IBJJF 2014 Pans Preview: Purple Belts to Look Out For
Eric Cong Phan – Adult Male Purple Light Feather
The young purple belt from Toronto’s Openmat MMA is on a quest to win what is called the ‘Grand Slam,’ a gold medal in each of the Europeans, Pans, Brazileiros and Worlds. Phan has already won gold at the Europeans in quite dominating fashion, and will look to take Pan gold back to Toronto as well.
Edwin Najmi – Adult Male Purple Feather
Najmi, one of Romulo Barral’s prodigies, is an excellent blend of speed, explosiveness and technique. He has been dominating all his recent opponents with ease this year, and with most of his major divisional adversaries now at brown belt, Najmi is a clear favourite to win gold.
Dante Leon – Adult Male Purple Light
The budding Ribeiro JJ star won his division and took silver in the open at the Pans last year at blue belt. Since receiving his purple belt after another medal at the Worlds in 2013, Dante has won 5 medals in the three IBJJF Opens he has entered (4 gold, 1 bronze), including a brilliant double gold performance at the Toronto Open. After another double gold performance at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials in Montreal, Leon is peaking at the right time.
Devon Daniel Delbrugge and Joseph Justin Ruggiero – Adult Male Purple Middle
These two Lloyd Irvin up and comers are seasoned competitors who will be tough to beat. Ruggiero won gold in the blue belt middle division at last year’s Pans, and took home a bronze in the open, while Delbrugge won the same division at last year’s Worlds and collected a silver in the open. Since earning their purple belts, the duo has been conquering the podium all over the IBJJF Open circuit, and will definitely put on great performances in their division.
This young man is an unstoppable force. Since 2012, Isaque has won 17 gold medals at 10 IBJJF events, as well as another 2 silver medals. The young Nova Uniao warrior is a double gold machine and is the favourite to win his division, with a strong shot at also winning the absolute division.
Jared Lynn Dopp – Adult Male Purple Super Heavy
Rafael Lovato Jr’s purple belt made a name for himself with an excellent showing at ADCC, holding his own with the best grapplers in the world. After an excellent 2013 on the IBJJF circuit, with a silver medal at the Worlds and gold at the No gi Worlds, Dopp is the clear favourite to win his relatively thin division.
Erin Herle – Adult Female Purple Feather
The Cobrinha BJJ fighter will put her skills to the test after recently winning double gold in Montreal at the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials. A bronze medalist at last year’s worlds, Herle always puts on a good show and will be exciting to watch.