The 2013 World Jiu-Jitsu Championships are now only 16 days away and the anticipation is increasing steadily with each passing day. As the athletes continue to put in the preparation towards the biggest tournament of the year, there are plenty of interesting storylines going into this year Worlds.

Without any tournaments taking place this weekend and no events to cover, let’s take this week to look at some of the athletes and storylines we can look forward to seeing at this coming World Championship in Long Beach, Calif.

Caio Terra Moves Up To Light-Featherweight

In a rather surprising move, Caio Terra, this year’s roosterweight champion, made the decision to move up from his regular weight class to compete in the light-feather category. There is no confirmed reason as to why the 2008 roosterweight champ decided to move up, but one guess is that Terra could simply be looking for a different scene with different opponents.

For the last four years, Terra has made the roosterweight final, but each year he has fallen short to his arch-nemesis, Bruno Malfacine, and each fight has been very close and questionable. So perhaps Terra is looking to avoid another final with Malfacine. But things won’t be getting any easier for Terra now that he is in the mix with top-notch athletes such as Guilherme Mendes, Laercio Fernandes, Samuel Braga, Carlos Holanda, Thomas Lisboa and Ary Farias. So the road to becoming a two-time World champion will still be one filled with difficult challenges.

The Potential Absolute Final Between “Buchecha” and Rodolfo Vieira

Last year’s absolute battle between Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and the then-defending absolute champion Rodolfo Vieira was considered one of the greatest Worlds matches of all time, and it had everything you’d like in a great match. The only downside to the fight was that it was only the quarterfinals and didn’t have the Sunday final spotlight it rightfully deserved.

In 2013, though, due to that epic match and their equally thrilling bout in Abu Dhabi, the two champions are almost guaranteed to be placed on opposite ends of the bracket. If that is indeed the case, they would be scheduled to meet in the final, assuming they get through all of their preliminary matches. But with jiu-jitsu, you just never know what can happen and anyone can have their day. Who knows, maybe Bernardo Faria, Xande Ribeiro, Claudio Calasans, Leo Nogueira or someone else can provide the upset that keeps the fans from seeing the final that most are dying to see.

Rafael and Guilherme Mendes Each Seek Their Fourth World Title

The Mendes brothers always seem to be completely equal with each other. Both have similar styles, both are super talented and both are on the track to win their fourth World title together. In 2011, they became the first pair of brothers to win their respective weight classes at black belt in the same year, and now in 2013 they’re looking to achieve that same feat for the third time in a row.

Rafael Mendes will be fighting in his usual featherweight category where he has reigned supreme since 2010 and has won the title every year since. In his career, the younger of the brothers has only lost one bout in all the World championships in which he has taken part. That happened to be against four-time champion Rubens “Cobrinha” back in 2009 via a judges’ decision. Now fast forward to 2013, Mendes’ main challenge looks to be Cobrinha yet again. Yet this time all the momentum is on Mendes’ side as he has not lost to Cobrinha since that match at the 2009 Worlds.

Guilherme Mendes will once again be making the difficult cut to light-featherweight in search of his fourth title in his fifth year as a black belt. “Gui” was the first of the two brothers to claim a black belt World title, winning in his very first try in 2009, but he would be eliminated early in 2010, allowing his brother Rafael to even up the score. This year, Gui Mendes’ biggest tests appear to be Alliance’s Laercio Fernandes and Brasa’s Caio Terra. Last year, Mendes defeated Fernandes by a judges’ decision in the division’s finale, but the Alliance member, training consistently with Cobrinha, is always steadily improving and bringing more to the table with each passing year.

What or who else are you looking forward to watch at this years Worlds? What match-ups are you craving to see go down? Comment below and let yourself be heard! Osss!

Photo: Caio Terra (Ivan Trindade/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.