IBJJF Pan American Championships 2020 Preview

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In a year that will go down in history, 2020 saw the heart of Jiu-Jitsu severed by COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions that occurred during the pandemic.

Originally scheduled to happen March, the Pan American championships was thankfully rescheduled to October at a new location in Florida. However, this year’s PanAms are an entirely different affair.

In a year where all competitions are cancelled, this year’s Pan American Championships have done away with the traditional IBJJF points system allowing competitors to compete if they are able to get to the competition.

2020 IBJJF Pan American Championship Preview

COVID-19 has also forced a dramatically decreased roster. In a championship that would be filled to the rafters, we now see normally stacked black belt divisions whittled down to whoever can get to Florida without quarantining. However, the show must go on, so here are our picks for the 2020 American Divisions.

Male Black Belt Division

Rooster weight

TEAMNAME
Atos Jiu-JitsuLucas dos Santos Pinheiro
BJJ Globetrotters USARashawn Emmanuel Kershaw
CheckMatRonald Stephen Henderson Jr.
CheckMatWillis da Mota Nunes
Form Jiu Jitsu AcademyLee D. Rosenfield
GF TeamMatheus Viana Magalhães
MasterskyaDavid B. Zennario
PSLPB Cicero CosthaFrancisco Jonas Borges Andrade
Undisputed TucsonSantos Rene Bruckner Rivera

This year’s rooster weight division doesn’t feature big names such as Bruno Malfacine and Talison Suares, so this year’s division is wide open for a brand new reigning champion. Our pick for this division is Lucas Pinheiro, who has competed regularly in the rooster weight division but has never made huge strides.

Light-Feather Weight

TEAMNAME
AllianceHiago Gama Sousa
Ares BJJTaniel Santos de Jesus
Atos Jiu-JitsuDennis A Pressey Jr
Carlson Gracie TeamPedro Paulo Dias Clementino
Cascao Jiu-JitsuRene Eduardo Lopez
Cleber Jiu Jitsu VisaliaJoshua Anthony Cisneros
Fight SportsSuraj Kumar Budhram
GF TeamCarlos Alberto Oliveira da Silva
Gracie BarraJoão P R M S Figueredo
Gracie BarraKaio Cesar Abrantes Fonseca
Gracie Barra JJElijah Rueben Tagalog
Lovato Jiu-JitsuVincent Eliseo Saenz
Pedro Sauer TeamMarcus Beddor
PSLPB Cicero CosthaPaulo Henrique Bordignon Miyao
Renato Tavares AssociationIgor Gabriel P. Mancebo

The light-feather division see’s our first recognisable name and one which is likely to dominate their division, Paulo Miyao. Unusually his brother Joao is not featured in this year’s competition, but it’s likely he will be there to support his brother’s run through the division.

Featherweight

TEAMNAME
AllianceIsaac Doederlein
AllianceKennedy Leonardo Maciel
Alliance InternationalFrederico Augusto Alves Silva
Alliance InternationalGianni Paul Grippo
Ares BJJDanilo Soares Moreira
Ares BJJRodrigo Lopes Cardoso
Atos Jiu-JitsuJoão Pedro Bueno Mendes
Brasa / CTA / RTCharles Denny Murdock
Brasa / CTA / RTJoshua Michael Murdock
Brasa CTAEdward Hohl
CheckMatMatheus Gabriel Pinheiro Barros
CheckMatSamuel Nagai Hatchwell
CheckMat USAGabriel Ferreira da Silva
CheckMat USAWindson Ramos da Silva
Fifty/50 Jiu-JitsuAdam Benayoun
Fight SportsOrlando Fernando Castillo Andaviza
G13 BJJ USAThiago Cintra Vieira Brito
Gracie AllegianceBrandon Woodly Walensky
Nova UniãoTyson David Antillon
PSLPB Cicero CosthaGiovanni Marcelo da Silva Carvalho
Renato Tavares AssociationMichael Joseph Danyus III
Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJRichar Emiliano Nogueira
Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJThiago Augusto Araujo Macedo
Team Robson MouraEric M LLerena
Team Robson MouraRaphael da Costa Cadena
Unity Jiu-jitsuThiago Aguiar Abud
Winners Training CenterBrian Mahecha
Zenith BJJEmilio Alejandro Hernandez Rodriguez

Featherweight sees our first handful of big names looking to take the 2020 crown, with Isaac Doederlein, Kennedy Maciel, and Gianni Grippo looking to win this division. With the recent run of form, it’s likely that we will see Isaac and Kennedy fight it out for the top podium and with Isaac’s run at Europeans, we’re giving it to him.

Lightweight

TEAMNAME
AllianceJohnny Joachin Tama Apolinario
AllianceRafael Rosendo dos Santos
American Top TeamMauricio Esteban Gomez Bobadilla
Ares BJJHugo Doerzapff Marques
Art of Jiu JitsuJohnatha Barbosa Alves
Atos Jiu-JitsuJonnatas Gracie Araujo da Silva
Atos Jiu-JitsuMichael Remigio Liera Jr.
BJJ Revolution TeamAlexander Scott Lane
Brasa CTAJeremy S. Jackson
Brasa CTAKim Terra
Carlson Gracie TeamAlexandre Faria Molinaro
Caveirinha Jiu-Jitsu Family USAKevin Melendrez
Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu AcademyKaisar Adilevich Saulebayev
CheckMatJose Mathias Macedo de Lira Luna
CheckMatRenato Forasieppi Alves Canuto
Gracie BarraEdwin Najmi
Gracie HumaitaPaulo Gabriel Martins da Costa
Lotus Club USAFrancisco Cuneo
Nova UniãoMarcio Andre da Costa Barbosa Junior
Pedro Sauer TeamRicky Joey Semiglia
Rodrigo Freitas Brazilian Jiu-JitsuRodrigo Lamounier de Freitas
ZR Team AssociationBruno Valdivino de Carvalho

One of the most interesting facts about this year’s PanAms is that AOJ has split away from ATOS meaning that both teams are now competing for the coveted team trophy. With that being said, we’re expecting AOJ black belt Johnatha Alves to have a good run through the division. Other big names to watch out for are Gracie Barra’s Edwin Najmi, Jeremy Jackson and Renato Canuto, all who will get into the later stages of the division.

Middleweight

TEAMNAME
AllianceRehan Muttalib
AllianceVinicius Lino Wong
Alliance InternationalAndre Nascimento dos Santos Gois
Atos Jiu-JitsuJuan Cleber Pio de Souza
Atos Jiu-JitsuRonaldo Pereira de Souza Júnior
Atos JJ InternationalThomas Justin Vernon Palmer
Brasa CTAJulian L. Synan
Carlson Gracie TeamGuthierry Barbosa Nascimento Conceição
CheckMatJackson Nagai Hatchwell Junior
GF TeamJoel Adan Torres Silva
GF TeamLeonardo da Silva Guimaraes
Gracie BarraCarlos Jorge Alves Souza
Gracie BarraLucas Sette C. Valente Tobias
Gracie Barra JJSaul Viayra
Gracie HumaitaRoss Daniel Keeping
Nova UniãoSantiago Fermin Farina
R1NG BJJKevin Cuervo Vieira
R1NG BJJLucas Benévolo Valle
Renzo Gracie OttawaPablo Lavaselli
Richardson BJJVinicius Carvalho Garcia
Soul Fighters BJJDylan C. Whyte
Studio76 Jiu Jitsu EcuadorNicolas Lora Ospina
Team LDMAEric Thomas Ingram
Unity Jiu-jitsuFelipe Cesar Silva
Unity Jiu-jitsuLevi Jones-Leary

The really interesting thing about this year’s Pan Ams is the switch in divisions. Competitors who are normally in lighter divisions are being forced into heavier ones. This is why it’s interesting to see Levi Jones-Leary compete in the middleweight division. Absent from this year’s European Championships due to injury, we’re interested in seeing how far Levi’s berimbolos can take him through the middleweight division. 

Another big name for this division is Ronaldo Junior who is likely to do very well in this division.

Medium-Heavy weight

TEAMNAME
Cascao Jiu-JitsuArmando Menezes Esquer
Cassão TeamMatheus Lucas Rocha de Oliveira
CheckMatGabriel Salles Muniz Almeida
CheckMatJosé Matheus Macedo de Lira Luna
Fight SportsJose Joaquin Valenzuela Torres
Fight SportsYuri A V Silva
Gracie BarraOtavio Ferreira de Sousa
Gracie BarraUlpiano Malachias Neto
Gracie Barra JJJoseph C. Watson
Gracie Barra JJNathan Paz Barreto
Integração / EOFCHenrique Nóbrega e Silva
Maracaba BJJJake Michael Watson
Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJManuel Ribamar V. de Oliveira Filho
Team Royce GracieRonnie Trey Louis Pace III
Unity Jiu-jitsuMurilo Silva Ferreira de Santana

In an interesting turn of events, we see the owner of Unity Jiu-jitsu Murilo Santana enter the adult division for the 2020 Pan American Championships! This division is looking like an interesting prospect with names sich as Matheus Oliviera and Gabriel Almeida in the division.

Heavyweight

TEAMNAME
AllianceAlejandro Enrique Villaparedes Quiroz
Atos Jiu-JitsuGustavo Espindola Batista
Atos Jiu-JitsuRafael Vasconcelos de Lima
Atos JJ InternationalDominique L. Bell
Atos JJ InternationalNisar Amin Loynab
Brazilian Top TeamGilvan Gomes da Costa
Cascao Jiu-JitsuMichael Musumeci Jr.
Coalition 95Nathan Albrecht Mendelsohn
Gracie BarraJurgens Olivier Jansen
KMR BJJ KIMURAHorlando de Jesus Monteiro
KMR BJJ KIMURAPatrick A. de Almeida Goncalves
LEAD BJJYuri Allison Paiva dos Santos
Renato Tavares AssociationHunter Lee Colvin
Studio76 Jiu-Jitsu Las VegasRoberto Francisco Jimenez
TAC Team BJJAshur Sami Darmo
Team JucãoBrian John Wells

The most surprising name to see in this division is Mikey Musumeci Jr. however due to commitments with BJJ Fanatics, he has had to pull out of the Pan Americans to everyone’s disappointment. However this doesn’t stop the heavyweight division from being one of the most stacked divisions at this year’s Pan Ams.

Unfortunately, we can see this going one way, an ATOS close out with Gustavo Batista taking the gold.

Super-heavy weight

TEAMNAME
AllianceFellipe Andrew Leandro Silva
AllianceGuilherme Augusto Soares Santos
American Top TeamCharles Kilyan Mcguire
CheckMatArnaldo Maidana de Oliveira
Fight SportsAaron Michael Johnson
Gracie BarraFrancisco Carlos de Leon
Legion American Jiu-JitsuKeenan Kai-James Cornelius
Team Lloyd IrvinRoberto Torralbas
Unity Jiu-jitsuDevhonte M. Johnson

COVID has done another one of the Super-heavy division with normal 88kg competitor Keenan Cornelius coming into the super-heavy division. We’ll be will be seeing if this is the year for Keenan’s fourth Pan Am gold!

Ultra-heavy weight

TEAMNAME
Atos Jiu-JitsuLeonardo Henrique D’avila Corrêa
Brasa CTARenato dos Santos Tagliari
CheckMatLuiz Fernando de Azevedo Panza
GF TeamMax dos Santos Gimenis
Kronos BJJ HQJohnny Souza Gonçalves
Luiz Palhares Jiu JitsuStuart Randle Maddox
R1NG BJJAustin Wade Avera

Ultra heavyweight sees no significant big names meaning this is an opportunity for a new ultra-heavy weight competitor to sign their name in the Pan American history books!

Female Black Belt Division

Light-Feather weight

TEAMNAME
AllianceAna Talita de Oliveira Alencar
CheckMatPatrícia Maria N. Fontes dos Santos
GF TeamMayssa Caldas Pereira Bastos
Gracie HumaitaAnn Marie Kneib

The light feather division is always stacked with big female names, unfortunalty not this year! Get ready to see a final between Mayssa Baston and Talita Alencar, a furious paced match!

Featherweight

TEAMNAME
Gracie HumaitaGabrielle McComb Lima
Gracie HumaitaLyanne Perez
R1NG BJJAmanda Elouise Alequin
TAC Team BJJTaylor Biagi

 

Lightweight

TEAMNAME
Atos Jiu-JitsuLuiza Monteiro Moura da Costa
Atos Jiu-JitsuNicole C. Sullivan
Cascao Jiu-JitsuTalia Marie Vaughan
CheckMatNathalie Wan Soares Veras Ribeiro
Fight SportsNatasha Aileen Quiza
Jiu-Jitsu For The People – Sheridan BJJYanelisa Reyes

Lightweight sees another lack of big names, namely Ffion Davies. However we’re looking at another ATOS close out with the two female black belts likely to head into the finals.

Middleweight

TEAMNAME
Atos Jiu-JitsuRafaela Ribeiro Guedes
BJJ Lab NapervilleJessica Constance Swanson
CheckMatRaquel Dayne Kaleialoha Canuto
Club Pina Brazilian Jiu-JitsuBrenda Ariane Oliveira Palheta
GF TeamLaurah Elizabeth Hallock
Gracie HumaitaMelissa Stricker Cueto
TAC Team BJJClaire Elaine North
Team Lloyd IrvinVannessa Nancy Griffin

Medium-heavy weight

TEAMNAME
Abmar Barbosa AssociationMaria Malyjasiak
Atos Jiu-JitsuEmilly Alves Silva
CheckMatVedha Clemente Toscano
Gracie BarraAndressa Mezari Cintra
Nova UniãoBrenda Heller Pessoa Freitas Barbosa

Super-heavy weight

TEAMNAME
AllianceTalita Andrea Nogueira
Big BrothersMichelle Welti
Gracie BarraJessica D Flowers
Gracie BarraKendall Marie Reusing

The final division of the adult female black belts looks to see a Gracie Barra close out with both Kendall Reusing and Jessica Flowers taking the top two spots of the podium.

Conclusion

In a year that no body expected it’s great to see the IBJJF getting competitive BJJ back onto our screens, and just remember, Pan Ams is responsible for the best BJJ meme thanks to Megaton Dias

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Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!