Let’s get right to it.
The bad news: Lucas "Hulk" Barbosa and Andris Bruonvski will not be making the trip to Guam to fight in the Marianas Open on Sunday, April 22.
The good news: Atos monster Michael Liera Jr. and Gracie Barra representative Felipe Trovo have already been confirmed as taking their places in the -181lb and 181-210lb brackets, respectively, and are on their way to the Pacific island!
Date: Sunday, April 22 | Time: 10 AM GMT + 10
So how does this change things? For one, Servio Tulio’s opening match just got that much harder—Liera has seen more competitive success than Bruonvski, he recently closed out the lightweight bracket at Pan Ams with JT Torres, and he is also a Marianas Open veteran. Liera is a competition machine and will be a true test to see if Tulio is ready to take on the sport's elite.
Expect this match to morph from a wormoplata extravaganza to a more classic approach.
Watch Michael Liera Jr. vs. Sinistro – 2018 Pan Championships
Trovo’s introduction to the 181-210lb bracket is especially interesting: He just joined Team Romulo Barral at GB Northridge, which this makes him a teammate of the defending champion Felipe Pena. The Marianas Open staff has confirmed that the pair will be seeded on opposite sides of the brackets, and should they meet in the final, they will fight.
Trovo’s appearance in the first-place match is anything but a lock though. He'll need to get through Eric Siam in his first match and the winner of Mahamed Aly versus Jackson Sousa—daunting feat for even the most talented of athletes.