dillon Danis and Mansher Khera have switched to Zenith BJJ to prepare for Worlds after being dismissed from Marcelo Garcia’s gym a few months ago. Danis has continued to receive attention due to his connections with Conor McGregor and Bellator, so the light is shining on him during this tournament. He has an exceptionally tough first round matchup against Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa in the medium-heavyweight division on Saturday. Barbosa should not be overlooked in any fashion as he’s recently played the underdog during the Five Grappling Super League tournament where he walked away with the title.
Talita Alencar and Pati Fontes are scheduled to open up the women’s light featherweight division in another awaited match. Both of these women are considered favorites to win the title this year and this stylistic clash should set the tone for the rest of the division. Tanner Rice, Gianni Grippo and Danielle Alvarez are other names that fans should keep an eye out for during this stacked weekend of events.
But all of the exciting action isn’t going to happen on Saturday and Sunday. There are a number of lower ranks that are developing their game to become the new faces to watch in the sport. Adam Ferrara, Malachi Edmond, Leon Jackson and Devonte Johnson are just a few of the names who continue to excel when they step onto the mats.
For the full schedule of events, head over to the official IBJJF web site. FloGrappling will broadcast the matches starting on Thursday and also have a schedule on their page for subscribers. Worlds 2017 is bound to give fans a number of crazy upsets and great matches from start to finish.