By Lisa Sabatini
After 4 days of top notch Jiu Jitsu, the 2012 Pan Ams came to a close with the black belt divisions in California on Sunday, March 31st.
Battles were won and lost but the stand out of the weekend was Marcus Almeida “Buchecha” (Checkmat). Winning every fight in the black belt Ultra Heavy division as well as the open weight Absolute division, Buchecha was on fire.
In a rematch from the Saturday black belt absolutes, Bernardo Faria (Alliance) and Antonio Carlos (Checkmat) fought in the Super Heavy finals. This time Faria came out on top taking the Pan American 2012 Super Heavy title.
The Heavy weight division held some surprises. Yuri Simoes (Checkmat), competing
as a black belt for the first time, defeated Rafael Lovato Jr. by referee decision. Simoes closed out the division with his Checkmat teammate Lucas Leite. Leite took the Heavy weight title.
Romulo Barral did not fight at Medium Heavy due to injury, but the division was still stacked with skilled competitors. Kayron Gracie (Gracie Barra) and Vitor Toledo (Atos) fought in the finals. Kayron immediately took side control then sunk in a deep lapel choke to win the championship by submission.
In the Middle weight black belt division Claudio Calasans (Atos) and Victor Estima (Gracie Barra) met in the finals. The division was jammed with tough competitors. Calasans defeated Clark Gracie (Gracie Elite) in the semifinals. Estima overcame Kron Gracie (Rickson Gracie) in their semifinal matchup.
Calasans won the Middle weight gold over Estima by points.
Leandro Lo (Cicero Costha) and Lucas Lepri (Alliance) battled for the Light weight gold. Lo scored an early 2 points, while Lepri worked to pass Lo’s guard. Time ran out and Leandro Lo won the Light weight title.
The Always impressive Mendes Brothers (Atos) did not disappoint. In the Feather weight division Rafael Mendes (Atos) crossed paths once again with Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” (Alliance). Rafa wasted no time in his attack against Cobrinha. Grabbing ahold of Cobrinha’s arm, Rafa forced the first submission win from Cobrinha in recent memory by armbar.
Guilherme Mendes (Atos) submitted his way to the Light Feather finals to meet Bruno Malfacine (Alliance). Malfacine scored an early 2 points with a single leg take down on Guilherme. Guilherme worked for a Brabo choke, then an omaplata which had Malfacine fighting defensively for most of the match. Guilherme earned an advantage but was unable to gain points or submit Malfacine. Bruno Malfacine took the Light Feather gold.
In the black belt Rooster weight division Caio Terra (Gracie Elite) found Rafael Freitas (Gracie Barra). Terra got an early advantage but quickly followed it up with a kneebar submission to the Rooster weight championship title.
Women’s black belt Light weight finals had Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita) meet Fabiana Borges (Gracie Barra) with a sweep to Borges’ back. Mesquita worked for the choke and won the Light weight title by submission.
Luanna Alzuguir (Alliance) came up against Vanessa Oliveira (GF Team) and won the women’s Middle weight championship.
Hannette Staack (Brazil 021) took the women’s Medium heavy gold over Valerie Worthington (Alliance).
In the women’s Heavy weight division Gabrielle Garcia (Alliance) fought Emily Wetzel (BJJ Revolution). Wetzel came out flying at Garcia, but was unable to overcome the defending champion. Garcia submit Wetzel by choke and won the Heavy weight gold.
Photos Courtesy of Mike Calimbas Photography http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Calimbas-Photography/293357887386013