2013 Pan Jiu Jitsu Results: Ben Henderson Impresses, Buchecha Dominates, and Rivalries Renewed

A wrap up of the important events of the 2013 Pan Ams and talking points heading towards Mundials.

The 2013 Pan Ams are over and champions have been crowned. There is plenty of talk about looking back at all the action that took place, but what jumps out right away is the double gold medal of Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida. Given his weight-class was riddled by injury, but it is another set of medals added to his impressive trophy case.

It looks more and more like Buchecha's jaw-dropping match with Roger Gracie at Metamoris was a passing of the torch as Buchecha continues to gather Absolute titles. His match with Andre Galvao was an excellent display of all aspects of jiu jitsu; it had everything from great standing grappling and takedowns to sublime transitions and ground grappling. Buchecha looks very much like a super star on the rise and is a must watch now for fans of sport grappling.

Enjoy his match with Galvao courtesy of Budovideos

Marcus Buchecha Almeida vs Andre Galvao Epic Pan 2013 Open Weight Final - OFFICIAL (via Budovideosdotcom)

Other thoughts coming out of this weekend's Pan Ams:

  • Andre Galvao looked dominant in his run through Medium Heavyweight, but it was a bit of a pity to see him close out the bracket with teammate Gustavo Campos. To make it to the finals, Campos won an excellent match with multiple-time world champion Rômulo Barral of Gracie Barra and it would have been nice for him to have a chance at gold.
  • Rafael Mendes and Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" had a hotly contested, if not the most thrilling match. These two have likely the best rivalry in the sport as the advantage in their matches has swung in favor of Mendes recently. Cobrinha stopped nearly all of Mendes' famed berimbolo sweeps and managed to end the match at a 2-2 tie. The referees all agreed on a victory for Mendes, but Cobrinha clearly demonstrated he isn't done fighting for the division crown.
  • Another rivalry got some new life breathed into it when Caio Terra finally got the better of Alliance's Bruno Malfacine with a masterful performance, both technically and tactically. Malfacine has ruled Roosterweight for the last two years and this is the first real crack in his armor we've seen.
  • Clark Gracie finally broke through after years of falling short and bad luck to finally win a major tournament at black belt. A long and lanky omoplata master, Clark, won the Pan Am title in dramatic fashion and he has a real chance to win his first world title this year.
  • Omoplatas and two handed clock chokes from the back were everywhere. It's always fun to see what techniques become popular and there were a lot of omoplatas, both for submissions and sweeps.
  • Brown belt had a lot of action and Ben Henderson was impressive, navigating a very tough division to the third round. This might seem like a disappointment for the UFC Lightweight champion, but this is a whole different sport and to achieve at the brown belt level is a huge accomplishment. It is refreshing to see an MMA fighter that's willing to put himself out there and, even though he lost, he should be praised for what he accomplished and that he was willing to try.
  • Keenan Cornelius again took double gold, continuing his impressive march towards black belt. Together with AJ Agazarm and Gianni Grippo, Cornelius is the vanguard of a new generation of American born grapplers that might shake loose the death grip on the black belt divisions held by the Brazilians.
  • That is not to say the Brazilians don't have super prospects of their own; the Miyao brothers look like powerhouses in the making as well as they both won their weight class and took medals in absolutes.
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