The 2022 IBJJF World Championships have come and gone and will go down in the jiu-jitsu history books as one of the best ever editions of the event. Not only were there incredible matches, the event also returned to the iconic Walter Pyramid and included a Hall of Fame ceremony where six athletes were inducted into the IBJJF Hall of Fame. New champions were crowned and dominant competitors further cemented their legacies at the biggest jiu-jitsu tournament in the world. The following are some of the main storylines from the event.
Xande Ribeiro and Rafael Lovato Jr. Retire from the Worlds
The black belts stepped on the mats for the first time on Saturday, June 4th. IBJJF Hall of Fame member Xande Ribeiro was one of those black belts. Before the event, Xande announced it would be his last World Championship. He competed in the heavyweight division, where he faced Harryson Pereira. After a tough battle where Harryson came out the victor, Xande left his black belt on the mat, symbolizing his retirement from the Worlds. The 7-time World Champion and leader of Six Blades has had one of the best careers of any competitor in history and his accomplishments on the mat and in the community have undoubtedly impacted thousands of jiu-jitsu practitioners all over the world. Another important figure in the jiu-jitsu community also left his belt on the mat for the final time as Rafael Lovato Jr. followed in the footsteps of his sensei Xande Ribeiro. Lovato was the second American to ever win a World title, accomplishing the milestone in 2007.
Gabrieli Pessanha Wins Fifth Straight Double Gold at a Major Tournament
Prior to the 2022 World Championships, Gabrieli had been on a historic run in competition. On Saturday, June 4th Gabrieli went home with two awards. The first was an outstanding achievement award for winning the double grand slam, or her weight and the open class at the four major IBJJF tournaments. Her second award was for being ranked the top overall female competitor for the 2021/2022 competition season. Her streak of dominance continued at the 2022 Worlds, where she made it to the finals of both the super heavyweight and open class divisions. In the super heavyweight final she faced a familiar foe in Yara Soares, a match she won by a score of 4-2. In the open class final Gabrieli faced Amy Campo of Zenith, winning that match by referee’s decision. The double gold medal performance was Gabrieli’s fifth straight at an IBJJF major tournament and was the perfect ending to an incredible weekend for Gabrieli and her team.
Tainan Dalpra Remains the King of Middleweight
AOJ’s Tainan Dalpra won his first World title in December 2021 and returned to the middleweight division in search of another gold. He put on a flawless performance, submitting two opponents and defeating the other two decisively. In Tainan’s first match he took on Caio Caetano of One Jiu-Jitsu Brazil. He pulled guard and swept about a minute into the match. Caio pulled Tainan into single leg x, where Tainan got to a leg drag and eventually worked his way to the back, finishing with a collar choke. In the quarters, Tainan went up against Pedro Maia of Six Blades Jiu. He started the match pulling guard again. After sweeping, Tainan spent the better part of the match on top, getting to multiple leg drag positions that nearly earned him the back. With about a minute left, he passed Pedro’s legs and forced him to give his back. He secured the back position and won the match via a 6-0 score.
At the 2022 Pans, Tainan Dalpra and Ronaldo Junior put on one of the best matches of the year. They met again in the semi-finals of the Worlds, but this time Tainan controlled the match from start to finish. His first score in the match was a guard pass that gave him a 3-0 lead. Tainan passed the guard again with about three minutes left in the match, then took the back to solidify a 10-0 win. The middleweight final was against another Atos competitor in Andy Murasaki. Andy started the match strong with an Ouchi Gari takedown, going up 2-0. From bottom closed guard, Tainan under hooked Andy’s leg and got into a single leg x guard where he earned a sweep to tie the match. From the top position, Tainan moved into a leg drag, stabilizing the pass and scoring three more points. Another pass after Andy recovered half guard put Tainan up 8-2. While in side control Tainan fed his own lapel across Andy’s neck and moved to north south to get the finish and his second black belt World title.
Mica Galvao Becomes Youngest World Champion in History
18 year old Mica Galvao came into the Worlds after winning his first major championship at the 2022 Brazilian Nationals. He competed in the middleweight division in Sao Paulo, but dropped down to lightweight for the Worlds. The lightweight division was absolutely loaded with talent and included Matheus Gabriel, Lucas Valente, Tye Ruotolo, Johnatha Alves, Espen Matheisen, and many more high level athletes. On his way to the final Mica defeated Paulo Gabriel of Gracie Humaita, Matheus Gabriel of CheckMat, and Jonnatas Gracie of Atos. The final was against Tye Ruotolo of Atos who beat Lucas Valente in the semi-finals. The final was one of the most anticipated matches of the entire event. Mica started the match with a pull to closed guard and immediately got on the offensive, threatening Tye with an omoplata that turned into an arm bar variation. Mica struck first in the match getting two points for a sweep during a scramble. A subsequent guard pass attempt forced Tye to turtle and Mica capitalized, taking his back. Mica locked the body triangle and attacked the neck, but didn’t earn any points. Tye escaped back into Mica’s closed guard where Mica went for another omoplata into an arm bar with about ten seconds left that Tye defended as the time expired. The win solidified Mica’s status as the youngest ever black belt World Champion as he is just 18 years old.
Ffion Becomes First British Athlete to Win Worlds
Ffion Davies of Atos had an amazing campaign on her way to her first World title. The British/Welsh athlete won three matches to get to the final, defeating Kristin Mikkelson, Vitoria Vieira, and Margot Ciccarelli to earn her spot in the event on Sunday. She squared off against Janaina Maia de Menezes of Gracie Humaita, a 2019 brown belt World Champion, in the gold medal match. Ffion had a great start to the match, taking Janaina down to put the first two points on the scoreboard. Janaina came back with a tight kneebar attempt about a minute into the match that Ffion fought hard to get out of. She did a great job of off balancing Ffion while playing guard throughout most of the the match and made it difficult for Ffion to get any guard passes going. Ffion maintained solid pressure and a strong base throughout the duration of the match and held on to her 2-0 lead to earn her first black belt World title. With the win she became the first ever British athlete to take gold at the Worlds.
Isaac Doederlein Wins First World Title in 6th Try
Isaac Doederlein’s first time competing at the Worlds as a black belt came in 2016 where he lost to Paulo Miyao. He’d come back to the Worlds in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021. Although he fell short of his goal of coming home with a gold medal each time, Isaac remained consistent and continued to hone his craft every year. His road to gold in 2022 was far from easy, as he faced many opponents who had previous wins over him including Alex Sodre, Samuel Nagai, and Diego Sodre. After scoring a dramatic foot lock finish over Samuel Nagai in the semi-finals, Isaac would face Nova Union’s Diego Sodre, who had beaten him earlier in the year in the finals of the European Championships. It was a very close match throughout and Isaac found himself down by one advantage with just thirty seconds left in the match. He under hooked Diego’s leg, inverted, and came up on top for two points and a World Championship title. It was Isaac’s first title and he became only the 6th American to ever achieve gold at the Worlds.
Nicholas Meregali Wins Open Class Gold After Stellar Performance
Some of the most anticipated matches of the entire event were those of Nicholas Meregali. The super heavyweight also competed in the open class, winning five fights with five submissions on Saturday, June 4th. The following day Nicholas had three more matches. In the super heavy semi-final he faced a familiar foe in Fellipe Andrew of Alliance. He submitted Fellipe in the semi-finals of the open class on Saturday with an arm bar and finished him with a choke from the back on Sunday to advance to the super heavyweight final. Nicholas would meet Dream Art teammate Erich Munis in both finals. Erich won the first encounter by a score of 6-4, as the two exchanged sweeps after Munis took the lead early from a takedown. The open class final was much different, however. Erich pulled guard to start the match and Nicholas put his elite passing skills to the test. Although Nicholas was unable to fully complete a guard pass, he was able to get to the half guard with an under hook, which is no small feat against a guard player the caliber of Erich Munis. The advantage Nicholas earned from establishing the half guard earned him his first open class World title. He went 7-1 on the weekend with six submissions.
Leandro Lo Wins 8th World Title
Coming into the 2022 Worlds, Leandro Lo had won seven IBJJF World Championship titles. His first title came in 2012 as a lightweight and he continued to win more gold medals across multiple weight divisions for the next ten years. Despite his massive success as a competitor, Lo has continued to challenge himself against the toughest opponents possible on a consistent basis. This year’s medium-heavy division included Gustavo Batista, Isaque Bahiense, Pedro Marinho, Bruno Lima, and Sebastian Rodriguez, among many others. Lo took out Rafael Dos Anjos, Andre Porfirio, and Bruno Lima to get to the final against Isaque Bahiense. The energy in the Pyramid was electric as Leandro and Isaque took to the mats for the medium-heavy final. Lo pulled to closed guard and looked to sweep, earning two advantages for his efforts. Halfway through the match Leandro hit his trademark double leg takedown from the standing position to score the first points of the match. He’d hold on to that lead for the remainder of match, capturing his 8th World title overall and his third at medium-heavy.
Ana Carolina Vieira Wins 5th World Title
This year’s female medium-heavy division was a great mix of accomplished veterans and new black belts. Pan Champion Maria Manyjasiak, Worlds silver medalist Izadora Cristina, and 2021 brown belt World Champions Amy Campo and Luciano Mota were all vying for medium-heavy gold. The returning champion, Ana Carolina Vieira, was searching for her fifth gold medal at the Worlds. In the quarter final she defeated Amy Campo of Zenith, avenging a loss from earlier in the tournament in the open class. Her semi-final match was against Amanda Cristo of Evoke BJJ, a match she won 7-0. The final was against Luciana Mota of Alliance. After three and a half minutes of grip fighting on the feet, Ana pulled to closed guard. The first points of the match came via a sweep. A guard pass with about two minutes left in the match led to Ana securing the mount position and a match ending kata gatame choke. The tap came with fifty seconds left in the match and earned Ana her fifth gold medal at the Worlds.
Mayssa Bastos Wins 5th Straight Major Title
The rooster weight division has been ruled by Mayssa Bastos since she was promoted to black belt in 2018. She won her first black belt World title in 2019 and won again in 2021 in Anaheim. She’s had her best year yet in 2022, winning the Europeans, Pans, and Brazilian Nationals in dominant fashion. Her division was full of tough athletes including Brenda Larissa of Fight Sports, Jhenifer Aquino of Atos, and Lavinia Barbosa of CheckMat. With quarter and semi-final wins over Vicky Hoang and Serena Gabrielli, respectively, Mayssa found herself in another Worlds final. Her opponent was Brenda Larissa, who was coming off a gold medal at Brazilian Nationals in the light-feather division. The final was close as the two exchanged sweeps throughout, with Mayssa getting three sweeps to Brenda’s two. Her gold medal at the 2022 Worlds was her fifth straight at an IBJJF major tournament.
New Champions Crowned
At the 2022 World Championships we saw dominant champions add to their legacies and also new champions emerge. Bianca Basilio, Ffion Davies, Larissa Dias, Thalison Soares, Meyram Alves, Isaac Doederlein, and Mica Galvao all won their first World titles this year. The depth of talent at black belt was very apparent at the 2022 Worlds. With more and more elite black belts emerging every year from the top teams, we’ll likely see many first time champions at the Worlds every year going forward.
Alliance Wins Male Title; Dream Art Wins Female Title
The Alliance team put on an incredible performance at the 2022 World Championships, winning the overall adult male title after accumulating 101 total points. Alliance black belts who contributed to the point total included Isaac Doederlein (1st place feather), Dimitrius Souza (2nd place heavy), Marcus “Scooby” Ribeiro (3rd place super-heavy), Guilherme Augusto (3rd place ultra-heavy), and Fellipe Andrew (3rd place open class). The title was Alliance’s 13th at the World Championships, the most of any team. Dream Art won the female adult title with 62 total points. Female black belts contributing to the total included Ana Rodrigues (1st place light-feather) and Yara Soares (2nd place super heavy).
Below are the 2022 World Champions by division.
2022 Male World Champions
Rooster - Thalison Soares
Light Feather - Meyram Alves
Feather - Isaac Doederlein
Light - Mica Galvao
Middle - Tainan Dalpra
Medium-Heavy - Leandro Lo
Heavy - Kaynan Duarte
Super Heavy - Erich Munis
Ultra Heavy - Victor Hugo
Open Class - Nicholas Meregali
2022 Female World Champions
Rooster - Mayssa Bastos
Light Feather - Ana Rodrigues
Feather - Bianca Basilio
Light - Ffion Davies
Middle - Andressa Cintra
Medium-Heavy - Anna Carolina Vieira
Heavy - Larissa Dias
Super Heavy - Gabrieli Pessanha
Open Class - Gabrieli Pessanha