Looking back at the 2018 edition of the IBJJF World Championships, the word “historic” should come to mind. There’s a multitude of storylines to recount that ended in dramatic fashion; setting the stage for multiple-time champions to continue their dominance and first-time winners to emerge as the new names to watch. Whatever your rooting interests, last weekend’s event was one worth appreciating simply because the amount of history that occurred on the IBJJF mats.
The recap conversation about Worlds 2018 should start with Marcus Almeida, Bruno Malfacine and Beatriz Mesquita. These men and women cemented themselves as the standard for competitive grappling as each one took home their 11th, 10th and 8th world title, respectively.
“Buchecha’s” victory in the ultra-heavyweight division placed him in a class all his own, as he became the only competitor to win 11 titles. He surpassed Roger Gracie to continue his run that dates back to 2012. Since then he’s secured double-gold in five of the last seven tournaments. He could have included 2018 in that run, but he closed out the absolute division with his teammate and friend, Leandro Lo, with Lo taking the gold medal. Even if Almeida’s record is matched in the future, he’s claimed a position that further bolsters his already stellar resume.
Alliance standout, Bruno Malfacine is hot on Almeida’s heels. Since 2007 Malfacine has pushed his way to the top of the Roosterweight division. This weekend he took his 10th title to sit beside Gracie and Almeida as one of the only three athletes to reach that point. He’s won ten of the last twelve World titles, with two going to Caio Terra. While he and Terra were once considered rivals, exchanging wins and losses, Malfacine has been on such a tear that he’s pulled away from Terra and the rest of the field at the same time.
That leaves Beatriz Mesquita. In winning her title in the 64 kilogram title, she tied Michelle Nicolini as the only two women to win eight titles. Six of those wins are within the division and two others are in the absolute division; going back to back in 2013 and 2014. “Bia” is coming off of a huge 2017 that including a title at ADCC. The 27-year-old athlete continues to impress and has positioned herself for a continued streak of success.
This wasn’t the only historical moment as Jamil Hill-Taylor became the first African American to win a world title. The Team Lloyd Irvin member found a way to overcome the odds and take home the featherweight gold medal. Along the way he defeated Isaque Paiva, Marcio Andre and Leo Saggioro to claim the crown. In a sport that doesn’t have a large following among African Americans, this is a major moment for Hill, his team and the sport as a whole. Hill is the sixth American male to win an IBJJF World title.
Whether it was the controversy, exciting matches or eye-opening submissions, there are a number of reasons to go back and watch all of the matches from Worlds 2018. But these men and women stand out for exceptional reasons as they each secured a place in history that deserves recognition.
2018 Worlds Black Belt Champions
Roosterweight: Bruno Malfacine
Light-Featherweight: Michael Musumeci
Featherweight: Jamil Hill-Taylor
Lightweight: Lucas Lepri
Middleweight: Isaque Bahierise
Medium-Heavyweight: Lucas Barbosa
Heavyweight: Felipe Pena
Super-Heavyweight: Mahamed Aly
Ultra-Heavyweight: Marcus Almeida
Absolute: Leandro Lo
Roosterweight: Rikako Yuasa
Light-Featherweight Amanda Monteiro
Featherweight: Karen Atunes
Lightweight: Beatriz Mesquita
Middleweight: Ana Carolina Vieira
Medium-Heavyweight: Claudia Doval
Heavyweight: Nathiely de Jesus
Super-Heavyweight: Tayane Porfirio
Absolute: Tayane Porfirio