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There were nine male black belts who claimed the title of World Champion at the 2019 IBJJF Worlds. We devised an objective system to rank their performances based on how they won each match on their way to gold.
We wanted to remove all personal opinion from the equation, so we assigned points values to how they won, as follows:
- 4 points for a submission
- 3 points for winning by points
- 2 points for a match won on advantages
- 1 points for match won via referee decision
To award strong performances, we added an extra 0.5 for anybody who ended a match with a 5-point lead over their opponent.
For any victory over a past World champion, we added an extra 0.25 to their score for that match in recognition of the extra difficulty.
As some champions only had three matches and others had four, we calculated the average score rather than the total.
To balance out competitors who may have closed out, we employed a 0.25 point deduction against their total average point for each match not fought (except in the case of a bye) – for example, a closeout or a match where an opponent bowed out due to injury.
Scroll down for a ranking of the 2019 IBJJF male black belt World Champions.
7. Joao Miyao – 2.5
7. Lucas Lepri – 2.5
Miyao was able to claim his first world title, but not without some help from his friends. Miyao only had two matches, closing out both the semifinal and final with his Cicero Costha teammates Tiago Barros and Paulo Miyao. He scored a submission in his opening match and won his second on advantages, but we had to issue a 0.5 penalty to his score for the two closeouts.
Lightweight champ Lucas Lepri looked untouchable once again– he didn't concede a single point as he cruised to his sixth World Championship gold medal. Of his four matches he won his first on points, finished two by submission and won a referee's decision in the final – but a gentleman's agreement in the quarterfinal with teammate Johnny Tama brings his overall score down.
|R2||vs||Ram Ananda||Arm in Ezekiel||4|
|QF||vs||Rene Lopez||Pts: 2-2, Adv||2|
|R1||vs||Athos Miranda||Pts: 2x0||3|
|SF||vs||Rodrigo Freitas||Bow and arrow||4|
|F||vs||Lucas Valente||Referee Decision||1|
6. Gabriel Arges – 2.875
6. Felipe Pena – 2.875
Gracie Barra teammates Arges and Pena both won their second world titles, fighting their way through tough divisions that offered no easy matches. Arges had to beat no less than two former world champions on his path to gold, although the closeness of the matches hurt his overall score. Pena earned a submission in his opening match but the opponents got tougher as the division went on and the margins narrowed, which brought his score down.
|R2||vs||Dante Leon||Pts: 4x0||3|
|QF||vs||Claudio Calasans||Pts: 6-4||3.25|
|SF||vs||Marcos Tinoco||Pts: 2-0||3|
|F||vs||Isaque Bahiense||Pts: 2-2, Adv||2.25|
|R1||vs||Diego Gamonal||Choke from back||4|
|QF||vs||Nisar Loynab||Pts: 8-2||3.5|
|SF||vs||Matheus Diniz||Pts: 2-0||3|
|F||vs||Gustavo Batista||Referee Decision||1|
5. Matheus Gabriel – 3.25
One of the top seeds, Matheus Gabriel came off a fine performance at Pans and replicated it at Worlds, capping off three solid points wins with a submission in the final.
|R2||vs||Joao Mendes||Pts: 6-4||3|
|QF||vs||Gianni Grippo||Pts: 4-2||3|
|SF||vs||Osvaldo Moizinho||Pts: 4-2||3|
4. Kaynan Duarte – 3.4375
What a way to finish off the best rookie black belt year we've ever seen. Duarte crushed his opening match 12-0, scored a submission over Adam Wardzinski, then got two more points wins in the semi and final with the latter coming over Leandro Lo, which boosted his score due to Lo's incredible achievements in the sport.
|R2||vs||Dan Borovic||Pts: 12-0||3.5|
|SF||vs||Dimitrius Souza||Pts: 2-0||3|
|F||vs||Leandro Lo||Pts: 5-2||3.25|
3. Michael Musumeci – 3.5625
Musumeci made history for a number of reasons; he became the first American to win the World Championships three times, he beat the legendary 10-time World champion Bruno Malfacine and hit the fastest submission in a World Championship final with a lightning-quick 12-second ankle lock.
|R1||vs||Shohei Watanabe||Pts: 8-2||3.5|
|QF||vs||Koji Shibamoto||Pts: 8-2||3.5|
|SF||vs||Bruno Malfacine||Pts: 10-8||3.25|
|F||vs||Rodnei Barbosa||Straight ankle lock||4|
2. Nicholas Meregali – 3.8125
Of Meregali's four matches to win super-heavyweight gold three were won by submission, including a choke in the final versus 2018 champion Mahamed Aly. Such a strong performance put Meregali extremely close to no.1 on this ranking– had he managed to win his quarterfinal via submission also, then he would have sealed the deal.
|QF||vs||Helton Jose||Pts: 2-0||3|
|SF||vs||Luiz Panza||Triangle armbar||4|
|F||vs||Mahamed Aly||Choke from back||4.25|
1. Marcus Buchecha Almeida – 3.83
We didn't even count Buchecha's open class matches when we determined this score– this is based purely on his weight class. An 11-0 points win in his opener and two submissions means that Buchecha remains undisputed king once again.
|QF||vs||Thomas McMahon||Pts: 11-0||3.5|
|F||vs||Ricardo Evangelista||Choke from back||4|
Watch every match from the 2019 IBJJF World Championships in the FloGrappling archives