Between the months of March and June there is hardly a single pause in the action, as there are major championships going on week-after-week. This weekend will be no exception as the UAE will be hosting their fourth annual World Pro Championships right in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

Unfortunately it is hard to give out a full preview of the event without all the registrants on the athletes list, but this week we will give you five competitors to watch out for. Some of them you may already know, while some you may not, but either way keep an eye out because they are bound to make some noise out in the Middle East.

1. Isaque Paiva

This Saikoo Jiu-Jitsu black belt was known as a tough competitor but had never really reached the top of any major championship nor had he ever defeated any former World Champions or top-tier black belts.

Well, all that changed big time in Gramado, Brazil where he competed in what is known as the toughest World Pro Trial event. The little-known black belt gained stardom upon winning his ticket to Abu Dhabi and beating Atos teammates Ary Farias and Bruno Frazzatto in consecutive bouts.

In the semi’s he won an evenly contested match with Ary, taking it by a judges decision. Then, in the finals with Frazzatto, Paiva had a career headlining moment as he submitted the Atos ace with a triangle in the waning seconds of the final.

After this performance, do not count him out to pull off a few more upsets and possibly leave with the title of World Pro Champion.

2. De’ Alonzio “DJ” Jackson

Yes, I know he is only a first-year brown belt but believe me when I say he is dangerous. The Lloyd Irvin pupil is heading out to Abu Dhabi after winning the Montreal Trials and also ending up as the runner-up in the New York Trials losing by a mere (and controversial) judges decision against World Champion Lucas Leite.

That controversial loss has me looking at Jackson as a prime candidate to pull off some big upsets in the UAE. Jackson comes in with a wrestling background and can be a difficult matchup for anyone in his weight category.

I won’t guarantee he will take gold, especially with Claudio Calasans and Tarsis Humphreys in the mix but expect him to provide a big challenge for anyone of the top black belts in his category.

3. Antonio Carlos Junior

Fresh off his break out performance at the Pans, where he was crowned absolute champion, Antonio Carlos heads to Abu Dhabi full of confidence.

In Abu Dhabi he is bound to be dealt with his greatest test so far against last years absolute champion Rodolfo Vieira. The Checkmat ace won’t be able to lean on his teammate Marcus “Buchecha” to close out with this time, so will he be able to live up to the challenge?

Only time will tell, but look for him to eventually go to battle with Rodolfo in what could be a very intriguing match.

4. Alexandre Riberio

Xande has officially made his return in 2012!

Looked at by many as done and out, the younger of the Riberio brothers has appeared to resurrect himself and is now once again a force to be reckoned with on the competition scene.

His return came at the Abu Dhabi Trials in San Diego as he defeated both Romulo Barral and Andre Galvao to win his weight and the absolute categories, punching his ticket to Abu Dhabi.

Can Xande continue his unexpected run and take the title out in Abu Dhabi?

What may answer that is a potential final rematch of the 2010 Worlds against Bernardo Faria (whom defeated Xande the last time they fought).

5. Roberto Satoshi

The new lightweight European champion can no longer be considered an underdog, and now the spotlight sits squarely on him coming into this weekend.

After defeating Pedro Bessa, Jonathan Torres and Michael Langhi in consecutive matches back in January, Satoshi is surely going to be one of the most talked-about competitors coming into this weekend’s tournament.

An intriguing matchup for Satoshi will be another revelation in Leandro “Lo” Nascimento who is just coming off a big win of his own at the Pans, where he defeated Zak Maxwell and Lucas Lepri.

Who do you see coming out on top in this potential matchup of new, young talent?

So there are five names that could be making a big splash out in Abu Dhabi. Who do you think will be the big name being talked about by the end of the weekend? Comment below and let yourself be heard! Osss!

Photo: Isaque Paiva (L) executes a triangle choke (GracieMag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.