2011 IBJJF 'Mundials' World Jiu Jitsu Championship Preview Part 1

Photo by Alicia Anthony via www.ibjjf.org

This is a guest post by Ben Thapa, part of the Bloody Elbow grappling coverage team.

Submission grappling is a booming sport. Clubs are popping up all over the world, strong grapplers come onto the scene Ratatouille-style from anywhere and everywhere and the sport is gaining eyeballs and participants like never before. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the most famous form of submission grappling, will have the Mundials, its world championships, this year on June 2, 3, 4 and 5th, 2011. The Mundials is perhaps the biggest and best annual grappling competion and features so many hungry grapplers chasing their fame and fortune that it's worth paying attention to for all combat sports fans.

This year, due to injuries, retirements from the competitive scene, upcoming MMA fights and the slightly more prestigious ADCC in September, we won't see some of the absolute best of the best compete in the 2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championship. It's sad to miss some of the legends, but rest assured, there's plenty of absurdly good grapplers that'll fight for wins and for the gold.

When I say "plenty", I do mean plenty - the divisions this year are often enormous, with some of the men's blue belt divisions having nearly 100+ competitors and men's black belt leve having 30+ grapplers. The women's purple belt absolute has 34 registered competitors and the future looks bright for women's grappling. It's good for grappling to have so many strong competitors, but it means a long and difficult road to the top for those who want to win.

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) uses a weight class system with Portuguese names. 

The following are for adult males:

Galo

126.5 lbs

57.5 kg

Pluma

141 lbs

64 kg

Pena

154 lbs

70 kg

Leve

167.5 lbs

76 kg

Medio

181 lbs

82.3 kg

Meio-pesado

194.5 lbs

88.3 kg

Pesado

207.5 lbs

94.3 kg

Super-pesado

221 lbs

100.5 kg

Pesadissimo

No maximum weight

 

For adult females:

Pluma

118 lbs

53.5 kg

Pena

129 lbs

58.5 kg

Leve

141 lbs

64 kg

Medio

152 lbs

69 kg

Meio-pesado

163 lbs

74 kg

Pesado

No maximum weight

 

And of course, Absoluto = open weight.

We'll focus our Bloody Elbow coverage primarily on the marquee black belt divisions, but here's a few non-black belts to watch out for:

Some of you may remember Joe "Leonidas" Henle, who appeared on TUF 11 and is 4-0-1 in professional MMA. He lost a close decision to Seth Baczynski and Court McGee got the wild card to move on. Henle is registered to compete in purple super-pesado - and he's being super quiet about it on Twitter too. Be wary of jinxing him, but keep an eye on how he does. 

Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaita) is the daughter of Wellington "Megaton" Dias, a very well known black belt, and is likely the rising star to pay attention to in the womens' purple pena and absolute divisions. She looked very impressive in winning her division and the absolute in this year's Pan Ams.

Kit Dale (Peter de Been JJ) has had an amazing run over the last few months. Dale is the Aussie purple belt who came out of relatively nowhere to win both the Abu Dhabi Pro in the 83 kg gi division and the Brazilian gi nationals at 85 kg, as well as placing second in the Abu Dhabi Pro no gi 86 kg division. The Brazilian nationals win was particularly impressive as it came right on the heels of his success in Abu Dhabi. Dale is certainly someone to watch at that division, but so is his nemesis of sorts, DJ Jackson.

DeAlonzio "DJ" Jackson (Lloyd Irvin) is a former wrestler who had a great tournament at the Abu Dhabi Pro, as he beat Dale to win the purple belt 86 kg no gi division, won the purple belt no gi open and finished third in the 83 kg gi division. He's also won gold in the Pan Ams no-gi tournament and double gold at no gi Worlds.

Gianni Grippo (Renzo Gracie) has amassed a reputation online as someone really worth watching and he'll be competing in the purple belt pena division - along with 66 other grapplers. Grippi will be looking to add to the multiple Pan Ams and world titles he's already amassed.

In the mens' Brown Pena division, Michel Langhi (Alliance, and Michael's younger brother - yeah, that Michael Langhi) is probably someone to keep an eye on, as well as Jonathan Thomas (Alliance USA), who won his division at Pan Ams - over Michel.

James Harbison (Lloyd Irvin) is a brown belt grappler from Lloyd Irvin's team and placed second in the black belt no gi 83 kg division in the Abu Dhabi Pro and won a gold and bronze at Pan Ams this year. Harbison will grapple at medio in this tournament.

Also grappling at brown belt medio will be Christian Graugart (Team Carvalho), the man behind Zoozhitzu do Graugardo and BJJGlobetrotter. He's easily the finest BJJ blogger I have ever digitally stumbled upon and comes across as an incredibly cool person with some serious game. He's been traveling and photo-blogging the world as essentially a BJJ/surf bum for over three months and may not have the best results this year, but you can bet he'll have awesome pictures and good stories. If you come across him, feed him a good burger, people.

Alexander Trans (Checkmat) won two golds at Pan Ams and competes at brown belt Pesadissimo, so he may be hard to miss out on the mats.  

Did I miss anyone? Let me know in the comments! Also, for those Bloody Elbow readers who are competing in this year's Mundials or know someone who's competing in the Mundials, keep us updated on the results in the comments.

I'd like to selfishly use this space to do a couple well wishes to friends. Good luck and get that hardware, Gylius (Brown Pesado) and Mateo (Purple Pluma).

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