The IBJJF World Championships are returning to the iconic Walter Pyramid for the first time since 2019. The black belts divisions will start on Saturday June 4th and you won’t want to miss a moment of the action, as many of the divisions are the most stacked we’ve ever seen. The following is a preview of each adult male black belt division.
2021 Champion - Mikey Musumeci
At this year’s three major tournaments there have been three different rooster weight champions. Thalison Soares won gold at the Europeans in Rome. Carlos “Bebeto” Oliveira won the division at the Pans and Rodrigo Otavio won at Brazilian Nationals. Thalison Soares, one of the top contenders to take gold at Worlds, made changes to his preparation this time around. He relocated to Costa Mesa, California to train under Professor Guilherme Mendes, a change he says is already paying dividends. Other highly accomplished athletes in the division include 2020 European Champion Tomoyuki Hashimoto, 2020 Pans silver medalist Jonas Andrade, and 2019 Brazilian National Champion Cleber Sousa.
2021 Champion - Diego “Pato” Oliveira
Diego “Pato” Oliveira is widely considered the best light featherweight competitor in the world. As a black belt, Pato won the 2021 Worlds and Pans. Though he hasn’t yet competed at a major tournament in 2022, many still expect him to sit atop the podium at the Pyramid. This years major championship gold medalists were Hiago George at Europeans, Meyram Alves at Pans, and Diogo Reis at Brazilian Nationals, all of whom will be competing at the Worlds. Other notable names in the division are 2020 Pan Champion Lucas Pinheiro, 2021 Worlds silver medalist Malachi Edmond, and 2020 Pans silver medalist Pedro Dias.
2021 Champion - Fabricio Andrey
Fight Sport’s Fabricio Andrey has been on a roll since receiving his black belt in 2020 from Professor Melqui Galvao. He’s won two Brazilian National titles and a World title and has done much of it in dominant fashion. Featherweight is always one of the most stacked divisions, however, and this year’s Worlds bracket includes many competitors Fabricio has yet to face at black belt. 2022 European Champion Diego Sodre and 2022 Pan Champion Alex Sodre will represent Nova Uniao at Worlds. They’ll be joined by Kennedy Maciel, Josh Cisneros, Isaac Doederlein, Samuel Nagai, Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor, and many others in one of the most talent rich divisions of the entire tournament.
2021 Champion - Renato Canuto
The lightweight division at this year’s World Championships is one of the most stacked we’ve seen in the division’s history. 2022 Brazilian National Champion Mica Galvao has opted to compete at lightweight this year. His black belt Worlds debut will be one of the most anticipated in World’s history and will add plenty of excitement to the division. 2019 featherweight World Champion Matheus Gabriel will return to lightweight and will bring his aggressive and submission oriented style to the division. 2022 European Champion Espen Mathiesen, 2022 Pan Champion Johnatha Alves, and 2022 Brazilian National Champion Pablo Lavaselli will all be at lightweight looking for their second major titles in 2022. 2021 brown belt World Champion Tye Ruotolo is also in the mix and will be sure to showcase his high level submission skills in exciting fashion. Jonnatas Gracie, Lucas Valente, and Levi Jones-Leary will join the lightweights in a division that is guaranteed to be a barn burner.
2021 Champion - Tainan Dalpra
The middleweight division has been ruled by AOJ’s Tainan Dalpra since he received his black belt in late 2020. Tainan has showcased an extremely technical and well-rounded game against many of the best black belts in the world and his results are a testament to the work he’s put into his career since he was a juvenile competitor. He won the 2022 Europeans and the Pans will look to add a second black belt World title to his collection in Long Beach. In one of the best matches of the year thus far, Tainan defeated Ronaldo Junior of Atos at the 2022 Pans. Ronaldo will return to the Worlds looking to improve upon that performance and take home his first World title as a black belt. Andy Murasaki, Leo Lara, Mathias Luna, Jansen Gomes, Tarik Hopstock, Jamie Canuto, Servio Tulio, Tommy Langaker, Manuel Ribamar, and Jeferson Guaresi will also be on the hunt for the first black belt World titles this year.
2021 Champion - Gustavo Batista
Returning champion Gustavo Batista is aiming for his third World title in 2022. Another star athlete in the division is Isaque Bahiense. The World, Pan, and European Champion will move up to medium-heavy this year in search of his second World title. The most accomplished competitor in the division, Ns Brotherhood’s Leandro Lo, will be on the hunt for his 8th World title. Lo’s last major tournament was the 2022 Pans, where he put his classic style on display and won two matches. Bruno Lima, Matheus Spirandelli, Jansen Gomes, Gabriel Almeida, Matheus Luna, Andre Porfirio, Pedro Marinho, Enderson Dias, Murilo Santana, Sebastian Rodriguez, and Roberto Jimenez are all registered at medium-heavy.
2021 Champion - Kaynan Duarte
2021 World Champion Kaynan Duarte will return this year to the heavyweight division. Kaynan had four fights at the 2021 Worlds and won three of them by submission, including a rear naked choke in the finals over Luan Azevedo. While the division is full of young talent, it also has one competitor looking to add a final World title to an illustrious career. IBJJF Hall of Fame member Xande Ribeiro will compete at his final World Championship this year. The 7-time World Champion will step on the blue and yellow mats one last time for his ‘Last Dance.’ His last World Championship appearance was in 2018. This year’s heavyweight division will also include Matheus Diniz, Dimitrius Souza, Pedro Machado, Fellipe Trovo, Adam Wardzinski, and Rider Zuchi.
2021 Champion - Erich Munis
World, Pan, and Brazilian National Champion Erich Munis of Dream Art has been at the top of the super-heavy division since receiving his black belt in 2020. He’ll return to the division he won in December of last year along with many talented contenders. 2022 European Champion Fellipe Andrew and 2022 Brazilian National Champion Nicholas Meregali are strong contenders to hit the top of the podium. Marcus “Scooby” Ribeiro, Devhonte Johnson, and Vinicius Gazola round out yet another stacked division.
2021 Champion - Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo of Six Blades Jiu-Jitsu won the 2021 ultra-heavy division after submitting Max Gimenis in the final by toe hold. There are many competitors in ultra-heavy this year that did not compete at the 2021 Worlds. Erberth Santos of Atos Jiu-Jitsu won the Worlds in 2017 and has also won the Europeans, Pans, and Brazilian Nationals as a black belt. Although Erberth hasn’t competed at the Worlds since winning in 2017, he has the skills needed to add a second World title to his collection. Roosevelt Souza of Fight Sports and Gutemberg Pereira of GF Team will also be strong challengers for the gold medal at ultra-heavy. Roosevelt took double bronze at the 2022 Pans, losing matches to Gutemberg in his weight class and Erich Munis in the open class. Gutemberg Pereira won the open class at the 2022 Brazilian Nationals, submitting all of his opponents in the process. 2007 World Champion and 2022 European Champion Rafael Lovato Jr. will also compete at ultra-heavy. It’ll be his first World Championship appearance since 2014.
2021 Champion - Felipe Pena
The 2022 open class champions at the major tournaments were Fellipe Andrew at the Europeans, Erich Munis at the Pans, and Gutemberg Pereira at the Brazilian Nationals. All of these competitors will certainly be aiming for the 2022 Worlds open class title. While we don’t know everyone who win sign up for the division, there are some competitors that will more than likely be signing up. Victor Hugo, Kaynan Duarte, Erberth Santos, Adam Wardzinski, and Gustavo Batista are also potential contenders for the open class crown.