Today, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation released the dates for the first few major championships and Opens coming up in 2013. So, with us taking a quick glance into next year, let’s also put a spotlight on some of the key competitors and match-up’s we can look forward to in those upcoming championships.

The first major championship that will be going down to start the year is the European Championships in Lisbon, Portugal. This annual season kick-off championship has been growing every year since its inaugural event back in 2005. The event in Lisbon has become so big that in 2011 it became the second largest IBJJF major tournament, surpassing the Pans. These huge turnouts have shown a major growth in popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Europe, and now more and more people are also willing to travel to this big event from other countries.

At last years Euro’s, Rodolfo Vieira was once again the star of the show as he won his weight class and the absolute title as he beat his rival, Bernardo Faria, in the absolute finale. The event was also a platform for rising star Roberto Satoshi to stand on. In this event last year, Satoshi put on a remarkable performance in his debut at black belt, defeating Michael Langhi and Jonathan “JT” Torres in consecutive bouts to claim the lightweight title. Also, let’s not forget Keenan Cornelius (a purple belt at the time), who started his double grand slam run at the Euro’s dominating both his weight and absolute and began to make a name for himself.

Next in the IBJJF’s schedule of major tournaments, the scene shifts back to the west coast of the United States where the 2013 Pans will once again be held in Irvine, Calif. (its regular location since 2010). For the first time ever, the Pan will be a five-day event, going from Wednesday to Sunday. This added day only shows that the promoters expect to see a big turnout, perhaps the biggest and best Pan of all-time.

If the 2013 Pans looks to be the “best Pan of all-time,” it’ll have to trump the previous Pans excitement, and there was certainly plenty of it. Who can forget Rafael Mendes’ infamous armbar submission on Rubens “Cobrinha”? At that point, many followers of the heated rivalry believed Mendes was the better fighter, but no one expected to see a submission of the former four-time World champion. It was such a signature moment in the young Mendes’ career that if you were to go to the Mendes Brothers gym, Art Of Jiu-Jitsu in Costa Mesa, Calif., you will find two giant photos of the submission being put in place and the tap by “Cobrinha.”

Also a highlight of the 2012 Pan was the arrival of the dynamic duo that was Marcus “Buchecha” and Antonio “Cara de Sapato.” The two CheckMat aces closed out the absolute bracket in fine form as “Sapato” defeated Bernardo Faria and “Buchecha” won a battle against Kron Gracie. It would end up being “Buchecha” who would use this success as a pedestal for the Worlds, where he would become absolute champion.

Lastly, although the dates have not been set, you can expect to see the Brazilian Nationals in May, followed by the Worlds in June. Both of those championships had their considerable share of memorable moments, and one can bet that there will be plenty more in this new, exciting year coming up!

What are you looking forward to most in the coming year? Comment below and let your voice be heard! Osss!

Photo: The Mendes Brothers (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.