IBJJF Worlds 2017 – Who You Got?

We can’t wait. A few days before the IBJJF World Championship 2017 will start, and we are more excited than ever! 49 women, 8 divisions and countless amazing fights. What can you expect, and who to look out for? Let’s take a look at the divisions to find out! 

Rooster

With 5 women, the roosterweight division is showing some significant growth! Rikako Yuasa (team Paraestra Shinagawa) came all the way from Japan to defend her 2016 roosterweight title. With her incredible lasso guard, she will for sure put up a show you simply cannot miss, so keep an eye out! Rikako fought the final last year against Finland’s Outi Järvilehto (Brasa CTA), who is also back this year. Together with Serena Gabrielli from Flow Academy, these women are no strangers to each other, having faced before on the big stage. Newcomers are Rayanne dos Santos (Attack JJ Team) and Kanako Inaba (AOA Champion BJJ). You can expect some impressive guard game and crazy flexibility from this division, so make sure to watch!

Rikako setting up the submission.

Light Feather

Speed is the word you’re looking for here. We have 9 women, all with a different fighting style, so this will result in some interesting fights! Whoever imposes her game faster than the other is sure to be one step ahead. Standout is the reigning light featherweight champion and submission queen: Gezary Matuda from American Top Team. Being a light featherweight does not seem to play a role in her passing game, as she crushes her way through her opponent’s guard. Armbars and chokes are on point, as Gezary always looks for the submission!

Gezary’s relentless pressure, fighting Kristina Barlaan at this year’s European Championship.

Look out for newer black belts in this division: former brown belt World Champions Liwia Gluchowska from Absolute MMA Australia, and Patricia Fontes from CheckMat. Both these ladies have an agressive guard game and fast passing. Another newcomer is GF Team’s Thamires Aquino, whose impassable spiderguard we will be enjoying this year at black belt level. Check out Thamires Aquino  here:

Ana Talita Alencar, fighting for Alliance, is also debuting at black belt this year, although she may not seem a newbie, having won a lot of tournaments at black belt already, with the UAEJJF World Pro title being most significant to her record.

Mackenzie passing guard at the European Championship this year. Picture by Guardeiras.

Feather

Stop whatever you’re doing when the featherweight division is going to start! We have some explosive and dynamic ladies in this division, guaranteeing amazing fights! No introduction is needed for Mackenzie Dern. Although we missed her fighting at the World Pro this year, we are sure to expect an outstanding performance from her. Toeholds are a notorious submission she favours deeply, so the other ladies must surely hide their feet. Also fighting under Gracie Humaita is Maxine Thylin, who had a very close fight with Mackenzie at this year’s Europeans, only losing by split referee decision. Who we are also excited about is Bianca Basilio (Atos Jiu Jitsu). This girl can throw anyone, having proved this at Pan Ams by a seemingly effortles drop seoi nage on Tayane Porfirio. The very same tournament, she beat Maxine Thylin with a dominant performance, making her a promising candidate for the title.

Light

The biggest female black belt division is looking very tough with no one less than Bia Mesquita from Gracie Humaita. Already having won the World title 7 times as a black belt (5 times consecutive Champion in her division since 2012, two times open weight Champion in this time), Bia is hunting for another gold in her division ànd open weight. But make sure to look out for Luiza Monteiro (NS Brotherhood), who is tough and all-round skilled, placing on the podium wherever she goes.

We are also excited to see Brasa CTA’s Tammi Musumeci in action with her very skilled berimbolo-back attacks. If you play strategically against Tammi, make sure you prepare well, because this lady is always one step ahead playing guard. Lastly, make sure you don’t miss out on this new black belt: Danielle Alvarez, last year’s brown belt World Champion from Gracie Humaita. Danielle has a solid guard with either a nasty footlock, or backtake set-up, so you’d better be fast.

The reigning Champion Bia Mesquita.

Middle

We can’t wait to see the middleweight division kick off! Monique Elias (Alliance) is one of the favourites to win the gold. We miss out on seeing her at smaller tournaments, but Monique always performs well at the big stage, having won the World Championship at every level from white to black. It would be amazing to see her fight the final against new black belt Ana Carolina Srour from GF Team, who has very solid passing and relentless pressure on top.

Medium Heavy

If you know this division, you know you need to watch out for Nathiely Jesus from Cicero Costha. One step too close in her guard means getting trapped in her long legs, from where she likes to submit by armbars, or sweep to come top. Nathiely never loses control and has been smashing it before and after she got her black belt, so we can’t wait to see her in action! The very experienced Andresa Correa from Alliance is back to defend her title. But don’t forget about Gracie Barra’s new black belt Jessica Flowers, who beat Andresa this at Pan Ams twice, raising the bar high in the medium heavyweight division.

Nathiely going for the submission against Tara White at this year’s UAEJJF World Pro.

Heavy

The heavyweight division is small but with a lot of popular candidates for gold. Standouts are Talita Noguiera from NS Brotherhood, who will never give away her top position once she’s secured it. Also, Fernanda Mazzelli (Striker JJ) is back to defend her title, but also watch out for Claudia Doval (De La Riva JJ), who seems to be stronger than nearly everyone in her division.

Talita steady on top.

Super Heavy

We were hoping to see 2015 and 2016’s double gold Champion Dominyka Obelenyte fighting this year. However, due to an injury that requires surgery, Dominyka will not be fighting. Therefore, this division takes us to an immediate final between Tayane Porfirio from Alliance, facing Venla Luukkonen from Hilti BJJ. Tayane has shown to be dangerous by either dragging her opponents down into her guard, or getting the takedown points and going for the back. Even though she is a new black belt, Tayane has been doing very well at this level, collecting medals at all the big stages. Let’s see how these ladies will put up a show for us!

Tayane winning double gold at the Brasileiros this year.

The IBJJF World Championship will kick off on Thursday June 1st. Make sure to follow our Instagram feed for live updates. If you can’t wait till Thursday, check below the highlight of the 2015 IBJJF World Championship. Enjoy!

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Rose el Sharouni

Rose is a brown belt at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam (Checkmat). Besides being one of the co-founders of Ladies Only BJJ, she is a full-time medicine student and holds a MsC degree in Sports Sciences.

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