IBJJF 2014 Worlds Coverage: Day 2 Preview
Female Blues, Male and Female Purples, and some Brown belts for good measure
Written by Josh Sequeira
Our coverage for the IBJJF Worlds continues today as we preview Day 2 which will involve a number of high profile up and coming coloured belts. Be on the lookout for these top notch athletes on Friday!
Valerie Aspaas – Adult Female Blue Light
Aspaas is gritty, aggressive, and relentless. After winning the Pans earlier this year, the Alliance product based out of Buffalo, New York will look to battle her way to gold at the Worlds.
Tara White – Adult Female Blue Heavy
A member of team Atos, White is an absolute powerhouse. She has proved to be an unstoppable force, winning double gold at 7 IBJJF events since 2012 including 4 No gi Worlds titles (2012 & 2013 weight and absolute), and 4 Pans titles (2013 & 2014 weight and absolute). With a Worlds title being the only thing evading her incredible blue belt resume, she will be an incredibly tough draw in the divisional and absolute brackets.
Since winning the No gi Pans last fall, Najmi has won 6 gold medals at 5 separate IBJJF competitions including this year’s Pans. The #1 IBJJF Featherweight is also a FIVE Grappling Purple Belt Open champion. Strong, technical, and explosive, the Romulo Barral prodigy stands out in a division full of top notch competitors
Alex Hodi – Adult Male Purple Feather
Relentless in his attacks, the Caique Jiu Jitsu golden boy truly is a competitor to look out for. Hodi has been on a tear for some time now, and after a razor close match with Najmi which didn’t go his way in the finals of the Pans this March, Hodi will look to avenge the loss and pursue his first Worlds title.
Rolando Samson – Adult Male Purple Light
Team Atos’ Samson is a dynamic submission artist who constantly moves and pushes the pace. Don’t blink when this budding star is on the mats, his speed, aggression, and heart are a thing of beauty to watch.
Dante Leon – Adult Male Purple Light
An absolute tactician, Leon’s style, swagger and approach to jiu jitsu is both crowd pleasing and very impressive. The Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu product is a multi-time Worlds and Pans champion and a constant submission threat. Based on the brackets, a matchup between Leon and Samson is a definite possibility, and fans definitely will not want to miss the fireworks.
Nicholas Meregali – Adult Male Purple Medium Heavy
Hands down the best purple belt in the world right now, Meregali has won double gold at all 3 IBJJF majors this year – the Europeans, the Pans and the Brazilian Nationals. Without a doubt, the Alliance prodigy will be incredibly exciting to watch as he pursues double gold in the hopes of being the second purple belt to ever complete the coveted ‘double grand slam,’ a benchmark only ever achieved by BJJ superstar Keenan Cornelius.
Ana Carolina Vieira Srour – Adult Female Purple Middle
The sister of 4 time black belt World Champ and newly inducted IBJJF Hall of Famer Rodolfo Viera definitely takes after her brother with her pressure and aggressive nature on the mats. Be on the lookout for this GF Team girl as she looks to follow up her double gold blue belt performance at last year’s world with her fourth overall world title.
Yacinta Nguyen-Huu – Adult Female Purple Medium Heavy
This prodigy who trains out of the BTT Canada headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, Canada will definitely be exciting to watch. Possessing unbelievable throws, combined with a methodical, technical style, Yacinta has won the Abu Dhabi World Pro in 2013 at blue belt and this year at purple, and regularly trounces purple and brown belts at events in Canada. In a very thin division, Yacinta is arguably the girl to beat.
Hanna Klara Benedikte Tibbling – Adult Female Purple Heavy
This Europeans Champion representing Checkmat will be very difficult to slow down after winning 5 gold medals at 3 IBJJF events this year alone. With minimal opposition available at her weight class, Tibbling will be a threat to win both her division and the absolute.
At all belt levels, there are plenty of exciting, top notch competitors from all corners of the globe. For the blue and purple belts, we try to highlight a couple special athletes to watch. This becomes much more difficult at brown and black belt as divisions are smaller and practically everyone is worth a look. For these divisions, the format will be slightly altered as we preview more individuals per division.
Adult Male Rooster
Frontrunner: Francis Valledor Tejano (Alliance) – the Pans champion will be looking to clean up
Right behind him: Henry Iribe (Alliance) – right behind Tejano is his teammate. The question has to be asked, if the two meet in the finals, will a close out occur or will the boys do battle?
Wild Card: Firdavs Sulaimonov (Ribeiro JJ) – a dynamic, aggressive ball of energy, the Toronto BJJ product will look to power his way to gold.
Adult Male Light Feather
Frontrunner: Andris Brunovskis (Atos) – a brilliant showing at the Pans, including an excellent victory in the finals over Woolf Barnato puts Brunovskis atop this division
Right behind him: Woolf Barnato (Gracie Elite) – of course, after losing a razor close match, Barnato will definitely be out to avenge his loss, and chase his second straight world title
Wild Card: Magno Mota Vieira (Brigadeiro) – the relatively unknown Brazilian has an excellent game and could surprise many
Adult Male Feather
Frontrunner: Marcio Andre (Nova Uniao) – the bonafide superstar in the making did not compete at the Pans, but will be smashing guards in full force tomorrow. The multi-time world champ is the clear favourite to win gold.
Right behind him: Isaac Doederlein (Alliance) – one of Cobrinha’s top students, Doederlein has impressed many this year. At the Europeans, he took home a gold and bronze, and he won bronze at the Pans with his teammates taking Gold and Silver.
Wild Cards: Fabio Caloi and Jacob Sandoval (Alliance) – the Alliance teammates took gold and silver respectively at the Pans ahead of Isaac, with very exciting styles, these gentlemen will definitely be worth your attention
Frontrunner: Michael Liera Jr (Atos) – a prodigy at Andre Galvao’s academy in San Diego, Liera was borderline unstoppable at the Pans and barely broke a sweat submitting opponents left, right and centre. He is a cut above the rest in an incredibly stacked division.
Right behind him: Mansher Khera (Alliance) – A top student of Marcelo Garcia, Khera is very good everywhere, and has a game much like his instructor. He will be exciting to watch and an incredibly tough draw in the brackets
Wild Cards: Darson Hemmings (Openmat MMA) – the former Pans champ at Roosterweight and this year’s light featherweight Europeans champ will chase the title of ‘World Champion’ at a much heavier weight class after packing on some size. Look out for constant back takes and foot attacks from Darson
We hope you are enjoying our coverage of the Worlds this year, be sure to check our site and facebook page regularly for updates, and be on the lookout for our next article previewing the remaining brown belts as well as black belts!
Josh Sequeira is a writer and content producer for Grapplers Planet. A blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he is an active competitor and student of the art. He has an Honours BA in English Literature and is working towards a degree in education.