World Jiu Jitsu Championships 2011 – Review and Recap

The Walter Pyramid – Long Beach, California


The 2011 Jiu Jitsu World Championships came and went with considerably less fan fare than they deserved. However, there was a small but passionate corner of the internet that was intensely focused on every sweep, takedown and submission performed at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach on June 3-5, 2011. Thankfully, was streaming a high-quality broadcast of the event, with a $10 charge for the finals on Sunday. It was well worth it for what amounted to about 20 hours of great Jiu Jitsu.

Admittedly, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does not make a convincing spectator sport. The strategies at the highest levels rely on conservatism and patience, punctuated by periods of frantic, difficult to understand motion. Add in a set of Byzantine rules to the mix and we begin to see why Jiu Jitsu tends to play second fiddle to its brash, brawling cousin, MMA.


Eduardo Telles – Early Absolute action


Despite this there were many moments this weekend that had me cheering at my computer monitor. The early success of Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Rafael Lovato Jr. and Rodolfo Vieira in the Absolute division was something to behold. When Heavyweight favorite Vieira and Middleweight contender Claudio Calasans took the mat for what could have been an autonomous super-fight, we knew we were going to see fireworks. The match started close with Calasans taking an early lead, but the monster Vieira was too much for the ATOS standout, who was helped off the mat with a broken arm at the end of the match, unable to compete in his own weight class later that day.

Lovato Jr. set up a really nice x-guard sweep from the 1-legged x-guard – a transition I’ve been playing with a lot lately – against tough Aussie Mick Wilson to take his first absolute match. Meanwhile, perennial standouts like “Cyborg” Abreu and Braga Neto were put out early. In the end the Absolute went to Rodolfo, who beat Bernardo Faria 9-0 in a fairly repetitive match. The absence of Roger Gracie was felt here, as many wondered how 2011’s standout Vieira would have faired against the dominant champion.


Rodolfo Vieira


In the lighter weights, ATOS was the clear team to beat. Three golds in a row went to Guilherme Mendes, Rafael Mendes and Gilburt Burns. Galo went to Bruno Malfacine against rival Caio Terra, a match Malfacine was no doubt fired up for after Terra’s controversial comments following his win over Malfacine at the 2011 Pan Jiu Jisu Championships.

Pluma saw a rematch between Guilherme Mendes and Gracie Barra’s Samuel Braga. Their last match also ended in controversy as Braga shoved Mendes after his excessive celebration following a close match, which had an embarrassed Braga having to do up his pants several times. This match was  marred slightly by the inconsistent point scoring when Braga rolled out of bounds to avoid a footlock. The GB fighter thought he should have been awarded points for a back take that occurred off of the mats, while it was Mendes who received two points since Braga fled a submission. Mendes went on to close out the division with ATOS up-and-comer Ary Farias.

Because of his recent win over Guilherme and Rafael Mendes in the 2011 Abu Dhabi Pro, Soul Fighters standout Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes was expected to do well, if not win the stacked Pena division. In the end he couldn’t deny Rafael his second consecutive World Championship, although he did beat the legendary Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles on his campaign to the finals. The American Jiu Jitsu elite couldn’t break into the medals at Pena this year, as Ryan Hall and Justin Rader were put out by Tanquinho and Mendes, respectively.


Rafael Mendes chokes Mario Reis


Rafael Mendes footlocks Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes


Lightweight saw a game Kron Gracie choking everyone on his path to the finals. Alas, the feel-good ending was not to be as another gold went to the ATOS camp, in the form of Gilburt “Durinho” Burns. Kron performed well at Leve, and it’s clear that there is a world championship in his future.

Medio was taken quietly by Marcelo Garica, who played a conservative game on the way to the finals against CheckMat’s half-guard master Lucas Leite. Garcia was able to achieve an early 1-leg x-guard sweep and prevented Leite from establishing his guard to hold on for the win. The victory marks five World Championships for the Alliance veteran. In a hilarious post-fight interview, Marcelo credited his winning technique to the teaching of Steven Segal, mirroring the recent appearance of Segal in the MMA world.


Marcelo Garcia vs. Lucas Leite

Yay! Marcelo!

I usually start zoning out after the lighter guys, since big guys just play a different kind of game than I’m used to. However, this year saw some exciting upsets, with Alliance’s former-middleweight Sergio Moraes beating GB’s spider-guard monster, Romulo Barral. This defeat marked GB’s collapse at the tournament, as the legendary team did not take a single Mens black-belt gold medal. In Pesado and above, the results were as expected with Rodolfo Vieira, Leonardo Nogueira and Braga Neto securing their championships. The Pesado finals was a repeat of the Absolute, with Vieira dominating a game Bernardo Faria for the victory.


Rodolfo Vieira’s Absolute Victory


On the women’s side, American fan favorite and last year’s World Champion Hillary Williams did not do as well as hoped, partly due to the weight of a burgeoning medical career. We wish Williams the best as she continues to serve as an inspiration in her passion for Jiu Jitsu and her education. The rest of the women’s division was fairly exciting as usual, with less conservatism than is usually seen in the men’s divisions. The pinnacle of this approach was demonstrated by middleweight Hanette Staack, who nailed an early flying armbar on Ida Josefin. Gabrielle Garcia won her weight and the Abolute again, and gave a passionate post-match defense against the recent accusations that she has been using performance enhancing drugs. It’s unfortunate that PED use has been such a major concern with Jiu Jitsu lately, since it’s still a young amateur sport, and because their use goes against the philosophies of Jiu Jitsu so markedly.


Gabi Garcia vs. lunch


It was an exciting tournament, more-so than last year – with a balance of upsets, blow-outs and razor-close matches (and only one close-out in Pluma). Budovideos did a great job with the feed, dispute it cutting out a few times during important matches.


Full Results – 2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championships –


2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championships  – Videos

Rafael Mendes vs. Mario Reis – 2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championships 

Augusto Mendes vs. Ryan Hall – 2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championship 

Kron Gracie vs. Rafael Barbosa –  2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championship

Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles vs. unknown  –  2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championship

New: Augusto Mendes vs. Bruno Frazzato –  2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championship

New: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Matt Jubera – 2011 World Championships

New: Marcelo Garcia vs Rylan Lizares – 2011 World Championships  Removed.

New: Marcelo Garcia vs. Victor Estima – 2011 World Championships

New: Claudio Calasans vs. Unknown – 2011 World Championships

New: Rodolfo Vieira and Bernardo Faria – Absolute Final – 2011 World Championships  Removed.

New: Rodolfo Vieira vs Rafael Lovato Jr – 2011 World Championships 

New: Tanquinho vs Cobrinha – 2011 World Championships Removed.

Just Added: Marcelo Garcia vs. Lucas Leite – 2011 World Championships

Just Added: Rafael Mendes vs Agusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes – 2011 World Championships

Just Added: Marcelo Garcia vs. Gutos Campos – 2011 World Championships 

Just Added: Kron Gracie vs. Leandro Lo – 2011 World Championships

Just Added: Kron Gracie vs. Michael Langhi –  2011 World Championships 

Just Added: JT Torres vs. Vinicius Celso – 2011 World Championships 

Note: You should probably watch these as soon as possible since most will be taken down quickly.

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