The Tezos IBJJF FloGrappling GP went down this past Friday March 3rd in Austin, Texas and lived up to expectations as the black belts put on exciting displays of highly technical jiu-jitsu. The Women’s Heavyweight GP featured four athletes with a combined fourteen World titles while the Men’s Lightweight GP had accomplished veteran black belts and newcomers alike. In the main event of the evening, Tainan Dalpra of AOJ took on Isaque Bahiense of Dream Art in a 30 minute match, the first match of this length in GP history. Two additional super fights between Ronaldo Junior and Francisco Lo and Janaina Lebre and Nathalie Ribeiro added even more exhilaration to an already incredible card. The event was also the debut of ruleset changes that were implemented to prevent stalling and encourage forward moving jiu-jitsu, a change that positively impacted the pace of the matches.
Tainan Executes Flawless Game Plan To Beat Isaque In 30 Minute Main Event
After two years of dominating the black belt middleweight division, Tainan Dalpra found a new challenge at the IBJJF FloGrappling GP in the form of a 30 minute, special rules super fight with Isaque Bahiense. Coming off a run at the Europeans where he submitted all three of his opponents via choke from the back, Tainan came into the match in peak form.
This match came nearly fifteen months after their first encounter in the middleweight final of the 2021 World Championships, where Tainan defeated Isaque 8-6 in a match that left both competitors feeling underwhelmed with their performances. This match went very differently from the first one, as Tainan showcased a more open and progressive game. He started the match by pulling and sweeping from the x guard. He came up on top and maintained a solid position, passing Isaque’s guard with double under hooks less than five minutes in. Isaque regained his half guard but Tainan quickly passed his legs again, moving the score to 8-0.
A little less than halfway through the match, Isaque was able to get Tainan to closed guard, however, the two soon disengaged and Tainan pulled guard once again. He initiated a very similar sequence, using an x guard style sweep and eventually advancing to Isaque’s half guard. Tainan would go on to pass the guard three more times throughout the match, winning by a score of 19-2. He kept his perfect record in IBJJF competition intact, further solidifying his position as one of the top pound for pound competitors in the sport.
Nathiely Wins Heavyweight GP In Triumphant Return
The opening match of the night was a back and forth battle of sweeps, as 5X World Champion Nathiely De Jesus returned to competition to face 3X World Champion Andressa Cintra in the Women’s Heavyweight GP. Nathiely used her lasso guard throughout the ten minutes to off balance and ultimately score three sweeps against Andressa, winning the match by a 6-4 points margin. Andressa was able to mount some of her own offense and nearly took Nathiely’s back at the end of the match, but Nathiely showed poise and composure and escaped the position.
On the other side of the bracket Ana Vieira of Aviv Jiu-Jitsu faced Melissa Stricker of Alliance. This was another very closely contested match, with Ana winning by two advantages after both athletes scored two points via sweeps. Ana’s win setup a final with Nathiely, a battle of two 5X World Champions. In the final, Nathiely pulled guard and went straight to her lasso and de la riva position. Ana showed tremendous base on top and used lateral movement to put pressure on Nathiely’s guard, but was unable to score a pass. After they disengaged and got back to their feet, it was Ana who decided to pull guard this time. Nathiely used a torreando style pass that forced Ana to turtle, scoring the only advantage of the match. Ana got back to her guard but was unable to recover from the advantage deficit. Nathiely’s win was her first at a major event since the 2019 World Championships, where she won heavyweight and open class gold. This title could be the start of a 2023 comeback for Nathiely, who has expressed interest in returning to the World Championships.
Johnatha Gets Win Over Red Hot Murasaki To Win Lightweight GP
Johnatha Alves put on a dominant display of jiu-jitsu in the first match of the Men’s Lightweight Grand Prix against Elijah Dorsey. After pulling guard, getting to single leg x, and sweeping, Johnatha worked his way to a leg drag position. Elijah managed to recover and get to closed guard but Johnatha was able to separate the legs and force the half guard position. From there, Johnatha secured double under hooks and used them to pass the guard and eventually mount Elijah, scoring a total of 15 points on his way to victory.
Andy Murasaki, who defeated Carlos Henrique via choke from the back on the other side of the bracket, would be Johnatha’s opponent in the final. Johnatha pulled guard to start the match, moving between de la riva, closed guard, and single leg x in attempts to off balance Murasaki. The first score came about four minutes into the match, when Johnatha inverted from the under hook de la riva position and came up on top in 50/50. The match stayed there for several minutes until Andy answered back with a sweep of his own. For the last minute of the contest Johnatha attempted to sweep Andy using both pant grips, attempts that were likely taken into consideration when awarding Johnatha the referee’s decision. The GP final was the fourth time Johnatha and Andy had squared off at black belt. We could see this match again in a few weeks at the Pans, where Johnatha and Andy were in the lightweight final in 2022.
Janaina Improves GP Record to 3-0 In Thrilling Match Against Nathalie
For the first time since winning the inaugural Female Lightweight GP, Janaina Lebre returned to competition to face Nathalie Ribeiro in a GP super fight. As black belts, Janaina and Nathalie had faced each other at Europeans, Pans, and Worlds, with Nathalie getting the win in two of those three matches. This match started with Nathalie pulling guard and Janaina immediately putting pressure on her, getting an under hook and forcing the half guard.
Around three and a half minutes into the match, Janaina freed her leg, settled into side control, and secured the guard pass points. She controlled Nathalie’s near side arm and sat back for an armbar that looked tight, but Nathalie managed to escape, come to top position, and start putting some pressure of her own on Janaina. Nathalie’s pressure nearly earned her the back position, but Janaina escaped and came up on top. Natalie scored with a sweep, but ended up in Janaina’s closed guard with 1:45 remaining in the match. The rest of the match consisted of Janaina attacking an armbar from the closed guard with Nathalie trying to square up to defend. Janaina had the arm straightened as the clock sounded, but ultimately won the match 3-2. With the win she moved her IBJJF FloGrappling GP record to 3-0.
Ronaldo Uses Well-Rounded Game Plan To Win GP Super Fight
Ronaldo Junior and Francisco Lo are two of the most athletic competitors in jiu-jitsu and they put their world-class athleticism and technique on full display in their GP super fight. Ronaldo looked intent on playing guard against the Manaus native, pulling to the position and working double sleeve control. Ronaldo and Francisco earned advantages as Ronaldo’s sweep attempt was countered with a toe hold from Francisco near the edge of the mat. They’d reset on the feet, where Ronaldo would attempt several Tomoe Nage takedowns. The turning point of the match came when Francisco pulled guard with roughly a minute left in the match. Ronaldo went on the offense, opening the guard and using a torreando pass to force Francisco to turn his back. He worked a choke with his lapel as time expired with a final score of 0-0 with five advantages for Ronaldo and two for Francisco Lo. It was a solid performance for Ronaldo, who will be competing at the Pans in the middleweight division. Francisco will also be competing at the major gi event as a medium-heavyweight.
IBJJF FloGrappling Grand Prix Full Results
Men’s Lightweight GP
Semifinal - Johnatha Alves def. Elijah Dorsey via points, 15-0, 2-0 adv
Semifinal - Andy Murasaki def. Carlos Henrique via submission, choke from the back
3rd place - Elijah Dorsey def. Carlos Henrique via points, 5-2, 3-3 advantages
Final - Johnatha Alves def. Andy Murasaki via referees decision, 2-2, 1-1 penalties
Women’s Heavyweight GP
Semifinal - Nathiely De Jesus def. Andressa Cintra via points, 6-4, 0-3 advantages
Semifinal -Ana Vieira def. Melissa Stricker via points, 2-2, 2-0 advantages
3rd place - Melissa Stricker def. Andressa Cintra via referee’s decision, 2-2, 1-1 advantages
Final - Nathiely De Jesus def. Ana Vieira def. via points 0-0, 1-0 advantages
Super Fight Results
Janaina Lebre def. Nathalie Ribeiro via points, 3-2, 3-2 advantages, 1-0 penalties
Ronaldo Junior def. Francisco Lo via points, 0-0, 5-2 advantages, 0-1 penalties
Tainan Dalpra def. Isaque Bahiense via points, 19-2, 14-1 advantages, 3-0 penalties