Sergio Rios of 99 Jiu-Jitsu International has had an impressive year in competition. In February, he won the 2022 European Championships in the medium-heavy division. His next major event was the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships, where he finished third in his weight category and second in the open class. Sergio then took gold at the International Master North America in June and the American Nationals in July before challenging himself and moving down in age to the adult division. He competed at adult at the Orlando Summer Open and the Phoenix Open, winning gold at both events while defeating top athletes such as Sebastian Rodriguez, Angelo Claiborne, and Mateus Rodrigues.
As far as Sergio is concerned, 2022 has the potential to be his best year yet. “It’s definitely been a great year but I still have one more tournament to do, Masters Worlds. Of course my goal is to win that gold. If so, I can say this is the best year of my career.” At the 2021 Master Worlds last November, Sergio placed 2nd in the medium-heavy division and 3rd in the open class. “I was feeling good for that tournament as it had so many tough competitors. I feel like I did a good job, but not enough to win the gold.”
The 2022 World Masters is the biggest edition of the event yet. With over 6,000 athletes expected to compete, the divisions will be more challenging than ever. “Every year is a different feeling as to how big it is. It’s big because it is the more important tournament for Masters and also big with the number of competitors. I’m really excited to be a part of that amazing show.” Sergio will be returning to medium-heavy, an always challenging weight class that is sure to put his skills to the test this year. “Medium-heavy is always one of the toughest divisions with so many great competitors. I’m working hard to be much better than last year. I want to be a problem for them. I’m definitely looking forward to the open class too but first I need to do good in my division so I can qualify for it. If so, I’ll be ready for it.”
Sergio’s results and fan friendly style have made him one of the most exciting competitors in the sport. When you’re watching his matches you’re always on the edge of your seat as he can submit his opponents from almost any position. If you’re looking to increase your submission rate in competition, Sergio has some words of advice. “You have to train looking for submissions. Don’t forget the points but go for submissions. If you do that when you’re training, they will come when you are competing,” said Sergio.
World Masters is just one of the many tournaments and attractions at Jiu-Jitsu CON. The three day event also has tournaments for kids and adults, plus seminars with some of the best competitors and instructors in the world. “I feel that’s what makes it even more exciting. You see all ages of competitors as it has kids, adults. and masters. The seminars are always amazing to see your idols and also learn from them.” Sergio left one final message before the big event. “I just want to say thank you to the IBJJF for the hard work to get our sport bigger and bigger and I hope I can give good fights for those who follow me. Oss."