2021 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship

Grappling Bulletin: Worlds is Two Weeks Away, And It Could Be The Best Ever

Grappling Bulletin: Worlds is Two Weeks Away, And It Could Be The Best Ever

The first IBJJF World Championships in over two years is nearly upon us, here's what you should know.

Nov 22, 2021 by Hywel Teague
Grappling Bulletin: Worlds is Two Weeks Away, And It Could Be The Best Ever

The countdown is almost over– we are mere weeks away from the most anticipated jiu-jitsu event of the year. The IBJJF World Championships has not taken place since June of 2019, and there is a palpable sensation of excitement among fans and athletes as we draw closer to the tournament. 

Don't forget to watch the Grappling Bulletin podcast, Monday November 22 at 1:00pm ET. Watch it on FloGrappling.com or the app, or catch it LIVE on YouTube or Facebook.

Key Dates to Know

  • Registrations continue to pour in every day, with the deadline for signing up on November 29. At that point, only divisions changes will be allowed. 
  • Brackets are scheduled to be released on December 7, although there is a chance they could drop on Monday December 6. 
  • The IBJJF World Championships runs over four scheduled days, with the tournament taking place December 9-12. 
  • The black belts will compete on December 11 and 12, with elimination rounds and the absolute division on Saturday Dec 11, and the quarterfinals through to finals of the weight classes on Sunday Dec 12, in addition to the absolute finals.

An Early Look at Big-Name Competitors

We've identified the key athletes present in each division as of publishing (Nov. 21) and will be adding more as the registration period continues. 

Returning champions include Bruno Malfacine, Matheus Gabriel, Shane Jamil Hill-Taylor, Isaque Bahiense, Leandro Lo, Gustavo Batista, Lucas "Hulk" Barbosa, Dimitrius Souza, Felipe Pena in the men's divisions.

Mayssa Bastos, Beatriz Mesquita, Luiza Monteiro and Ana Carolina Vieira will return in search of gold in the women's divisions. 

Leandro Lo Signs Up As Medium-Heavyweight

Having taken gold at the IBJJF World Championships no less than seven times, Leandro Lo will return but at a weight class he has not competed at since 2016. 

Lo has claimed titles at lightweight (2012, 2013), middleweight (2014), medium-heavyweight (2015, 2016), heavyweight (2019) and in the absolute (2018). 

Leandro has been training at Unity in New York in preparation for the event, and we'll go to visit the gym's Worlds training camp on December 2. 

Xande Ribeiro: 2021 World Championship Will Be His Last

After competing at the World Championship since 1997, Xande Ribeiro has decided that this year will be his last. 

Matheus Gabriel Is Staying at Featherweight for Worlds

Matheus Gabriel plans on becoming a champion at multiple weights, but he is staying at featherweight for the 2021 World Championships. 

Kade Ruotolo Plans To "Send It" for 2021 IBJJF Worlds

No gi training? No problem for Kade Ruotolo, who says he'll prepare for the 2021 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship in Costa Rica.

Tye Ruotolo Confirms He is IN for 2021 IBJJF Worlds in the Gi

Atos brown belt Tye Ruotolo confirms he will return to the gi for the first time since 2019 at the 2021 IBJJF Worlds in December.

The Best of IBJJF Worlds 2016-2019

Relive the best matches from the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, spanning from 2016 to 2019. 

Grappling News round-up

Read on for a quick breakdown of the major stories from around the world of jiu-jitsu and grappling. 


Dante Leon Calls On Lachlan Giles To Step Up, Or Step Aside

  • Dante Leon seemed a little surprised that his Grapplefest -80kg title belt said "interim" on it, and he's calling on Lachlan Giles to either vacate the belt or face him to determine who is the rightful champion. 
  • Leon defeated fellow Canadian Oliver Taza for the title belt 
  • Giles won the title way back in June of 2019, but hasn't competed since the 2019 ADCC World Championships. 
  • Based in Melbourne, Australia, Giles has had to contend with some of the strictest lockdown laws in the world and has spent many months away from the mats. Lachlan and his wife Livia also welcomed a baby boy into their family. 
  • Leon sits at #4 in the FloGrappling No-Gi Rankings, while Lachlan's inactivity means he is unranked. 

Roger Gracie Inducted into ADCC Hall of Fame 

  • ADCC 2022 World Championships promoter Mo Jassim has unveiled the first entry into the newly created Hall of Fame. 
  • Jassim has long promised to honor champions of yesteryear, and the first to be inducted is ADCC 2005 double gold champion Roger Gracie
  • Gracie won all eight matches that year via submission, a feat nobody else has ever accomplished. 
  • Further names will be announced and the Hall of Famers will be invited to attend a ceremony at the 2022 World Championships in Las Vegas. 

Dream Art Dominant at Abu Dhabi World Pro

  • Dream Art, the breakaway team that recently split from Alliance, were the number one team at the 2021 Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championships (ADWPJJC). 
  • They claimed six medals at black belt, with four golds, one silver and a bronze. 
  • Isaque Bahiense and Bia Mesquita added even more ADWPJJC titles to their collections and are both now multiple-time champions in this federation. 
  • Anna Rodrigues and Erich Munis won their first ADWPJJC black belt world titles. Rodrigues took silver in the last edition of this event, while Munis competed as a black belt for the first time in Abu Dhabi. 
  • Yara Soares took silver in the +95kg division, while Lucas Gualberto took bronze at -85kg. 
  • We're still waiting to find out who will participate at the IBJJF Worlds, but if this is any indication of what to expect then Dream Art could feasibly win the team trophy in their first year as an independent team.

Melqui Galvao Takes Four Black Belts To World Pro Gold

  • Jiu-jitsu coach Melqui Galvao, perhaps best known as the father of Mica Galvao, achieved a rare feat by seeing four of his athletes win gold at the ADWPPJC. 
  • What makes it all the more impressive is that three of the four were competing in Abu Dhabi for the first time as black belts. 
  • Micael Galvao won gold in the 77kg division with all submissions, while Fight Sports teammates Diogo Reis (-62kg), Brenda Larissa (-49kg) and Nathannael Fernandes (56kg) each took the top spot in their respective divisions. Brenda Larissa took gold in the previous ADWPJJC, making her a two-time champion. 
  • Together, the athletes earned a total of $40,000 in prize money.

The Mikey Lock Strikes Again (And Again)

  • Mikey Musumeci surprised everybody by entering a local no-gi tournament in California. 
  • The #1 135lb no-gi grappler in the world competed in a Jiu-Jitsu World League event and hit two Mikey locks. 
  • Musumeci faced some criticism for claiming to have invented the submission, with some claiming the move dates back to the 90s. 
  • Mikey is adamant that his variation of the submission, which looks like a kneebar but has a twisting element to it much like a heel hook, is an original creation. 
  • He even demonstrated the move with veteran black belts Bernardo Faria and Dean Lister, showing the exact mechanics behind the attack.

Martinez Earns Spot In Emerald City Invitation 3 Tournament

Matteo Martinez of ECUBJJ submitted three of his four opponents in the Emerald City Invitational 185 lb qualifier on Sunday, November 21 to earn a spot in the 16-man middleweight bracket at Emerald City Invitational 3 coming to FloGrappling December 4.

Watch the full tournament on the Finishers YouTube channel.

  • The tournament, hosted by Finishers Only, was an EBI-rules event during the Finishers Open 7 event.
  • Martinez finished three of his four opponents via heel hook in regulation.
  • He earned the fastest submission of the event, an eight-second heel hook from backside 50-50.
  • Martinez won his semifinal match with the fastest escape time of the event, a three-second escape from the spiderweb position.
  • He defeated Steven Kasten in the final with a heel hook in the very last second of regulation.
  • According to a post Emerald City Invitational's official Instagram page, Kasten has also been awarded a spot in the middleweight bracket on December 4.
  • Kasten and Martinez will join a full roster of middleweight stars in the Emerald City Invitational 3 tournament, including:

Quick Hits

Buchecha Docu Drops on Thanksgiving

Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida is the most successful jiu-jitsu competitor of all time. You can watch the trailer for our upcoming documentary here. The first of three episodes drops on Thanksgiving (Nov 25). 

Swedish Gym Victim of Arson

Max Lindblad’s gym in Sweden was torched by an arsonist. You can donate to a fund for rebuilding the gym here

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