Grappling Bulletin: Six Months Later, Major Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments Are Back

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As September looms and we approach six full months since the cancellation of the 2020 IBJJF Pans and the Abu Dhabi World Pro, jiu-jitsu fans and practitioners have finally got something positive to look forward to. 

Starting on September 19, jiu-jitsu tournaments will recommence starting with the IBJJF Austin International Open. A week later the IBJJF will hold another event in Oklahoma City, with both of these serving as a warm-up for a highly anticipated return of Pans in Florida in early October.

Renato Canuto defends his lapels from attack at the 2019 IBJJF Pans in Irvine, CA

These are the IBJJF’s first tournaments since the London Winter International Open on March 11. The IBJJF's last event in the U.S. was the Houston Winter International Open on March 8. 

But those aren’t the only major events on the calendar. On September 27 Florida will also play host to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Miami, the first of the international Grand Slam events since the London event in March. And November boasts the rescheduled Abu Dhabi World Pro, which was originally scheduled to take place in April. The event will run from November 18-21. 

According to the AJP Events Safety Procedure Guidelines, all of those involved in the events will be asked to wear personal protective equipment like masks and gloves and also practice social distancing before and after matches.

One look at the early registrations for Pans shows there is substantial interest among the community, and the competition should sell out well in advance. Of the 2019 Pan champions, six of the 10 male black belt champs are present in the USA, and 7 of the 8 female champs are in the country and able to defend their titles. 

2019 Pan and World champ Matheus Gabriel is signed up to compete in October

And there are plenty of rookie black belts who were promoted during the lockdown that are ready to try their luck at Pans. And as a result of the IBJJF suspending the points requirements to qualify for entry, a number of competitors usually seen in the Masters divisions have entered as adults, beefing up the ranks. All this goes to show that athletes are itching to get back into action after a long layoff with few opportunities to compete aside from events such as Fight to Win, 3CG and a handful of other operators. 

What about Worlds?

Now here’s an interesting question, one that we’ve been asked time and time again since March. Will the IBJJF be able to host a World Championships before the end of the year? The answer is unclear, but as we saw from the reaction of some international competitors following the announcement of the rescheduled Pans, it looks unlikely. 

A travel ban prevents non-resident foreign nationals from entering the United States, which means that many world-class competitors are unable to enter the USA. The number of Brazilians resident in the United States hasn’t impacted Pans is as much as it could have. And also there is the argument that there is no requirements for the Pans– formerly known as the Pan-American Championships– to have international competitors to go ahead. 

The super-heavyweight final from the 2019 IBJJF World Championships between Nicholas Meregali and Mahamed Aly

A World Championships is an entirely different matter. Any World Championships needs to be open to competitors from all over the planet, and as long as there is a restriction on entering the United States, it is unlikely that we will see IBJJF Worlds take place. Of course, nobody knows how long this restriction will remain in place. Could it be lifted before the end of 2020? It’s possible, but the truth is we just don’t know and a major event like Worlds requires months of planning and preparation to execute. 

If the IBJJF is unable to host the World Championships before the end of the year, then there is a case that whoever wins the Abu Dhabi World Pro – commonly seen as a parallel world championships – will be the only true world champion of 2020. 

Will that be incentive for the best in the world to sign up for the tournament? Travel restrictions to United Arab Emirates are less restrictive than those currently in place in the United States, and so the big names stuck in Brazil and unable to enter the USA– think Leandro Lo, Nicholas Meregali, Kaynan Duarte, Isaque Bahiense, Patrick Gaudio, Erberth Santos and many others– may find themselves on a plane to the UAE in November. 


It's Not Just Jiu-Jitsu– Judo is Back, Too

The International Judo Federation (IJF) announces the imminent return of the World Judo Tour. Starting in autumn, we will reintroduce three of our highest-level events in a big way, starting with the Budapest Grand Slam.

Judo is one of the most popular sports at the Olympic Games. 

The Budapest Grand Slam will take place in late October and will be followed by the Tokyo Grand Slam in December. The World Judo Masters will be held at the beginning of 2021 in Doha, Qatar. All three events are aimed to offer qualification points for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. The continental unions are also planning the organisation of several continental events before the end of the year.


Upcoming Live Events on FloGrappling 

JitzKing: Youth Largo | Sep 6

A special kids and teens edition of the popular Florida-based grappling event, which will feature both gi and no-gi matches. 

Fight to Win 151 | Sep 11

Another evening of submission-only matches. Fight to Win returns to Dallas, TX with +30 gi and no-gi matches. 

Third Coast Grappling: KUMITE VI | Sep 12

An open weight 8-man ivitational tournament featuring past Kumite winners, world champions, wildcards and more. 

WNO: Gordon Ryan vs Matheus Diniz | Oct 2 

Gordon Ryan vs Matheus Diniz headlines the next Who's Number One event. Also featured on this show: Nicky Ryan vs Tony Ramos, Craig Jones, and plenty more.

Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship | Oct 8*-11

One of the most important IBJJF events of the year moved from spring to fall and from the west coast to the east. 

Abu Dhabi World Pro | Nov 18 - 21

One of the largest and most prestigious events on the global jiu-jitsu calendar returns for its 12th edition from November 18-21, 2020 at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi. 

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