Ronaldo Junior scoring sub after sub, Jessa Khan getting promoted to brown belt and Jansen Gomes subbing six opponents for double purple belt gold– it was an eventful day at the 2019 IBJJF Long Beach International Open.
The biggest stories from the black belt divisions were:
Ronaldo Junior won middleweight gold with two wins. The first was a choke from the back versus the game Vinicius Lino of Alliance, a fast-paced start to the day for Ronaldo who suffered a lack of a warmup as his first opponent no-showed. Lino came out hard but Ronaldo's intensity was too much and he beat him in every exchange. The final was a short match with Breno Bittencourt, who was unable to continue due to injury. Bittencourt's hip popped at some point during the match, which Ronaldo told us he heard. He tried to continue but the injury combined with Ronaldo's intensity saw him quit a few minutes into the match.
The absolute division was an Atos closeout – Ronaldo Junior scored a sub over the returning Horlando Monteiro in the semifinal, while Rafael Vasconcelos beat Checkmat's Gabriel Almeida on the other side of the bracket.
The brown belt division was dominated by Roberto Jimenez, who scored double gold with a total of five matches. The Alliance rep won both heavyweight and the absolute, taking out Gabriel Duarte Panicali Machado in both finals.
Jansen Gomes tore through the purple belt divisions – the Checkmat youngster caught six submissions in six matches, the majority of them by kimura, his preferred attack.
Jessa Khan, the standout AOJ purple belt, got a nice surprise from coach Gui Mendes. Khan was promoted to brown belt after winning her division and closing out the absolute with her teammate Iasmim Casser. The 18-year-old has been training with Mendes since she was 10 years old, and he has said that she has the qualities to become a black belt world champion. Hear it from the man himself.