The Pan Jiu-Jitu Championship (Pan Ams) is just around the corner. From 12 – 15 March one of the biggest and most important Jiu Jitsu tournament will be held. After the Worlds, this tournament is considered by many as the most important BJJ Tournament.
According to the name it should target competitors in North and South America. However, in reality this tournament attracts high level competitors from all over the world.
Since we are a big (HUGE) fan of the sport we’d like to share our predictions with you and name some of the competitors that you should keep an eye on. We have tried to make predictions from divisions that we have seen previously and know best. So some divisions are left out.
We only know a few guys out there that are competing who have been really making waves in their division.
Blue light-feather: We don’t know too many fighters from this division, but one person that we do know is Kennedy Maciel (BRA). The son of BJJ legend and 4x world champion Rubens Charles ‘Cobrinha’. With the privilege of training with the likes of your BJJ legend dad, Sinistro and Isaac Doederlein it will definetely give you an edge. We predict that that he will make it to the podium and most likely win the division.
Blue Middleweight: In this division we see a medal for Josh Valles (USA) from Gracie Barra Pasadena .
Blue Medium Heavy: Gustavo Batista (BRA) from Cicero Costha drew our attention at the Europeans 2015 after defeating everybody he faced and thereby securing the double gold. He showed really sick passing skills at the Europeans and we predict that he will win his divion at the Pan Ams and has a big chance in the open weight as well.
There are a lot of interesting people to watch in the purple and brown belt division. We listed the people who are most likely to win a medal. The lists are in random order and we have not looked at the brackets.
1. Hiago Gama Sousa (BRA) | Alliance Rio – Hiago Gama became the first athlete to win a grand slam at blue belt in 2013. The Grand Slam is when you win the four major tournaments of the year: Europeans, Pan Ams, Brazilian Nationals and the Worlds.
2. Eric Cong Phan (CAN) | Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu – The winner of the same division at the Europeans 2015 and currently the #1 ranked light feather weight at purple belt.
3. Nicholas Bohli (USA) | Atos AOJ – At the Europeans this year he lost the final to Eric Cong Phan. With that said, he did make it all the way to the final though. You might recognize him as the ref at the Chechnya Grozny Battle in February.
BJJAA predication: Eric Cong Phan. He is been on a roll lately and if he continues his winning streak from the Europeans then we see him becoming the Pan Ams 2015 champ in the light feather division.
1. Spencer Nogawa (USA) | Atos AOJ – In 2014 he won the Worlds as a blue belt and he has been continuing collecting medals at purple belt as well.
2. Mason Monsevais (USA) | Atos AOJ – Homegrown student under the Mendes Bros. Started off as a white belt at the famous Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy and has been training there fulltime. Training fulltime under the Mendes bros has reflected in his results. He won almost every tournament that he competed in at blue belt. He moved one weight class up though to featherweight. It was quite a surprise that he didn’t medal at the Europeans 2015. Despite that, chances are that he will medal at the Pan Ams.
BJJAA predication: Spencer Nogawa & Mason Monsevais from AOJ will close out the division.
1. Rolando Samson (USA) | Atos San Diego – Fast. Explosive. Submission hunter. Very well rounded fighter training under Andre Galvao at Atos San Diego. A lot of times considered as the favorite to win in the lightweight division. You can’t expect less if you have an awesome highlight like this.
2. Ali Monfaradi (KUW) | Alliance Sao Paulo – Originally from Kuwait, but he has been training for a while now at the Alliance HQ in Sao Paulo. Last year he had a nice back and forth battle with Rolando Samson at the quarter finals of the Worlds, where he came out as the winner. We definitely look forward to seeing them battle again at the Pan Ams. Watch their encounter at the worlds here.
3. Jeremy Jackson (USA) | Heroes Martial Arts – Bringing in the same pace as Rolando Samson. You can expect a lot of explosive and fast transitions.
BJJAA prediction: Rolando Samson. Last year he took bronze. So we are guessing that he is more determined than ever to take the gold.
1. Devon Delbrugge (USA) | TLI
2. Danny Stolfi (USA) | Atos AOJ
3. Horlando Monteiro (BRA) | Nova União
4. Gustavo Salerno (ARG) | Atos JJ
BJJAA prediction: Tough to score this one but we are going with Danny Stolfi.
1. Rudson Mateus Teles (BRA) | Brasa CTA – Keep an eye on him. Absolute beast. He has mostly been competing in Brazil. At the Europeans this year he wrecked the whole purple belt division and got double gold. At the Pan Ams we predict that he will repeat that feature.
2. Pete O’Neal (USA) | Atos San Diego – Last year he won his weight division and the open weight division at the Pan Ams as a blue belt. Will be a tough task to repeat in the Purple belt division.
3. Philippe Pomaski (SWI) | CheckMat – Competitor from Switzerland who has been training in Brazil and the US with many of the highlevel Checkmat black belts.
4. Isaque Bahiense (BRA) | Alliance Rio
BJJAA prediction: After his killer performance at the Europeans 2015. We are going with Rudson Telles as the winner of the medium heavyweight division.
1. Nicolas Meregali (BRA) | Alliance – Double gold Europeans 2014. Double Gold Pan Ams 2014. Double Gold Brazilian Nationals 2014. Gold and….Silver at the Worlds 2014. Just one medal away from repeating the amazing performance by Keenan Cornelius in 2012 of winning the Double Grand Slam.
2. Kristof Szucs (HUN) | Gracie Barra Hungary – Won the Worlds and Europeans as a blue belt last year.
3. Gerard Labinski (POL) | Gracie Barra – Tough competitor from Poland.
4. Michael Perez (USA) | Atos San Diego
BJJAA prediction: Nicolas Meragali will defend his title and wins again.
1. Michael Musumeci (USA)| American Top Team – Winner of the Worlds and the Pan Ams last year. It almost looks like you are watching one of the Miyao brothers when he is on the mats. A very strong berimbolo game. Just like with the Miyaos this game is working fine for him.
2. Woolf Barnato (USA)| Ralph Gracie Kurt Osiander – Silver medalist from last year Pan Ams.
3. Darson Hemmings (CAN) | Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Canada – One of the top competitors from Canada.
4. Ostap Manastyrski (CAN)| Open Mat MMA Toronto – Another top competitor from Canada. Also famous for his great BJJ breakdowns. 2 months ago he visited our gym and trained with us. He has very good skills.
BJJAA prediction: Michael Musumeci berimboloing his way to the gold.
1. Isaac Doederlein (USA) | Alliance LA – Cobrinha protégé Isaac Doederlein is probably the best featherweight at brown belt. He has a very sick spider guard and omoplata attacks. Besides that, he also has a very dangerous knee slide that will give big troubles to any guardplayers out there. This is his 2nd season as a brown belt competitor. Last year he took gold at the Europeans, Bronze at Pan Ams and Silver at the Worlds. This year he started by winning gold at the Europeans again and silver in the Open weight where he defeated an ultra heavyweight. Watch his purple belt highlight here. Those were already some sick skills and he is improved a lot more since that highlight came out. Definetetly the huge favourite.
2. Rick Slomba (USA) | Atos AOJ – Instructor and competitor at the Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy. Last year he became a World Champion at Purple belt.
3. Silvio Duran (BRA) | Zenith BJJ
4. Caio Nunes (BRA) | Alliance
BJJAA prediction: Isaac Doederlein is on fire and will take the win.
This is a super stacked division with a lot of talents.
1. Mansher Khera (USA) | Alliance MG – One the stars from Marcelo Garcia’s dream team. With a style similar to Marcelo Garcia, he is definitely one of the top lightweights to look out for.
2. Edwin Najimi (USA) | Gracie Barra Northridge – Flying triangle expert Edwin Najimi was one of the top stars in the purple belt division. Made a huge upset by submitting Nicolas Meragali in the open weight final of the Worlds 2014 with a flying triangle. Started his brown belt journey by winning the Europeans this year.
3. Zata Toscano (USA) | Alliance NYC – Former training partner of Sinistro and tricky guard player from NYC.
4. Johnny Tama (ECU) | Alliance ECU – Won the Pan Ams last year as a purple belt. You can watch him win it here.
5. Jason Gagnon (CAN) | Alliance
6. Abdelkarim Zaid Abdelkarim Alrashid – The Source MMA team
BJJAA prediction: A lot of good candidates who can all win the division, but given his experience at Brown belt we are going with: Mansher Khera.
1. Dillon Danis (USA) | Alliance MG – Another star from Marcelo Garcia’s brown belt dream team with very nice submissions. Be aware of his kneebars. Last year he won most of the big tournaments already. So it looks like he will be defending his titles this year.
2. Alec Baulding (USA) | Alliance – A competitor that we haven’t seen competing for a while. About four years ago he was one of the top competitors under Cobrinha, when Cobrinha was still teaching at the Alliance HQ in Atalanta. Very interesting to see how he will fare against the new breed.
3. Yago de Souza (BRA) | PSLB Cicero Costha – Gold at the Europeans 2014 and 2015. He has a very good guard passing game.
4. Gabriel Arges – Gracie Barra | Purple belt World Champion in 2014 and student under Felipe Pena. He is also often at the Academy of Romulo Barral.
BJJAA prediction: Dillon Danis. Looked unstoppable last year and it looks like he will continue his great performances.
1. Matheus Diniz (BRA) | Alliance MG – The third member of the brown belt dream team from Marcelo Garcia. Also competing in his second year as a brown belt. In his first year he made it to the podium at the Pan Ams and the Worlds.
2. Hunter Ewald (USA) | Fightsports (Cyborg) – Competitor from Hawaii and fight under Fight Sports.
3. Brian Morizi (USA) | Clark Gracie Jiu Jitsu
4. Tye Murphy – TLI
BJJAA prediction: Matheus Diniz. He is the current World champion and he has the skills and experience.
We don’t know too many competitors from this division. So we expect a win for Mike Carbulido from Atos San Diego or Fernando Dos Reis from Alliance SP.
1. Pedro Araujo (BRA) | Gracie Barra Northridge – 2014 Purple belt World Champion and now training full time under Romulo Barral. Together with Gabriel Arges and Edwin Najimi they won the most important tournaments as a purple belt. Have look at his routine here.
2. Jared Dopp (USA) | Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu – One of the top students under Rafael Lovato Jr. Made a huge upset at the ADCC 2013 by defeating Vinny Magalhaes while he was still a purple belt.
3. Mahamed Aly (BRA) | Team LIoyd Irvin
BJJAA prediction: Mahamed Aly. After Erberth Santos we see another great talent from Brazil competing under TLI with a lot of skills to win.
1. Igor Gregório Schneider (BRA) | PSLB Cicerho Costa
2. Admilson Gobi Junior (BRA) | TLI
BJJAA prediction: Igor Schneider
Black Belt Rooster:
1. Bruno Malfacine (BRA) | Alliance Orlando
2. Caio Terra (BRA) | CTA Brasa
3. Fabio Passos (BRA) | Alliance LA Cobrinha
4. Koji Shibamoto (JAP) | Triforce JJ Academy
BJJAA prediction: In the past this division saw either Caio Terra or Bruno Malfacine as the winner. For this year we don’t expect it to be any different. We feel that Bruno is in a better shape this year and will take the win. Fabio Passo and Koji Shibamoto will take 3th place.
Black light feather weight:
1. Miyao brothers (BRA) – PSLB Cicerho Costa
2. Rafael Freitas (BRA) – Gracie Barra
3. Simone Francheschini (ITA) – Cyclone
This is only the second season as a black belt for the Miyao brothers. Despite that, they have already beaten most of the experienced black belts. With Gui Mendes not competing we see the Miyao brothers closing out this division.
BJJAA prediction: Close out by the Miyao brothers. Rafael Freitas and João Pedro Oliveira Rodrigues will take 3th place.
1. Gianni Grippo (USA) – Alliance Marcelo Garcia
2. Osvaldo Moizinho ‘Quexinho’ (BRA) – Gracie Fighter
3. Victor Figueiredo Genovesi (BRA) – Alliance
4. Thiago Rodrigues (BRA) – CheckMat
BJJAA prediction: Without Rafael Mendes and Cobrinha this division is wide open. The semi finals will be Thiago Rodrigues Lemos vs Oswaldo Quexinho and Victor Genovesi vs Gianni Grippo. Victor Genovesi beat Gianni Grippo in the finals of the 2012 mundials brown featherweight division. However, Gianni Grippo is doing really good lately and will win this match to face Quexinho in the finals. This final is going to be really close. We think that Quexinho will probably win because he is a good strategist.
Black light weight:
1. Gabriel Rollo (BRA) – Checkmat Santos
2. JT Torres (USA) – Atos San Diego
3. Juan Caio Kamezawa (BRA) – Alliance
4. Michael Liera Jr. (USA) – Atos San Diego
5. Mario Reis (BRA) – Alliance
6. AJ Agazarm (USA) – Gracie Barra
7. Andris Brunovkis (USA) – Atos San Diego
8. Rodrigo Caporal (BRA) – Atos JJ
BJJAA prediction: This is one of the most stacked divisions at the black belt level and it will definitely be one of the most fun divisions to watch. This year’s division is without the usual favorites: Lucas Lepri, Michael Langhi, and Roberto Satoshi. It will be interesting to see how the new generation of black belts like: Michael Liera Jr., Andre Brunovskis and Kevin Machecha will do. The semifinals will be JT Torres vs Juan Caio Kamezawa and Mario Reis vs Gabriel Rollo. JT Torres is looking better each year and will probably face Gabriel Rollo in the final. Gabriel Rollo is not that known to most people, but he might be able to surprise a lot of people and take the win. However, we feel that JT Torres will be the favorite to take the Gold.
1. Francisco ‘Sinistro’ Iturralde (ECU)- Alliance LA
2. Leandro Lo (BRA) – PSLB Cicero Costha
3. Otavio Sousa (BRA) – Gracie Barra
4. Victor Silverio (BRA) – GF Team
5. Vitor Henrique (BRA) – GF Team
6. Marcos Tinoco (BRA) – Alliance MG
7. Tanner Rice (USA)- Rice Bros BJJ
BJJAA prediction: Another super stacked division. Leandro Lo will face Sinistro in the first Quarterfinal. Victor Estima will face Vinicius Marinho in the second Quarterfinal. The third Quarterfinal will be Otavio Sousa vs Victor Silverio. And the fourth Quarterfinal will be Tanner Rice vs Vitor Oliviera. Leandro Lo is the huge favourite in this division to win, but we are going with our man and regular guest intructor of the gym; ‘Sinistro’ as the winner (We are biased :)). It will be a really tough task though to beat Leandro Lo, Victor Estima and Otavio Sousa.
Black Medium Heavy:
1. Keenan Cornelius (USA) – Atos San Diego
2. Renato Cardoso (BRA) – Alliance SP
3. Guto Campos (BRA) – Atos
4. Arnaldo Maidana (BRA) – CheckMat
5. Murilo Santana (BRA) – Barbosa Jiu Jitsu
BJJAA prediction: The Quarter finals will be Keenan Cornelius vs Renato Cardoso, Guto Campos vs Abmar Barbosa, Arnaldo Maidana vs Rodrigo Fajardo and Murilo Santana vs Thiago Sa. Keenan will face Murilo Santana in the semifinal and Arnaldo Maidana will face Guto Campos in the other semifinal. We feel that this will be a close out for team Atos. Guto Campos and Keenan Cornelius will close in the final.
1. Lucas Leite (BRA) – Checkmat
2. Tim Spriggs (USA) – TLI
3. Marcelo Lapela (BRA) – Checkmat
4. Lucas Rocha (BRA) – Gracie Barra
BJJAA prediction: In this division it will either be Lucas Leite vs Tim Spriggs in the final or a close out between Lucas Leite and Marcelo Mafra. Our Prediction is a close out between Marcelo Mafra and Lucas Leite. Which will be interesting since both are natural middleweights fighting in the heavyweight division.
Black super heavy:
1. Yuri Simoes (BRA) | CTA Brasa
2. Joao Assis (BRA) | Checkmat
3. Bernardo Faria (BRA) | Alliance Marcelo Garcia
4. Leo Nogueira (BRA) | Alliance
5. Erberth Santos (BRA) | TLI/Guigo JJ
BJJAA prediction: Last year’s winner Luiz Panza moved a weight up this year. Semifinals will be: Yuri vs Leo Nogueira and João Assis vs Bernardo Faria. The final will be Yuri Simoes vs Bernardo Faria. Bernardo Faria will take the Gold.
Black Ultra Heavyweight:
1. Luiz Panza (BRA) | Checkmat
2. Alexander Trans (DEN) | UAEJJ Team
3. Joao Gabriel Rocha (BRA) | Soul Fighters Team
4. Gabriel Lucas (BRA) | Checkmat
BJJAA prediction: Joao Gabriel Rocha will return at the big stage after he won his battle against cancer. However, he is facing one of the toughest draws in his return: Luiz Panza, if both of them win their first match. We feel that at the moment Luiz Panza will have the edge over Joao Gabriel Rocha. Semifinals: Gabriel Lucas vs Abraham Marte and Luiz Panza vs Alexander Trans. Where Alexander Trans and Luiz Panza will meet in the final. Which will be tough to predict but we are going with Luiz Panza as the winner.
Black female rooster:
In this division we see Sofia Amarante from Fight Sports winning over Marcela Lawton from New England United BJJ.
Black female light feather:
1. Michelle Nicolini (BRA) | Checkmat
2. Gezary Matuda (BRA) | American Top Team
3. Ariadne de Oliveira (BRA) | Mestre Wilson
Bibiana S. Silva (BRA) | UFC Gym Stamford/BDT BJJ
BJJAA prediction: We predict that Michelle Nicolini and Gezary Matuda will meet in the final. Will be tough to score but Michelle will take the win.
1. Tammi Musumeci (USA) | American Top Team
2. Mackenzie Dern (BRA) | Gracie Humaita
3. Karen Antunes (BRA) | Checkmat
Chelsea Leah (USA) | Atos San Diego
BJJAA prediction: Mackenzie Dern will face off against Chelsea Leah in the semifinal. Where Mackenzie will come out as the winner. In the other semifinal we see a matchup between Karen Antunes vs berimbolo girl Tammi Musumeci. This will be the return for Tammi after her severe injury that she got against Michelle Nicolini in the final of the Worlds 2014. We think that this will be a repeat of the final from the Pan Ams from last year with the same outcome. Tammi Musumeci as the winner.
Black female lightweight:
1. Beatriz Mesquita (BRA) | Gracie Humaita
2. Angelica Galvao (BRA) | Atos San Diego
3. Nyjah Easton (USA) | TLI
Fabiana Borges (BRA) | Gracie Barra
For this division we predict a final between Bea Mesquita vs Angelica Galvao. Given her experience, we are going with Bea as the winner.
Black female middle:
1. Monique Elias (BRA) | Alliance Mario Reis
2. Luiza Monteiro (BRA) | PSLB Cicerho Costa
BJJAA prediction: We don’t know all the ladies in this division, but the standouts are definitely Luiza Monteiro and Monique Elias. Winner: Monique Elias.
Black female Medium heavy:
1. Andresa Correa (BRA) | Alliance
2. Ana Cordeiro (BRA) | Gracie Barra
Black female heavy:
1. Dominyka Obelenyte (USA) | Alliance MG
2. Tammy M. Griego (USA) | Gracie Barra
Black female Super heavy:
1. Gabrielle Lemos Garcia (BRA) | Alliance SP
Open weight winner: Gabrielle Lemos Garcia (BRA) | Alliance SP
Who is missing out?
There are plenty of awesome competitors signed up for the Pan Ams but there are still some BJJ superstars missing like: The Mendes bros, Cobrinha, Michael Langhi, Lucas Lepri, Romulo Barral, Jackson Sousa, Marcus Buchecha, Rodolfo Vieira, Andre Galvao and Roberto Satoshi.
Some usefull links:
We are very excited and are definitely looking forward to some great BJJ matches. You can watch the stream here.
PAN 2015 schedule: http://ibjjf.org/pan-2015-schedule/
Quite a long read but we think that this is the most in depth Pan Ams analysis. Feel free to share this article and let us know what you think about it or what your predictions are.