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It’s September and that means it is time for the jiu-jitsu community to converge on Manhattan for the 2019 IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championships. As always the event is going down in the Nat Holman Gymnasium at CCNY and will take place on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th. Gordon Ryan dominated this event a year ago but is not registered this year, here is a look at who might contend in NY.
Keenan is in at super-heavy
Some big names have registered for the event, led by No-Gi World champion Keenan Cornelius. Keenan is registered at super-heavyweight for Pans just two weeks before he competes at 99kg at ADCC in Anaheim. Only five athletes are in the super-heavyweight division, but Devhonte Johnson and Vinicius Trator should be tough competition for Keenan.
Miyao vs Grippo at feather
The two top ranked No-Gi grapplers in the world are registered at featherweight in Gianni Grippo and Paulo Miyao. Grippo recently defeated Paulo and both athletes are doing ADCC, Miyao/Grippo is certainly shaping up to be an all-time great rivalry in the featherweight division. Paulo has the edge 4-2 in their six meetings, Gianni has however won the last two matches.
Veterans Vitor Oliveira and Murilo Santana
Vitor Oliveira will be making his first appearance at No-Gi Pans since he won the event in 2014. Although primarily known as a gi competitor, Vitor has a No-Gi Worlds silver medal to go with his gold from No-Gi Pans. No-Gi Pan silver medalist in 2016 Felipe Cesar Silva should contend with Vitor here.
Two-time No-Gi World champion Murilo Santana is another ADCC competitor signed up for Pans. Murilo is the head coach of New York jiu-jitsu powerhous Unity Jiu-Jitsu in Manhattan and signed up in the heavyweight division. Santana will have to get through Thiago Sa, who has won Brasileiro No-Gi as well as finishing on the podium at No-Gi Worlds and Pans in his career.
Aaron Tex Johnson
Tex going for fourth straight Pan gold
Tex Johnson will be looking to achieve a fourth straight Pan No-Gi title in 2019. Tex has a brutal footlock that he tapped Jackson Sousa with at this event a year ago. Tex also heelhooked Felipe Pena at Kasai recently and tapped his way through ADCC trials. Perhaps bulking up for his ADCC 99+ kg bracket, Tex is registered all the way up at ultra-heavyweight this year. Standing in his way is a man who defeated him 6-0 at No-Gi Worlds in Max Gimenis. Gimenis took home a bronze and silver medal at No-Gi Pans a year ago.
Malyjasiak trying to repeat double-gold from 2018
Maria Malyjasiak will be returning to defend her double-gold performance from a year ago. Malyjasiak will have to fight her way past No-Gi World champ Talita Alencar as well as Heather Raftery, Laura Hallock, Jessica Swanson, Vedha Toscano and others in a tough field of women at No-Gi Pans this year.