4 Things for an MMA Fan to Watch for at No Gi Worlds


Long Beach California plays host to the IBJJF No Gi Jiu Jitsu World Championships this weekend and some of the best no gi submission grapplers will be competing for the title of best in the world. It promises for a weekend full of action, and if you're interested in catching the live Budovideos stream of the event but don't know a toe hold from a choke hold here are four things to watch for during the action.

1. Xande Ribeiro

Younger bother of BJJ legend Saulo Ribeiro, Alexandre Ribeiro is one of the most accomplished living grapplers. Known as Xande, there are many who argue that he has surpassed Roger Gracie by virtue of staying active in the competition scene and defeating Gracie twice in competition. Ribeiro has already fought two MMA fights in Sengoku one in 2008 and the other in 2009. Ironically won both of them with striking and Xande states that he learned a great deal from his first foray into MMA about conditioning. A two time ADCC Champion, Xande is an extremely dynamic no gi grappler and is always on the attack, looking to turn any situation to his advantage. His mix of technical excellence and aggressive mindset makes him an imposing grappler to face and entertaining to watch.

2. Lightweight Talent

The lightweight black belt bracket is small but extremely talented. Lucas Lepri has won the last three No Gi World Championships and just recently took silver at the Mundials, the gi jiu jitsu world championships. Lepri is returning to defend his title, but he is facing a difficult field. The man who defeated Lepri at the Mundials, Leandro Lo, has entered the lists. Gracie Humaita's American prodigy Zack Maxwell, Team Llyod Irvin's JT Torres, and Marcelo Motta help add depth to watch could be the most compelling bracket in the event.

3. Possible Barral/Popovitch Showdown

In the Medium-Heavy bracket two fantastic grapplers find themselves on opposite sides of the brackets. Romulo Barral is a four time world champion, three in the gi and once out of the gi, and is a student of the legendary Gracie Barra instructor Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhães. Side lined for over a year due to knee injuries, Romulo returned to the ranks of the elite by winning the 2012 Mundials. Some MMA fans might recognize Barral as the man who choked Demian Maia out cold.

On the other side of the bracket is Pablo Popvitch, one of the best no grapplers on the planet. A two time no gi world champion and an ADCC champion, Popvitch has collected medals and awards from various tournaments and promotions and is the head of the grappling team "The Avengers", which is attending the event in strength. Many grappling fans will likely be rooting for Barral and Popvitch to meet in the finals.

4. Bright Prospects

Brown belt features two of the hottest prospects in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Team Llyod Irvin's Medium-Heavyweight Keenan Cornelius has been taking the BJJ community by storm in the last year or so. In that time period Keenan has won just about every tournament worth winning twice, at his weight and in the openweight. It is an unprecedented accomplishment and Keenan's momentum hasn't slowed at all at brown belt. Keenan continues to wow fans with his seemingly effortless skill and no gi world championships promises to be no difference.

In the lightweight division at brown belt, former Ohio State wrestler AJ Agazarm will be competing for Gracie Barra. An excellent wrestler, Agazarm has taken to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu very quickly and rather than become 'just a wrestler in a jacket' he has developed a well rounded game very quickly. He is one of Gracie Barra's brightest prospects and is collecting medals at an impressive, if not historic, rate. Both he and Keenan promise to be major players for the U.S. at black belt in coming years.

If you're interested in watching the IBJJF No Gi Worlds, there is a live stream for $20 on Budovideos. It is a two day event and on that stream not only do you get access to every weight, age and belt class but thanks their multi-mat set up viewers can pick and choose matches to watch. Just a few years ago only those in building could hope to see these matches and the rest of us had to wait months for VHS tapes or DVDs to be released, but now it is possible to see every match thanks to this new technology.

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