2022 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship

23 Rookies To Keep Your Eye On To At The 2022 IBJJF World Championships

23 Rookies To Keep Your Eye On To At The 2022 IBJJF World Championships

Don't count out these first-year black belts. They plan to put their names in the jiu-jitsu history books at the 2022 IBJJF World Championships.

May 27, 2022 by Corey Stockton
23 Rookies To Keep Your Eye On To At The 2022 IBJJF World Championships

There are nearly two dozen first year black belts registered for the 2022 IBJJF World Championship. This year's will be one of the most stacked Worlds in recent memory, but the rookies should not be counted out. In some divisions, they may even be the favorites to win the whole thing.

Male divisions:

Roosterweight rookies:

Matheus Azancot* | Ares BJJ (brown belt world champ)

Tadiyah Danforth |  Alliance

Osamah Almarwai | Atos

The 2021 IBJJF brown belt roosterweight World Champion, Matheus Azancot will receive a warm welcome to the big show in the Walter Pyramid. Among the 15-man division are Thalison Soares, Tomoyuki Hashimoto, Jonas Andrade, Bebeto Oliveira and Rodnei Barbosa. Ares has a knack for producing dominant athletes in the lightest weight classes, and if Azancot can push through the first round, he should emerge as a top-tier roosterweight talent.

Light Featherweight rookies:

Sebastian Serpa* | Outer Heaven (brown belt world champ)

The 2021 brown belt World and Pan Champion, Serpa will be making his black belt debut at Worlds in a division full of young assassins. Many in this division earned their black belts in the last two years, leaving men like Malachi Edmond, Junny Ocasio and Hiago George as veterans in the division.

Many of the most dangerous in this 19-man bracket include Diego Pato — the reigning world champ — Meyram Maquine, Keven Carrasco, Diogo Reis and Jordan Vaisman. It will be a tough crowd for Serpa. But a successful outing, even only on the first day, would be enough for Serpa to claim a spot among the best at 141 lbs.

Featherweight rookies:

Ismael Santos* | GF Team

After a rough outing at light featherweight at Pans in his first black belt major, the 2021 brown belt Pan Champion is back up to his natural featherweight class. But this division is not easier by any means. With two world champions and the entirety of the top 20 featherweights in the mix, Santos will have to give the best performance of his career to punch on. But if he breaks through, this outing could put him on the map.

Lightweight rookies:

Tye Ruotolo* | Atos (brown belt world champ)

Mica Galvao* | Fight Sports

It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite in this 28-deep lightweight division, studded with Worlds, Pans, Brasileiros and European champions top to bottom. But the division’s two rookies, Mica Galvao and Tye Ruotolo, are absolutely among the favorites. While both of these athletes are technically in their first year at black belt, they’ve been competing among the best in the sport for years. Either of them could become some of the youngest champions in the history of grappling, and a potential match between the two is already picking up heat.

Middleweight rookies:

Austin Oranday | Alliance

Tarik Hopstock | Frontline Academy

Medium Heavyweght rookies:

Mateus Rodrigues* | Art Of Jiu-Jitsu (brown belt world champ)

Jansen Gomes* | Checkmat (brown belt world champ)

The medium heavyweight division at Worlds is full of veterans, including world champs Gustavo Batista and Leandro Lo. But the two incoming rookies, Jansen Gomes and Mateus Rodrigues, have the energy and tenacity to compensate for their lack of experience at the black belt level. Plus, both Gomes and Rodrigues are 2021 brown belt World Champions. The next generation of medium heavyweights has arrived.

Heavyweight rookies:

Pedro Machado* | Atos (brown belt world champ)

Marlon Tanaka | 316 BJJ

Pedro Machado took double gold at Worlds in December as a brown belt, and looked sharp at Pans, collecting two submissions before a narrow loss. He’s earned an impressive 73% submission rate on the year already, and is equally dangerous in his dynamic passing and his razor sharp collar-sleeve guard.

Machado’s recent move to Atos will put him on the opposite side of the bracket from the reigning world champ, Kaynan Duarte. That could fare well for the rookie, as the rest of the division appears within his reach.

Super Heavyweight rookies:

Paulo Lanzillotti | Checkmat

Renan Cruz | R1NG

Ultra Heavyweight rookies:

Guilherme Bacha* | Checkmat (brown belt world champ)

The brown belt ultra heavyweight world champ had an impressive outing at Euros, climbing to the finals before losing out to Rafael Lovato Jr. Bacha will be in one of the deepest ultra heavyweight divisions in recent memory, but it’s an opportunity for him to shine once again, and reclaim dominance over his division for the Checkmat team.

Female Divisions

Roosterweight rookies:

Jhenifer Aquino* | Atos (brown belt world champ)

The Atos roosterweight is one of the few athletes who has been able to survive division queenpin Mayssa Bastos, giving up only four points to her at Pans earlier this year. That’s a testament to the abilities of Aquino, who has a 75% submission rate on the year.

Featheweight rookies:

Gabriela Pereira | Qatar / Vision (brown belt world champ)

Lightweight rookies:

Thamires Monteiro | Checkmat

Middleweight rookies:

Iasmim Casser* | Art Of Jiu-Jitsu (brown belt world champ)

Betina Pereira | GF Team

Thalyta Lima | Qatar / Vision

AOJ product Iasmim Casser won Pans at every belt level, and looked unstoppable at Worlds in 2021, winning in the brown belt division. She’ll face a tough welcome committee at middleweight; veterans such as Lis Clay, Raquel Canuto, Thamara Ferreira and world champ Andressa Cintra are waiting.

Medium Heavyweight rookies

Amy Campo* | Zenith (brown belt world champ)

Amy Campo could be an immediate threat at black belt. She won double gold at 2021 Worlds in the brown belt divisions, and put her name on the map when she won the ADCC West Coast Trials in April. Campo is a submission machine. The veterans of the division — Maria Malyjaisak, Ana Carloina Vieira, Ingridd Sousa and Isadora Silva — should be cautious not to take her lightly.