As one of the four major no-gi tournaments of the year, jiu-jitsu athletes from all over the world traveled to Rome, Italy for the IBJJF European No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships. The event took place at the PalaPellicone from November 11th through the 13th. The open class champions of the event were Eleftheria Christodoulou of ZR Team Association and Adam Wardzinski of CheckMat.
Eleftheria Christodoulou put on one of the best individual performances in Italy. Her first match of the weekend was for heavyweight gold, as she had only one opponent in her division. After winning gold at heavyweight, she had four more victories in the open class, including a toe hold submission in the final to cap off an incredible weekend.
CheckMat’s Adam Wardzinski won the 2022 European Championships in the gi and came to Rome looking to add a No-Gi European title to his 2022 resume. After taking third in the heavyweight division, Adam bounced back in the open class, winning four matches to take gold. Adam said the following of his performance. "Rome once again became a home of European jiu-jitsu this weekend holding No-Gi Europeans at this time. I was very excited about the tournament as we missed the event in 2020 and 2021 and came here with high hopes. The real highlight of this tournament for me was an open class with four tough matches. I was able to win three matches on Saturday. The first two were by submission and got me to the final to face Oliver Taza on Sunday. I was able to secure a victory with nine points, winning my first major IBJJF open class. 2022 is a great year for me so far winning both Gi and No Gi European titles.”
Oliver Taza competed in the medium-heavy and open class divisions. He won gold at medium-heavy and took silver in the open. Taza commented on his weekend, stating “It was an epic experience having nine matches in one weekend, all against very tough opponents! I’m glad I get to walk away with gold in my division and silver in the absolute. I would’ve liked to win the match against Calasans in a more dominant fashion but against a seasoned veteran like him I had to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. In the finals of the absolute, I was able to hang in the match up until I decided to drop back on a leglock. Lesson learned and now it’s time to focus on Worlds.”
At lightweight, Lucas Rodrigues of AOJ submitted all of his opponents en route to lightweight gold, an incredible feat at a tournament of this magnitude. “I had a lot of fun at Europeans No-Gi and the atmosphere in the venue was great. It was definitely one of my best performances by far! I believe I was the only black belt to have an all submissions run at this Europeans. That makes me really happy and proud about my work. I recently got my residency in Sweden so it is nice to fight the biggest no-gi tournament in Europe and win for the second time, but now as a black belt. I’m opening my jiu-jitsu school soon and I hope everyone that liked my jiu-jitsu can come visit me in Sweden!”
Gracie Barra’s Christina Tsantila competed in the featherweight division, taking home a gold medal. She commented on her performance, saying “I had three matches. I felt really happy because it was my second event fighting at black belt in IBJJF and last year it was a strange year due to the recovery of the pandemic. I’m really happy because I trained a lot and at the same time I was teaching kids classes, so this was the perfect performance! I’m thinking of competing at the Worlds No-Gi 2022 or Europeans gi 2023."
In the female black belt middleweight division, Julia Maele of OXY won two matches to make it to the top of the podium. “I had two fights in my weight division. I managed to take the back and get the choke in the first fight. In the final I had some passing attempts and back take attempts. I got stuck in an armbar from closed guard in the end of the fight, but managed to defend and ended up with a last passing attempt.”
The adult black belt male middleweight champion was Igor Feliz of R1NG BJJ. “This weekend I was able to win my first major title as a black belt. I am really happy with my performance. I had five matches and I won all of them without getting scored on. Now it’s time to stay focused and correct a few mistakes for Worlds No-Gi in December.” Be sure to watch Igor and the rest of the black belt competitors at the Worlds No-Gi on December 7th though the 11th on FloGrappling.
The following are the European No-Gi adult black belt champions:
Rooster - Coco Izutsu
Light Feather - Lucas Pinheiro
Feather - Ashley Williams
Light - Lucas Rodrigues
Middle - Igor Feliz
Medium-Heavy - Oliver Taza
Heavy - Santeri Lilius
Super Heavy - Fernando Andrade Dos Reis
Ultra Heavy - Sean Goolsby
Open Class - Adam Wardzinski
Light Feather - Nina Navid
Feather - Christina Tsantila
Light - Hannah Rauch
Middle - Julia Maele
Medium-Heavy - Joanna Dineva
Heavy - Eleftheria Christodoulou
Open Class - Eleftheria Christodoulou
2022 European No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship team results: