Top 10 Matches From Pans Black Belt Final Rounds

Cisneros Beats Miyao

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There were more than 60 black belt matches on the final day of the 2020 Pan Championships. While you may not be able to watch them all, there are a few matches that you absolutely must see. Some of these contests were 10-minute firefights. Others were one-sided fights that defied expectations. Here are the top 10 matches from the black belt finals.


Ronaldo Junior vs Felipe Silva

Ronaldo put his explosive passing style on display against Felipe Silva. His dynamic style makes him one of the most exciting guard passers to watch in any competition. Silva deserves credit, too. Despite falling well behind, he didn’t concede a point to Ronaldo’s fierce passing attempts throughout the match, and even threatened to sweep Ronaldo momentarily before being viciously thrown. Ronaldo racked up eight advantages to Silva’s two in this match, but he was just warming up.

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Ronaldo Junior vs Lucas Valente

This might have been Ronaldo’s best performance to date. Valente scored two points early against the Atos black belt. But when Ronaldo returned to top position, he mauled through Valente’s guard. Valente has a reputedly impassible guard. Ronaldo defied that reputation with three sequential passes, racking up 15 points. This was a masterclass in guard passing.

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Dominique Bell vs Horlando Monteiro

Monteiro had two submission wins in the bracket coming into this match, and momentum behind him. But Bell seemed to have something to prove. He went on the attack from the moment the match started. A quick legdrag got him past the guard and on the back, where he snatched an armbar for the win in less than one minute. Bell went on to the final where he faced Atos teammate Gustavo Batista.

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Josh Cisneros vs Paulo Miyao

Cisneros was a major underdog coming into this match. He had been a black belt for less than two months, and was seeded 12th out of 15, up against the top seed, Paulo Miyao. Cisneros pressured Miyao’s guard early, and shut down the dangerous aspects of Miyao’s game: the leg drags, the berimbolos, the inversions. The match went to referee decision, which went in favor of Cisneros, likely for his final burst of energy, which seemed to have the potential to pass Miyao’s guard.

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Matheus Gabriel vs Kennedy Maciel

This long-awaited rematch lived up to the hype. Gabriel had Maciel in a triangle threat early on in the match, and it seemed as though we may see another quick submission. Instead, Gabriel used it to score. Gabriel remained ahead, despite some tricky single-leg-X-guard work from Maciel. Maciel rallied late in the match with several near sweeps from a single-leg takedown position. But Gabriel’s balance in that position is remarkable.

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Michael Liera Jr vs Marcio Andre

This was one of the matches we were looking forward to most even before Andre beat Johnny Tama to make it official. The early minutes were a display of pressure passing and guard retention from both competitors. They swept back and forth, pressuring each other's guards and demonstrating champion-level flexibility. Liera earned the go-ahead score in the final minute of this contest with his top weapon, getting an advantage for a near back take.

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Paulo Gabriel Martins vs Renato Canuto

These two always bring a fight. The first six minutes entailed a bit of a feeling-out process, at least by Canuto’s standards. While the early minutes were high intensity, most of the attacks lacked commitment. But with about four minutes remaining, Canuto ramped up the scoring effort, and Martins followed suit. The last four minutes were a sprint which left the match to referee decision in favor of Canuto.

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Mayssa Bastos vs Pati Fontes

Mayssa Bastos earned the only submission of the black belt finals. This was a gritty match from the start, and when Mayssa got top position, she didn’t slow down with her fierce attacks. She switched her focus from attaining back control to getting the finish, a powerful Ezekiel choke from mount.

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Josh Cisneros vs Pedro Dias

The light featherweight final was a bit slow to start. Dias scored two points early, and rode that lead more than halfway through the match. But with four minutes remaining, Cisneros set up an omoplata that turned the tide. They battled in that position for nearly two minutes; and near the end, Cisneros had Dias shoulder at an unbelievably severe angle, but Dias escaped without conceding points.

Cisneros got the determining score in the final minute, attacking Dias’ back. Dias rolled out of bounds for a penalty, putting Cisneros on top to earn his first Pans title as a black belt.

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Thiago Macedo vs Gianni Grippo

Thiago Macedo became the Pans featherweight champion for two reasons: defense and strategy. And his opening match of the day against Gianni Grippo is the best example of both. He stole two points from Grippo at the opening of the match, intercepting Grippo’s guard pull. Then he survived 10 minutes of back-taking mastery. Grippo did everything he could to get on Macedo’s back, chasing him down and putting significant pressure on him. But Macedo demonstrated unbelievable defense and resilience.

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Grace Gundrum Lives Up To The Hype With Submission In Black Belt Debut

Gundrum defeats Fontes

10th Planet’s Grace Gundrum had a lot to prove in the main event at Fight to Win 155. She’s worn the title of “next big thing” since she was 12 years old. After earning her black belt in July, she finally had an opportunity to live up to that hype.

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Official FloGrappling Predictions: Fight To Win 155

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Another weekend in Philadelphia means another weekend of East Coast competitors itching to get back on stage. Fight to Win will make its second consecutive appearance in PA, for Fight to Win 155. In the main event, the 10th Planet prodigy, Grace Gundrum, will make her Fight to Win debut — and also her black belt debut — against Pati Fontes.

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Teen Standout Mica Galvao Promoted To Brown Belt

Mica Galvao Brown Belt

It must be promotion season, as another teen sensation has just earned his brown belt. 

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The Official FloGrappling Leg Entanglement Encyclopedia

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Now that the IBJJF will be allowing heel hooks in 2021, it's time to brush up on your leglock knowledge. There are several leg entanglements, and most of them have a variety of names. Need to brush up on your terminology? The official FloGrappling leg entanglement reference guide is here!

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Medium Heavyweight Is Stacked! An Early Look At 2020 No-Gi Pans

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It did not take long for registration to close for No-Gi Pans. The IBJJF announced the belated date of this tournament earlier this month, and it has already reached capacity. Some of these competitors are likely to switch divisions as the deadline to switch approaches. In the meantime, here are the key registrants in each division.

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Grace Gundrum To Make Black Belt Debut Against Pati Fontes

Grace Gundrum Pati Fontes F2W 155

Another weekend in Philadelphia means another weekend of East Coast competitors itching to get back on stage. Fight to Win will make its second consecutive appearance in PA, for Fight to Win 155. In the main event, the 10th Planet prodigy, Grace Gundrum, will make her black belt debut against Pati Fontes.

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On The Rise: Luccas Lira

Luccas Lira & Mahamed Aly

Luccas Lira is one of the fastest-rising talents you may not have heard of just yet. A blue belt double-gold champ at the IBJJF No-Gi World Championships, Lira is one of fight sport's emerging talents and someone to absolutely keep an eye on.

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Ruotolo Bros Earn Brown Belts From Andre Galvao

Ruotolos Brown Belt

After less than a year at purple belt, Tye and Kade Ruotolo have been promoted.

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Studying The Trend: Most 2020 Pans Champs Were First-Timers

Johnatha Alves Pans Molinaro

The majority of 2020 Pans black belt champions saw the top of the Pans podium for the first time this year. Ten of the 16 gold medalists had not previously won a black belt division at Pans. Of those 10, five had not previously competed at Pans in a black belt division.

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What's Daisy Fresh? Series Watch Guide

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When we first visited Pedigo Submission Fighting in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, it was for this highly praised photo essay about the life of the Wiltse brothers and their life literally living on the mats. That photo essay became the base for what would eventually become one of our most successful film projects to date, Daisy Fresh: An American Jiu-Jitsu Story.

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