The Breakdown: Pan Ams 2012 Black Belt Absolutes


By Lisa Sabatini

Saturday, March 31 was the third official day of the 2012 IBJJF Pan Ams and the first day for the black belts to step on the mats to compete. Masters, seniors and adult male and female black belt absolutes foreshadowed Sunday’s black belt finals and weight divisons.

Marcus Almeida “Buchecha” (Checkmat) took the day by submitting his way to the finals. Buchecha won his first two fights by submission in less than a minute. He then met Murilo Santana (Barbosa) in the quarterfinals. Santana set a fast pace off the top of the match. Buchecha was able to keep up, taking Santana’s back after some back and forth.

Santana was unable to recover and Buchecha won by points.

On the other side of the division, Kron Gracie (Rickson Gracie), burned his way through to the quarterfinals, submitting Ricardo Evangelista (GF

Team) by kneebar along the way. Kron met Victor Estima (Gracie Barra) in a highly anticipated match up for the quarterfinals. As quickly as the match began, it was ended when Estima was disqualified for reaping the knee. Fortunately fans may see Kron and Estima collide again in their weight division Sunday.

Antonio Carlos (Checkmat) and Wancler Costa (GF Team) met with fireworks in their quarterfinal fight. There was plenty of movement betweenthe two with Costa using jump passes and Carlos matching the pace. In the end, Carlos took the win over Costa.

Bernardo Faria (Alliance) armbarred his way to the quarterfinals to find James Puopolo (Ribeiro JJ). Puopolo beat Abmar Barbosa (Drysdale) by points to enter the quarterfinals. Faria made short work of Puopolo via armbar.

In the semifinals, Buchecha and Kron crossed paths in one of the biggest battles of the day. Buchecha dislocated a finger in Kron’s gi almost immediately, but forced it back into place to continue the match. Points added up 4-2 for Buchecha, then 4-4 with an advantage for Kron. Buchecha attempted  a toe hold, Kron defended, Buchecha

snatched a kneebar and submit Kron to enter the finals.

Faria and Carlos met in the other half of the semifinals with Carlos narrowly beating Faria by points. Carlos and Buchecha are meant to fight in the finals Sunday, though the Checkmat teammates may close out the division without a fight.

The women’s black belt absolute division, though less populated, saw Luanna Alzuguir (Alliance) and Gabi Garcia (Alliance) submit their way to the finals and close out the division as well.

Both women are world champions. Luanna Alzuguir fights as a middle weight, while Gabi Garcia fights in the heavy weight division. They will be forces to reckon with Sunday.


Photos provided by Mike Calimbas Photography

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