Unlike the main Gi competition season which starts in January and goes until June (and even afterwards there are always IBJJF Opens to be had), the No-Gi season’s length can mimic its style—fast and explosive. Sometimes if you look away for too long, it’s already over and just like that, the 2013 No-Gi competition season is behind us.

So, before we roll along into the next Gi tournament and the next big Gi competition season, let’s take a look back at the best of what No-Gi offered us in 2013:

Best No-Gi Competitor: Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu (Fight Sports)

Although Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu did not have a perfect run at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship in 2013, he is still deserving of best No-Gi competitor honor in 2013 because of his strong performance to claim the most coveted title today in the grappling world.

After losing to Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida in his +99kg (over 218 pounds) semifinal in Beijing, China, Cyborg was not considered one of the favorites to do much in the absolute category. However, it was there that he proved everyone wrong. The longtime black belt had a great run to his first ADCC title by defeating a trio of young, tough talent that included Garry Tonon, Keenan Cornelius and, ultimately, Buchecha in the final.

At the end of the day, everyone will remember his match with Almeida. Cyborg simply dominated, winning by a convincing 10-0 score. The absolute belonged to Cyborg, and to honor that, the award for best competitor goes to him as well.

Honorable mentions: Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Kron Gracie, Murilo Santana

Best Fight: Kron Gracie (Rickson Gracie) vs. Garry Tonon (Ricardo Almeida/Renzo Gracie)

There were many “best fights” to choose from at the 2013 ADCC, but the one between Kron Gracie and Garry Tonon was a winner because of the drama it had right to the very end. In the second round of the -77kg (under 169.8 pounds) category, the new Ricardo Almeida black belt, Tonon, gave Gracie all he could handle. Tonon ultimately scored the first six points of the match and took a 6-0 lead.

However, as we have all come to learn when it comes to Kron, you cannot count him out in any match. Shortly after escaping from Tonon’s back control, Gracie went on the attack and took Tonon’s back, making it 6-3. With little time left, Gracie sunk in a choke that forced Tonon to tap. It was later revealed that there were only three seconds left in the bout.
So, thanks to both competitors amazing effort and heart, this match takes home the gold for best fight of 2013.

Honorable mention: Eduardo Telles vs. Felipe Pena

Best Submission: Keenan Cornelius (Atos) vs. Lucas Leite (CheckMat)

Keenan Cornelius, one of the new generation black belts, has already been turning heads at his new rank, but never more so than he did in his superfight at Renzo Gracie’s World Jiu-Jitsu Expo against Lucas Leite.

It came as a surprise to some to see Cornelius defeat a highly touted former World champion in Leite, but it was even more of a surprise to see him do so via an armbar submission.

The match was a back-and-forth affair from start to finish, with the two men trading takedown attempts and sweeps throughout. Heading towards the end of the match, Cornelius was able to apply a beautiful armbar started with a kimura grip, forcing Leite to tap.

Honorable mentions: Andre Galvao’s rear naked choke vs. Braulio Estima, Kron Gracie’s guillotine vs. Otavio Sousa

Best Non-Black Belt: Mansher Khera (Alliance/Marcelo Garcia)

Mansher “Munchi” Khera, is no longer an unknown. The Marcelo Garcia product had his big breakout at the No-Gi Worlds this year, where he won gold in the lightweight category and the absolute.

After being a brown belt for only five months, Khera has one big stat that jumps out in his successful world title run: he did not surrender a single point in eight matches. Khera won his weight class and absolute final by a combined 30-0 score.

The 21-year-old, who lives in New York, was coming in with some great momentum after having won his weight class at the No-Gi Pan and Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials, but not many could have really seen this type of dominance coming. Now, with these big wins, he has catapulted himself to a status as one of the best brown belts in the world today. Khera will look to further solidify that consideration in 2014.

Honorable mentions: Jared Dopp, Marcio Andre, Isaque Bahiense Braz

What stood out most to you in this year’s No-Gi competition season? Also, who were some of your favorite fighters to watch? Comment below. Osss!

Photo: Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu (Erin Herle/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.