The IBJJF Crown Preview: Get Ready For Never Before Seen Matchups!
Epic never before seen matchups and STACKED divisions at the inaugural IBJJF Crown are almost here.
On Sunday, November 19th, all eyes in the jiu-jitsu community will be on the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California, to witness a historic moment in the sport's history. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation is set to host "The Crown," an event that has been years in the making. With a promise to redefine the landscape of jiu-jitsu, The Crown has attracted some of the sport's most accomplished champions. With six divisions featuring many of the best athletes in the sport, The Crown is set to be one of the biggest and best events of 2023. $15,000 and the chance to win a brand new prestigious title are on the line on November 19th. Who will be crowned?
First Round Matchups We’ve Never Seen Before
The brackets for The Crown are out and there are several first round matchups that we have never seen before in competition. One of those matchups is Tayane Porfirio against Melissa Stricker in the women’s super heavyweight division. Tayane is a 2X World Champion, with one of her titles being the open class champion at the 2017 Worlds. Melissa is also a 2X World Champion, winning her titles in 2021 and 2023. Tayane returned to competition this year after a hiatus and won double gold at the London Open. Her movement and technique have set her apart from other competitors and have earned her double gold at every major IBJJF tournament. Will Tayane return in peak form and advance to the super heavyweight final or will Melissa use her tight, pressure based game to get the win?
In the men’s ultra heavyweight division, 2023 Pan No-Gi Champion Joao Gabriel Rocha will take on Brasileiro and European Champion Victor Honorio. Both athletes made comebacks to competition in 2023 and have displayed some of the best jiu-jitsu of their careers. Joao is a well rounded athlete who has one of the most inspirational stories of any jiu-jitsu competitor. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2014, Joao underwent treatment and beat his illness. He returned to competition the following year and has continued to evolve his game and get great results. Victor Honorio took a break from IBJJF competition for four years, but returned in 2023 to take double gold at the Rio Fall Open and silver and bronze medals at the Brasileiros. He has some of the most explosive guard passing on the scene, and has used his technique and athleticism to pass countless black belt’s guards. The winner of this match will take on the winner of 3X World Champion Erich Munis and 2023 Pan No-Gi Champion Francisco Lo.
Another matchup we’ve yet to see that will take place at The Crown is Andy Murasaki against Mauricio Oliveira. Andy has been hailed by his coaches and training partners as one of the most technical athletes at Atos HQ, high praise for a gym full of World Champions. His technical abilities have earned him two silver medals at the Worlds, a World No-Gi title, and a European title. Mauricio is also known as one of the most technical athletes in the division. He won the Brasileiros in 2021 and although he’s struggled with injuries in recent years, he made a comeback in 2023. This match is sure to be one of the most technical of the day, where both athletes are equally well versed from every position.
2X World Champion Gustavo Batista will take on brown belt European Champion Uanderson Ferreira in a matchup between two athletes with opposing styles. Atos Jiu-Jitsu’s Gustavo Batista has developed a reputation as one of the best pressure passers in the game. His knee cuts, half guard passing, and mount are tools he’s used in competition to dominate his opponents. Uanderson Ferreira, despite receiving his black belt in 2023, has already put together a highlight reel of exciting moments in his short time at the rank. His takedowns, ability to win scrambles, and his submissions that can come from any angle make Uanderson a dangerous opponent for anyone, regardless of size and experience.
Is Featherweight The Most Stacked Division We’ve Ever Seen?
The Crown’s featherweight division features two first round matchups that we have never seen at black belt. With five World titles between the athletes in the featherweight division, it is arguably the toughest bracket of the entire event. Not only are all the athletes World Champions, the division features the last three featherweight World Champions and a 2X light featherweight World Champion, so all these athletes are in the prime of their careers. The first men's featherweight fight is between 2023 featherweight World Champion Samuel Nagai and 2X World Champion Diego Pato. Sam’s World title this year was not only his first gold at the Worlds, but also his first gold at a major black belt championship. On the other hand, Pato secured his second World title in 2023, adding to his collection of major championship gold medals. Because Pato often competes in the light-featherweight division, he and Sam have yet to have a match at black belt. Pato is known for having one of the most dynamic guards in the sport, while Sam often uses his speed and timing to pass the guard, creating a fun and exciting stylistic matchup.
The second men’s featherweight match features 2021 World Champion Fabricio Andrey taking on 2022 World Champion Isaac Doederlein. Despite often being in the same brackets in major championships, Isaac and Fabricio have never fought, making this one of the most highly anticipated matches of The Crown. Fabricio won his World title in dramatic fashion, hitting a triangle submission in the 2021 featherweight final against 2018 champion Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor. Known for having one of the most exciting styles in the division, Fabricio is never in a boring match, and has one of the best top games in the division. Isaac Doederlein won his first World title in 2022, a feat he accomplished on his sixth try. His game has evolved leaps and bounds since getting his black belt back in 2014 and he’s developed one of the most devastating and effective straight ankle locks in the game. This match has been a long time coming, and it’s one that is sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Tainan Looks to Add a Crown to His Collection of Middleweight Accolades
Art of Jiu Jitsu’s Tainan Dalpra has been one of the most dominant competitors since he received his black belt in late 2020. With a 63-1 record, two World titles, three Pan titles, two European titles, and a Brasileiro title, Tainan’s accolades speak for themselves. He’s achieved these feats in impressive fashion, submitting about 70% of his opponents and dominating the vast majority of his matches from start to finish. In his first match of the event, Tainan will take on a familiar opponent in Pedro Maia. Though he has three victories over Pedro at black belt, Pedro has consistently proven to be a worthy challenger. On the other side of the bracket are Andy Murasaki and Mauricio Oliveira. Andy is a 2X World silver medalist, a World No-Gi Champion, and a European Champion. Mauricio won the Brasileiros in 2021 and made a comeback to competition this year to try to add to his already impressive list of accomplishments. Will Tainan use his signature x-guard, dynamic passing, and back attacks to earn yet another prestigious title? Or will the middleweight field put a stop to Tainan’s reign? We’ll get our answers in less than a week’s time at the Pyramid in Long Beach, California.
Who Can Stop Gabrieli Pessanha?
6X World Champion Gabrieli Pessanha has had the most dominant run in jiu-jitsu history in the last two and a half years. Her first World titles came back in 2021, and since then she has won four more. Not only has she won gold at the Worlds, Gabrieli has won the double Grand Slam for two consecutive seasons and is the #1 ranked black belt in the world, more than doubling the points of the second ranked athlete. Her division at The Crown, however, is going to be her toughest test to date. Gabrieli will be joined by three other World Champions in Amy Campo, Tayane Porfirio, and Melissa Stricker. With a total of eleven black belt World Championship gold medals in this division, the most of any division at The Crown, anything can happen. Though Gabrieli has wins over Amy and Melissa in IBJJF competition, she’s had close matches with both athletes, who have had time to adjust their games since the last meetings. Gabrieli has not, however, had a match in IBJJF competition with Tayane Porfirio, who dominated the competition with her technique, power, and athleticism in 2017. One thing is for certain, whoever comes out on top of the division is worthy of being crowned.
Highly Competitive Women’s Lightweight Division Is Up For Grabs
Luiza Monteiro, Janaina Lebre, Nathalie Ribeiro, and Brianna Ste-Marie are set to battle for the lightweight Crown. This division is an interesting mix of experienced and newer black belts, and most of these athletes have already had matches against one another in competition. The first match in the division is between Luiza Monteiro and Brianna Ste-Marie, who have had two matches in 2023 thus far. Luiza won a close match on points over Brianna at the 2023 Brasileiros, and went on to become a champion at the event. They’d face off again at the 2023 Worlds, but this time it was Brianna who came away with the victory, getting the finish via toe hold. Their 2023 rubber match will take place at The Crown. On the other side of the bracket, Nathalie Ribeiro and Janaina Lebre will square off for the fifth time. Nathalie, who’s won gold at the Europeans, Pans, and Brasileiros, won their first three encounters. Their last two matches took place at the 2022 Worlds and the IBJJF Grand Prix, with Janaina coming away with the wins. The only match that has yet to happen between this group of athletes is Nathalie Ribeiro against Brianna Ste-Marie. This is a division that is truly up for grabs, as the winner could very easily be any of these amazing competitors.
Don’t miss The IBJJF Crown on Sunday, November 19th at the Pyramid in Long Beach, California. If you can’t make the event live, you can catch the stream exclusively on FloGrappling.