The IBJJF World Championships, otherwise known as the Mundials or Worlds, is held at the end of May in Long Beach, California every year. It is the most prestigious event for the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with the best of the best holding up their medals in honor as they stand on the podium.
Although hundreds of competitors are vying for victory, only the toughest, most technical fighters will get the chance to receive gold medals.
Without further ado, here’s Evolve Daily’s selection of the 7 Most Awesome Athletes To Watch In The 2015 Mundials:
1) Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida
This year, “Buchecha” is set to break Roger Gracie’s record of winning 3 open weight titles in the Mundials in a row. When he was barely 20 years old, many were already speaking his name in hushed tones after double wins (weight and open weight division) from 2012-2014 in the Mundials.
2) Mackenzie Dern
Last month, Dern pulled off an upset after defeating a much larger Gabrielle Garcia, the nine-time women’s world champion in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. It was the first time the 22-year-old Dern had won in both her weight class and the absolute division.
3) Bruno “Bad Boy” Malfacine
Last year, Malfacine set the record with 6 world title wins in the roosterweight division. Known for his aggressive passing style, Malfacine was able to nullify the impassable guard of João Miyao. There’s no doubt that he is truly one of the most exciting fighters to watch.
4) Alexandre Ribeiro
A six-time Mundials champion, Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro makes his much awaited return to the BJJ competition scene at the medium-heavyweight division. Last month, Ribeiro competed against Keenan Cornelius in a battle of old school versus new school at Metamoris 6. Although the fight ended in a draw, it was an exciting match nonetheless. There’s no doubt that it will be interesting to watch the two battle it out on the mats once again.
5) Leandro Lo
Famous for his open guard, Leandro Lo has competed in both the lightweight and middleweight divisions as well as open weight. Last year, he was successful in his move to the middleweight division, defeating Otavio Sousa. Lo started gaining popularity in 2011 when he won the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship against Michael Langhi, who had previously been undefeated for three years.
6) Keenan Cornelius
Even before his debut as a black belt at the Mundials last year, Keenan Cornelius was already making waves as a purple and brown belt competitor. In fact he is most known for garnering the “grand slam” achievement, winning double gold medals at four major tournaments. In last month’s Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, he was able to defeat Felipe Pena and Clark Gracie, only losing to Leandro Lo in the semi-finals.
7) Rafael Mendes
The other half of the famed Mendes brothers, Rafael Mendes is set to overtake Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles’ distinction as the most successful featherweight in history in last year’s Mundials. Using his famous 50/50 guard and the berimbolo, Mendes’ guard has proved to be practically impossible to pass, much to the dismay of his opponents.
Tell us, who do you want to see on the podium this year?