7 Key Black Belts To Watch At 2019 IBJJF No-Gi Pans

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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 Cornelius

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.

Watch: Keenan Cornelius vs Murilo Santana from No-Gi Worlds 2017


Gianni Grippo

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.

Watch: Gianni Grippo vs Paulo Miyao from Kasai Pro 4


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.

Watch: Tex Johnson taps Jackson Sousa at No-Gi Pans 2018


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.

Talita Alencar


New faces in the black belt division

A ton of new black belts are registered for No-Gi Pans this year. Jonnatas Gracie, Malachi Edmond, Jake Watson are registered along with a squad from Unity including Junny Ocasio, Italo Moura, Jefferson Guaresi and Wilson Moreira.


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