2021 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship

Keep Your Eyes On Levi & The Middleweight Division At No-Gi Worlds

Keep Your Eyes On Levi & The Middleweight Division At No-Gi Worlds

The IBJJF No-Gi Worlds middleweight division encompasses ADCC vets and no-gi world champs. But perhaps the most exciting entrant is making his no-gi debut.

Oct 1, 2021 by Corey Stockton

Forty athletes are registered for the male black belt middleweight division at No-Gi Worlds, making it the deepest of the tournament. That roster includes six ADCC veterans, three returning IBJJF no-gi world champs, and one Levi Jones-Leary looking to make his no-gi debut as a black belt.

The middleweight division is composed of some of the most electric competitors in grappling: guys like Dante Leon, Renato Canuto, PJ Barch. Leon and Canuto are both looking to capture their second no-gi world titles, as is 2019 champ Hugo Marques; but they’ll face a new challenge this year.

For the first time ever, heel hooks will be allowed for adult black belts at the no-gi world championships, making competitors like Oliver Taza more dangerous than ever. This could be Taza’s best opportunity to collect a major IBJJF title; he fell out of No-Gi Pans early, disqualified for breaking a rule unrelated to leg locks.

The IBJJF allowing heel hooks has brought out a lot of new faces, such as Bellator MMA fighter Jay Jay Wilson, 8-0 in MMA with four submissions, 10th Planet figures including the up-and-coming Alan Sanchez. 

But the real story of this division is the presence of the Australian rising star, Levi Jones-Leary. Levi had a sensational run in the gi in his rookie season in 2019, capturing European and Pans titles and winning the $100,000 prize at the Spyder Invitational. The berimbolo player teased his transition to no-gi earlier this year, training with Lachlan Giles while living in Australia, and adding new wrinkles to his already precise style.

This will be Levi’s first foray into the no-gi scene as a black belt, and he could walk away as a world champion. If he’s successful, this could be a harbinger of superstardom for Levi in the no-gi sphere, as — win or lose — he’ll face Oliver Taza a few weeks later at WNO: The Return of Gordon Ryan on October 20.

See the full athlete list for the IBJJF World No-Gi black belt middleweight division here:

Adult / Male / Middle


10th Planet Jiu JitsuAlan Sanchez Perez
10th Planet Jiu JitsuPaul Barch
AllianceJay Jay Thomas Wilson
AllianceJonathan T. Satava
AllianceVinicius Lino Wong
Alliance InternationalJosé Andrés Balda Cedeno
Alliance InternationalRehan Muttalib
Ares BJJHugo Doerzapff Marques
Ares BJJMichael Patrick Esquivel II
Atos Jiu-JitsuAlexandre Joaquim de Jesus
Atos JJ InternationalBrian J. Beaury II
Atos JJ InternationalPaulo Gabriel Martins da Costa
Breathe Jiu-JitsuDaniel-Shea Garcia Stolfi
Carlson Gracie TeamCelso Ricardo dos Reis Filho
CheckMatJose Mathias Macedo de Lira Luna
CheckMatRenato Forasieppi Alves Canuto
CheckMatTyler James Scalisi
Detroit Jiu-Jitsu AcademyKhalil Fadi Fadlallah
Fight SportsGesias Cavalcante Souza
Fight SportsRodrigo Gortari Barbosa
GD Jiu-Jitsu AssociationIssa Able
GF TeamDante Scott Leon
GF TeamJaime Soares Canuto
GF Team InternationalGialysson Adão Silva Freitas
Gracie BarraEdwin Najmi
Gracie Barra CoronaSaul Viayra
Gracie Barra NottinghamOliver Johnathon Lovell
LEAD BJJRennick Keolani Kama Jr.
Legion American Jiu-JitsuMichael Andrew Salazar
Nova Uniao CanadaStephen Ralph Simms
Open Mat Mixed Martial ArtsDaniel Seth Davis
Pedro Sauer TeamBrandon Scott Bergeron
Progress Brazilian Jiu JitsuJoão Lucas Ferreira Braz da Silva
Renato Tavares AssociationTodd Andrew Walling
Renzo Gracie InternationalOliver Taza
Unity Jiu-jitsuItalo Moura de Azevedo
Unity Jiu-jitsuLevi Jones-Leary
Zenith BJJ - Las VegasJoseph Mckay
ZR Team AssociationMateusz Miroslaw Flaga