2021 Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship

Ronaldo Junior Looks To Repeat At No-Gi Pans, But This May Be Taza's Year

Ronaldo Junior Looks To Repeat At No-Gi Pans, But This May Be Taza's Year

Ronaldo is back at No-Gi Pans after a successful run in 2020. But the middleweight 2021 division includes two no-gi world champs, and a hungry Oliver Taza.

May 11, 2021 by Corey Stockton
Ronaldo Junior Looks To Repeat At No-Gi Pans, But This May Be Taza's Year

The middleweight division will be one to watch closely at the 2021 IBJJF No-Gi Pans on May 15. More than 20 competitors have registered for this bracket, meaning the winner will have to scale through four or five rounds to reach the podium.

Ronaldo Junior is returning to the middleweight division to defend his 2020 No-Gi Pans title, but he’ll be up against a more decorated roster of potential competition this year than he was in his last run.

First off, two no-gi world champs for a shot at No-Gi Pans gold: Renato Canuto and Hugo Marques. Ronaldo’s best asset in his no gi game is his explosiveness and tenacity, but each of these world champs have the speed and scrambling abilities to match, and potentially best him. 

Canuto may be the favorite in the division. He can open the throttle and mix it up with the best scramblers in grappling, but he knows when to hone in his game to capitalize on a lead.

The middleweight division is also loaded with wildcards, and PJ Barch may be at the forefront among them. Barch has high-level wrestling, which contributes to his nearly unsweepable base. That could pose a problem for those who play a conservative game against him. But Barch’s weakness may be his lack of experience in IBJJF competition. He’s an avid competitor in the submission only scene, and he’s often willing to dive on attacks, even if he must concede position to do so.

While his style could make for some exciting scraps, Barch may struggle against the best strategists in this 23-man division.

On the other hand, this may be Oliver Taza’s year to win gold at No-Gi Pans. Taza won no-gi worlds as a brown belt in 2017, but has struggled to get through the opening round in his black belt debut at No-Gi Pans last year. Taza was without his a-game then, as neither reaping nor heel hooks were allowed in 2020. He fell behind early, penalized for a perceived violation of those rules, and couldn’t recover from that deficit.

But Taza seems to have turned a corner, and he has impressed on the IBJJF mats since heel hooks were sanctioned earlier this year. He took gold in Dallas with three submission victories, and earned three more submissions and a gold medal in Houston. This could be his year to collect his first major IBJJF gold as a black belt, while he is still leagues ahead of the rest of the competition in the leg lock game.

The ultimate wildcard in this division is Matheus Gabriel. The 2019 IBJJF World Champion usually competes at featherweight, and made his ADCC debut in the 66 kg division. The move to middleweight is unusual for the Checkmat representative. He took double gold at the New Orleans Open earlier this month, entering the middleweight bracket. Gabriel could clear out some of the early round athletes, but may struggle with the top names in this division. He may still drop down to a more natural weight class, such as light or feather. 

Adult / Male / Middle


10th Planet Jiu JitsuPaul Barch
AllianceRehan Muttalib
Ares BJJHugo Doerzapff Marques
Atos Jiu-JitsuRonaldo Pereira de Souza Júnior
Breathe Jiu-JitsuDaniel-Shea Garcia Stolfi
Carlson Gracie TeamCelso Ricardo dos Reis Filho
CheckMatMatheus Gabriel Pinheiro Barros
CheckMatRenato Forasieppi Alves Canuto
CheckMat InternationalTyler James Scalisi
Detroit Jiu-Jitsu AcademyKhalil Fadi Fadlallah
Double Five Highland VillageEduardo Avelar de Carvalho
Fight SportsRodrigo Gortari Barbosa
GF TeamLeonardo da Silva Guimaraes
Gracie BarraJoshua Aaron Bacallao
Gracie BarraSaul Viayra
Gracie HumaitaMichael Ray Trasso
Luiz Palhares Jiu-JitsuJeovany Anthony Ortiz
Renzo Gracie AcademyGiann Moramarco
Renzo Gracie InternationalOliver Taza
Silver Fox BJJEnrique D. Galarza
Soul Fighters BJJAaron Michael Joseph Wilson
Unity Jiu-jitsuFelipe Cesar Silva
Unity Jiu-jitsuItalo Moura de Azevedo