Competition jiu-jitsu today always revolves around the “new thing” and the new kids on the block. When a new talent comes along, we are all suddenly mesmerized by his or her skills and his or her accomplishments. We study their techniques as we do with the Mendes and Miyao brothers’ berimbolo game and Rodolfo Vieira’s uniquely dominant passing style. It’s all about “what’s hot” and “what’s fresh.” The young faces and styles are what’s trending today, and rightfully so. But, with all this hype about the new generation and their unique style of fighting, unfortunately many can tend to forget the older generation and exactly how much they brought into the game as well.

This weekend’s Masters & Seniors Worlds in Long Beach, Calif., helped remind the jiu-jitsu community that there is still much to learn from those of a tad later age than the new whippersnappers, and that there is still plenty of fight and drive in many of the Masters competitors who still compete today.

Although the tournament always seems to carry a lighter and less pressurized mood, there is still a lot of intensity going on in the action, and the black belt Masters category was no exception. In this category, we saw a good mix of older guys coming back to compete once again and many others who are still active today and using this as another tournament in their competition schedule.

At roosterweight and light-featherweight, we saw two older, yet still active, adult competitors, Fabio Passos and Daniel Beleza, step up and take gold in the respective categories. Beleza and Passos have had solid years and they’ve won numerous quality matches, including Beleza’s huge upset win over Guilherme Mendes at the World Championships in June. For both, this was their first Masters World title.

At featherweight, we saw a familiar but long-lost face at the top of the podium in Denilson Pimenta. Once a legitimate contender back in 2008 and 2009, Pimenta backed off from competing seriously, but this weekend proved that he’s still a force to be reckoned with and can still compete at a high level.

At lightweight, Marcos Torregrosa was the standout and made up for his silver-medal finish last year. That time, he lost to Vitor Shaolin in the final. This time, Torregrosa would not be denied of gold and defeated Theodoro Canal,, another legitimate contender a few years back, in the final.

Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa is still considered a top competitor in the middleweight adult category, so he came in this weekend as a clear favorite and showed exactly why he held that distinction. Besides his final against Adriano Silva, which he won by judges’ decision, Formiga cruised through his weight category and won his first-ever Masters & Seniors World title.

Amongst the rest of the black belts, the standouts were Rodrigo Breves, Flavio Almeida, Bruno Bastos and Marcio Corleta, all of whom won their respective categories this past weekend. Then, in the most prestigious division of the event, Bruno Bastos’ brother, Rico, won the absolute category. Rico defeated everyone in his way, including heavyweight champion Flavio Almeida and Almeida’s teammate, Roberto “Tussa” Alencar. With the win, Bastos becomes the event’s second-ever Masters absolute champion (Alexandre Ribeiro claimed the first-ever title last year).

So, there we have our black belt Masters winners at the second annual Masters & Seniors Worlds. Now, make sure to respect your elders! Osss!

Photo: Bruno Bastos (white gi) (Gustavo Aragao/Gracie Mag)

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.