The 2017 competitive grappling season closed out with the IBJJF No Gi Worlds on December 16 and 17. At the end of the day, the matches across every division brought the action that grappling fans wanted to see. There were prominent names such as Caio Terra who continued to build their legacy, and younger athletes like Pati Fontes and Renato Canuto who continued to put the rest of the sport on notice.
Terra continued his dominance at the No Gi Worlds showcase. Terra never looked out of place in his run to his tenth straight title. His streak started back in 2008 and continued with a victory over Tomoyuki Hasimoto by advantages. Terra is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound competitors to ever step on the mat and his performance this weekend built that narrative.
Renato Canuto continued his impressive December with a victory in the lightweight division. He defeated a very game opponent in AJ Agazarm in the finals. He earned the victory with three advantages to Agazarm’s one. This month alone he’s won two of the biggest events of his career with a victory at KASAI Pro in early December, and now gold in this event over the weekend.
Joao Miyao earned his second No Gi Worlds title when he defeated Lucas Pinheiro in the light featherweight title. Heading into the final it seemed like Pinheiro would be a tough opponent for Miyao, but he found himself tapping to a standing rear naked choke to finish the day.
Keenan Cornelius and Murilo Santana continued their rivalry in the final of the medium heavy division. Much of this match was contested on the feet where Cornelius went for multiple takedowns that Santana fought off, one after another. Cornelius hit a blast double that Santana couldn’t stop. Santana was unable to return the favor and score from his back as Cornelius held on for a huge win to close out the year.
Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa was the big winner of the weekend as he took home two gold medals. He walked out of the venue as the super heavyweight and absolute champion. To win his weight class he had to defeat the always tough Joao Assis and he did so yet again. He finished Assis with a north-south choke for the second time in December. He then faced Joao Rocha in the finals of the absolute division and won that bout 2-0 to take home the open weight title.
The women were equally impressive on their side of the tournament. Talita Alencar added the featherweight gold medal to the list of accolades across grappling that she’s earned in 2017. Pati Fontes also added a gold medal to her title stand as she won the light featherweight division. There was also some history made in the women’s division as Jena Bishop and Heather Raftery became the first two American women to make it to the finals at the same time. Bishop momentum through the early matches helped her find a 7-2 victory in the end.
With 2018 a few days away, this season closed out in California with No Gi Worlds 2017. Across the divisions everyone showed up and the best names took home the top medals; setting the stage for competitive grappling to continue to grow next year.
Matches are available for streaming on FloGrappling.com.
2017 No Gi Worlds Black Belt Gold Medalists
Roosterweight: Caio Terra
Light Feather: Joao Miyao
Featherweight: Osvaldo Augusto
Lightweight: Renato Canuto
Middleweight: Josh Hinger
Medium Heavy: Keenan Cornelius
Heavyweight: Roberto Torralbas
Super Heavyweight: Lucas Barbosa
Ultra Heavyweight: Cyborg Abreu
Light Feather: Pati Fontes
Featherweight: Talita Alencar
Lightweight: Jena Bishop
Middleweight: Raquel Canuto