This Friday, October 28th, the IBJJF FloGrappling Grand Prix goes down in Austin, Texas. This edition of the Grand Prix includes a female lightweight bracket, a male medium-heavy bracket, and three super fights. The female lightweight and male medium-heavyweight brackets each include four athletes at the top of their divisions. Luiza Monteiro, Anna Rodrigues, Mayssa Bastos, and Janaina Lebre make up the female GP while Isaque Bahiense, Manuel Ribamar, Andre Porfirio, and Ronaldo Junior are the medium-heavy competitors. Super fights between Tainan Dalpra and Rodrigo Lopes, Fellipe Andrew and Roosevelt Sousa, and Johnathan Alves and Mathias Luna round out this stacked card that is sure to be one of the most action-packed events of the year.
First Ever Female GP Brings Perfect Mix of Champions
For the first time in IBJJF Grand Prix history, a female bracket will be part of the event. The GP will be a lightweight bracket that includes Luiza Monteiro of Atos, Anna Rodrigues of Dream Art, Mayssa Bastos of Unity Jiu-Jitsu, and Janaina Lebre of Gracie Humaita. With a mix of different sized athletes with different skillsets and experience, this female GP is a bracket that promises interesting matchups and world class technique.
As the most experienced athlete in the GP, Luiza Monteiro will look to add yet another title to her impressive resume. After receiving her black belt in 2010, Luiza went on to win gold at Worlds, Worlds No-Gi, Pans, Pans No-Gi, Brazilian Nationals, and Europeans. She’s competed from lightweight all the way up to medium-heavy and has had success in all of those divisions. When asked what it meant to her to be part of the first female GP she responded, “For me, jiu-jitsu is not just about the titles. I want to build a legacy and be an example. So to be part of the first GP is amazing.” Though Luiza was absent from the major tournaments in 2022, she has over a decade of competition experience at the highest level of the sport, making her a threat to any division she enters.
Mayssa Bastos of Unity Jiu-Jitsu is a 3X World Champion, holding more World titles than any of the other competitors in the female grand prix. Although Mayssa generally competes in the rooster and light feather divisions, she’s been working to add size in the lead up to the grand prix. While Mayssa was thought of as a guard player with incredible berimbolo back attacks early her black belt career, she’s recently shown more of her passing game, utilizing her heavy top pressure in important matches at the Pans and Worlds. Anna Rodrigues is the only opponent in the grand prix that Mayssa has faced at black belt, but she’s eagerly anticipating matches with each of the competitors. “I think a match with any of the girls will be exciting. Every one of them has high-level jiu-jitsu and I’m looking forward to seeing how I match up with them.”
2X World Champion Anna Rodrigues will enter the GP fresh off of a lightweight title at the Pan No-Gi. The decision to go up to lightweight proved to be a great move as Anna competed against great athletes in the same weight category as the GP. Anna won her first major title at black belt in January 2020 at the Europeans. She picked up right where she left off in 2021, winning the Pans, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds. 2022 saw Anna take on new challenges, going up to featherweight for the Europeans and Pans, and competing in a major no-gi tournament at lightweight at the No-Gi Pans. “I chose lightweight to prepare my mind and my jiu-jitsu for the GP. I think if you’re giving yourself a good challenge it’s always a good choice.” Anna will have no shortage of challenges at the GP that will test her well-rounded jiu-jitsu game.
The last addition to the Female Grand Prix was Janaina Lebre of Gracie Humaita. Janaina started 2022 off strong, taking second at the Europeans to Nathalie Ribeiro in the lightweight division. She placed third at the Pans and made another final at a major tournament at the Worlds, ultimately earning another silver medal. “I evolved a lot in those tournaments and I fought well at the Worlds. The Worlds showed me I’m going the right way so I can keep training hard to win next year.” Janaina’s results and evolution earned her a spot in the GP, an event she is thrilled to be a part of. “It’s a pleasure to be part of the first Female IBJJF GP. I’m happy and I’m excited!”
Medium-Heavy GP Competitors Are Guaranteed To Put On A Show
Isaque Bahiense, Manuel Ribamar, Ronaldo Junior, and Andre Porfirio are gearing up to compete in the IBJJF FloGrappling Medium-Heavy GP. All of these competitors have unique styles that are sure to provide highly contested and entertaining matches.
Dream Art leader and competitor Isaque Bahiense is a World, Pan, and European champion. He is also a three time Worlds silver medalist, making it to the final a total of four times. Isaque’s impressive results in competition started early in his competition career as he won major titles at blue, purple, and brown belt. The medium-heavy GP opponents will offer Isaque new challenges that he’s excited for. “I competed against Ribamar three or four times. I never fought against Andre Porfirio or Ronaldo Junior. I want to win the grand prix. I’m a World Champion and World Champions are always ready.”
Manuel Ribamar of Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ most recently competed at the 2022 Pan No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships, where he defeated four tough opponents to take home gold. Ribamar used a beautiful combination of takedowns, guard passes, and sweeps to outpoint his opponents en route to victory. It was Ribamar’s second major no-gi title and was a great way to gain more competition experience heading into the GP. Ribamar’s biggest title in the gi came at the 2020 Europeans, where he won gold in the medium-heavy division.
Since being promoted to black belt in 2020, Andre Porfirio has put together a solid run at the highest rank in the sport. His most notable achievement was a 2021 Pan title where he defeated Murilo Santana, Manuel Ribamar, and Pedro Marinho in consecutive matches. Andre has developed a dangerous open guard and straight ankle lock that he’s used to great effect throughout his career. In his 2021 Pan final, he used the straight ankle lock to submit his opponent and win his first major title. An American Nationals title and a bronze medal at the Worlds were further evidence that Andre is one of the top medium-heavy competitors in the world.
Atos Jiu-Jitsu’s Ronaldo Junior is widely regarded as one of the most exciting competitors to watch in the sport. His passing game is completely unique as he combines his natural athleticism with perfect timing. Now Ronaldo will get a chance to fight for a grand prix title. “The division looks great. I’m super stoked to be part of it. I’ve been following the IBJJF GP since I was a colored belt. Now it’s my time to get there and display my jiu-jitsu and represent my team. I’m more than prepared to compete against anyone in the bracket. I had to make little adjustments in my training routine in order to perform in a heavier division but nothing major. I like to train hard all year. That way I stay ready for upcoming events.”
Tainan Dalpra and Rodrigo Lopes Added To GP Event
AOJ’s Tainan Dalpra is arguably the most dominant athlete in jiu-jitsu. Since receiving his black belt in October 2020, Tainan has already won two World and Pan titles and a European title. He’s won these titles in dominant fashion, winning most matches by either submission or a wide points margin. Tainan has competed exclusively in the middleweight division, but for this match he’ll be going up to medium-heavy to face Rodrigo Lopes of Double Five. Rodrigo is an American National and Jiu-Jitsu CON silver medalist and is ready for the tough challenge. “It’s a great opportunity. I will do my best as always. I have some good positions for foot locks for sure, and if I can get there I’m looking forward to doing it,” said Rodrigo. The two athletes have met once before in the middleweight division at the 2021 Dallas Open, where Tainan won via choke after about seven minutes of action.
Leg Lock Specialists Fellipe Andrew and Roosevelt Sousa Set To Square Off
2022 has been a hugely successful year for Fellipe Andrew. The Alliance black belt has maintained his #1 overall ranking, winning double gold at the Europeans and medaling at the Pans, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds. Fellipe has one of the most dangerous leg lock games in the world and has used the techniques to finish countless high level opponents.“I feel really ready to fight and I’m excited. He is a very good athlete and dangerous. We both like to attack foot locks but of course this fight will not be tied in the fifty/fifty. Someone will finish. The people will like it for sure,” explained Fellipe.
His opponent, Roosevelt Sousa, is another high level leg locker. “I’ve been doing foot locks since the white belt and I still keep adjusting and improving the position,” said Roosevelt. He’s spent his time preparing for the match at Fight Sports alongside Cyborg, Vagner Rocha, and Viktor Doria. “I respect Fellipe a lot. He is a great athlete. I know his game well and I’m ready to face him. I believe it will be a jiu-jitsu show on both sides and the public will really like it.” Based on their results in 2022, you can expect a dynamic match with submission attempts from both athletes throughout.
AOJ And CheckMat Collide With Johnatha Alves Vs. Mathias Luna Super Fight
In another highly anticipated super fight, 3X black belt Pan Champion Johnathan Alves will take on American National Champion Mathias Luna in a gi match at the IBJJF FloGrappling GP. Johnatha’s 2022 resume includes his third Pan title and gold medals at the Los Angeles Open and the San Diego Open. The berimbolo and pressure passing specialist from AOJ is currently ranked #2 at lightweight. “I’ve been competing against Mathias since purple belt and it will be our first time fighting at black belt. He’s got a dynamic game and it should be exciting to see how it’s going to play out.” Johnatha’s guard is one of his main strengths, and he believes he’ll be able to use it effectively against the CheckMat black belt. “I believe that with my style of guard control, I have a high chance to neutralize his guard passing attempts and eventually start building upon that. The key is to stop him and then set up my techniques.”
CheckMat’s Mathias Luna has had a very busy schedule this year. In addition to competing at the Pans and Worlds, Mathias has also competed at open tournaments in New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Houston. Mathias climbed his way to the #3 ranking as a middleweight using his well-rounded style that allows him to play effectively from every position. He commented on the match with Johnatha, stating “It’s always good to fight with opponents like Johnatha who have a good technical game. It helps me improve my jiu-jitsu and we’ll give the people a good show. My game is pass, mount, and submit. I don’t know what’s going to happen because Johnatha is a strategic fighter. My goal is to demonstrate great jiu-jitsu.” With both athletes having highly technical and complete jiu-jitsu, it’s safe to say there will be great jiu-jitsu put on display from start to finish.
All the action from the IBJJF FloGrappling Grand Prix goes down this Friday, October 28th. Go to FloGrappling.com to make sure you don’t miss a moment of this historic event.