“Buchecha” ties record, Musumeci becomes 4th American champion.
This past weekend many of the best grapplers in the sport stepped onto the mats to face off at the IBJJF World Championships. Widely considered one of the most important tournaments in competitive grappling; the 2017 edition lived up to expectations. Recapping the showcase highlights a number of big moments that impact the current landscape of grappling but the future as well.
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is perhaps the biggest talking point coming out of Worlds 2017. The Checkmat black belt was one of the best athletes to ever compete in the sport and his performance at this event went even further in solidifying that claim. Buchecha earned two gold medals, pushing his tally of world titles to ten – tying Roger Gracie for the record. He defeated Gustavo Elias in the finals of his weight division, after defeating Igor Schneider and Joao Rocha in the opening rounds.
Buchecha’s biggest moment came during the open weight class where he defeated Leandro Lo in the finals. His victory came via a penalty point as the two men were tired at two points each. This was one of the best matches of the weekend and had everyone’s attention from the minute they stepped on the mat.
Lo was expected to have a strong performance this weekend; especially as he came off of the award of being the top ranked black belt by the IBJJF. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to walk away with a top podium finish in either of his brackets. Nicholas Meregali walked out with perhaps the biggest upset of the weekend as he defeated Lo in the final of the 94 kilogram division. The 2-0 victory surprised many onlookers as Meregali is an accomplished competitor, but this is easily his biggest victory to date. Meregali rebounded from a defeat in the open weight division to submit three men before defeating Lo on points. This is his first time taking the top spot at this IBJJF event.
Mikey Musumeci took his place in history as well as he became the fourth American black belt to win a world title. The Caio Terra team member defeated Washington Lima, Isaac Doederlein, Ary Farias and Joao Miyao in his journey to become the 64 kilogram champion.
On the women’s side, Ana Carolina Vieira cemented her run to become known as one of the best grapplers on the planet. She took the middleweight title by defeating the 2016 champion, Monique Elias. Vieira has won an IBJJF world title at every belt level since 2012 when she was a blue belt. Vieira’s game may have been recognizable to fans of the sport as she competes much like her brother Rodolfo Vieira and followed in his footsteps to become an IBJJF World Champion.
The 2017 IBJJF World Champions didn’t disappoint in any fashion. Some of the biggest names in the sport continued to develop their storied legacies, while some new faces put the future of the sport of notice. Even though a number of popular athletes were not competing for one reason or another, this was yet another successful Worlds; setting the tone for some intriguing grappling matches for the rest of 2017 and beyond.