This past weekend, the IBJJF really went to work as the federation was able to put together two organized jiu-jitsu championships in two different countries.
While one half of the crew was stationed in Boston for the federation’s second annual Boston Open championship, the other half was located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the first-ever Sao Paulo Open championship.
In both Boston and Brazil, there was no shortage of big names and tons of excitement, so let’s get the recaps started:
Starting off in Boston, the jiu-jitsu community was treated to the return of Godoi Jiu-Jitsu fighter Wilson Reis. Due to his MMA career, Reis has not donned the gi in a competition for some time, that is until this past Saturday. In Reis’ return, he went on to win the featherweight category with victories over Renzo Gracie’s Raphael Fernandes and CheckMat’s Rodrigo Ranieri de Faria. Although Reis was away from the game for a little while, he doesn’t seem to have missed a beat and should be someone to watch out for in case he decides to enter more IBJJF championships.
Even though the lightweight category only had four names registered, it was by far the most stacked division of the entire tournament. Coming off a string of impressive results, Vinicius Marinho and Renan Borges had to feel confident that they could manage to get by Jonathan Torres and Augusto Mendes in their first-round match-ups, but it didn’t work out that way. As expected, Torres and Mendes met yet again in the finals, and it was another close one, as usual. In the end, the sharper Torres took the win on points, leaving the last man to defeat Rafael Mendes with the silver.
At middleweight, one of the big attractions was Team Lloyd Irvin’s newest black belt, DJ Jackson. Jackson has been gaining a lot of hype as he is recently coming off his World Championship win at brown belt and his first big win at black belt in Japan. But on Saturday, Jackson was shown that there will be no easy roads to gold in the black belt category, as GF Team’s Vitor Henrique shut down Jackson’s A-game and defeated the rookie in the finals to take gold.
In an event where there were no entries in the heavy, superheavy or ultraheavy categories, the absolute would come down to a battle of the lightweights and middleweights.
In the semifinals, Rafael Barbosa avenged an earlier loss by defeating DJ Jackson on points, while on the other side of the bracket Jonathan “JT” Torres battled his way to a judges’ decision victory over middleweight champ Vitor Henrique.
With the finals set, it looked as if we were primed for a match-up between “JT” and Barbosa, but it wasn’t meant to be. In Torres’ semifinal with Henrique, “JT” appeared to have suffered a concussion and the doctors could not allow him to continue on. With the withdrawal of Torres, Barbosa was awarded the gold and crowned absolute champion.
Over in Brazil, a lot like DJ Jackson in the United States, Renato Cardoso is receiving a lot of hype as one of the new and highly-touted black belts to watch out for. In Sao Paulo, Cardoso delivered. Although the young CheckMat black belt moved up a weight class from his usual middleweight division, Cardoso still dominated, winning the medium-heavyweight division by defeating Eliezer Raab Skaf in the division’s finale.
In the absolute category, Cardoso was not finished wreaking havoc yet. Cardoso put the jiu-jitsu world on alert as he also won the absolute division, defeating everyone in his way including Eliezer Raab Skaf in a rematch of their final from earlier on.
Another standout in the championship was PSLPB Cicero Costha black belt Isaque Paiva, who won the featherweight category. It has been a career year for Paiva, who has won numerous tournaments and defeated the likes of Bruno Frazzatto and Ary Farias. The title here is now just icing on the cake for the ever-improving standout.
So there are the big highlights from this weekend’s competition action.Who impressed you most this weekend? Comment and let your voice be heard. Osss!
Photo: Renato Cardoso (Gracie Mag)