Jiu Jitsu Laboratory Awards 2011


Jiu Jitsu Laboratory Awards 2011

Competitor of the Year (gi): Rodolfo Vieira


2011 was unquestionably Rodolfo’s year. Rising to prominence in 2009, big things were expected of the young GF Team standout. This year Rodolfo lived up to all expectations taking the Pan-Ams, World-Pro and Worlds at both weight and absolute. Opponent’s like Bernardo Faria,Rafael Lovato Jr., Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and Antonio Brago Neto  just couldn’t keep up with Rodolfo’s guard passing and athleticism, making it clear that he will be a force in the gi for many years to come.

Runners-Up: Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Rafael Mendes


Competitor of the Year (no-gi): André Galvão


André Galvão’s path to the very pinnacle of Jiu Jitsu was a roundabout one. Winning every tournament in existence on his way through the belt ranks André appeared unstoppable – until he ran into the immovable object that is Marcelo Garcia. Then, after a series of disappointments including a rough start to his MMA career and being on the receiving end of 2009’s submission of the year at the hands of Braulio Estima, Galvão came into 2011 re-energized and re-focused, winning the Pan ams and giving a near-flawless performance at ADCC 2011. His weight and absolute victories at ADCC over the likes of Pablo Popovitch, Gunnar Nelson and Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares make Galvão the standout without a gi in 2011.

Runners-Up: Rafael Mendes, Rafael Lovato Jr.


Female Competitor of the Year: Gabrielle Garcia


Leading up to these awards I asked the knowledgeable folks at one of the major grappling forums who they thought should win the major categories. I agreed with almost all of the feedback with one exception. It seems that almost no one wants to give Gabrielle Garcia her due. Many feel that due to her size and strength Gabi has an unfair advantage. But Gabby didn’t make the weight classes, and it’s impossible to argue with her results: ADCC champion, World champion, Pan Champion. 2011 was the year of Gabi in the female division.

Runners-Up: Luanna Alzuguir, Michelle Nicolini


Lifetime Achievement Award: Marcelo Garcia


What do you do when the best keeps getting better? Marcelo Garcia is still young (depressingly, he’s the same age as I am), but his career accomplishments seem to belong to a much older competitor. Garcia would have already been a Jiu Jitsu hall-of-fame member many times over even if he sat out the 2011 competition season. But thankfully for fans of Jiu Jitsu he did not. Taking the Worlds middleweight and ADCC lightweight divisions, Marcelo displayed a rare dominance over opponents such as Leo Vieira, Kron Gracie, Victor Estima and Lucas Leite. This performance makes Marcelinho the only four-time ADCC champion and a five-time World champion.


Rookie of the Year: Leandro Lo


Rookie of the Year is awarded to a recently-awarded black belt that shows potential to be one of the best in their divisions. One of the most exciting prospects at lightweight, Leandro Lo had some major victories in 2011 that put him on the short-list of potential future champions. Most recently Lo won the Copa Podio Lightweight Grand Prix in December 2011, with victories over Denilson Pimento, Ed Ramos, and Cláudio Caloquinha. Beating world champion Michael Langhi in April of 2011 put Lo on the map. His exciting style and frequent tournament victories are expected to keep him there.

Runners-Up: Davi Ramos, Zak Mawell


Additional awards include: 


Competition of the Year: ADCC 2011; Runner-Up: Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup 2011

Academy of the Year: Atos Jiu Jitsu; Runner-Up: Alliance/Marcelo Garcia NYC

Instructor of the Year: Fabio Gurgel; Runner-Up: Lloyd Irvin

Guard of the Year: Rafael Mendes

Guard Passing of the Year: Rodolfo Vieira

Never in a Boring Match Award: Claudio Calasans

Adamantium Legs Award: Robson Moura

Maybe Next Year Award: Romulo Barral

Impossible to Dislike Award: Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu

Biggest Team Jump: Ryan Hall to Alliance; Runner-Up: Durinho Burns to Team Vitor Belfort

Invisible Man Award: Roger Gracie

Most Obnoxious Jiu Jitsu Trend: Pre-order gi’s; Runners-Up: Double guard pulls, leg-reap DQs

New Academy We’re Most Excited About: Xande Ribeiro LA

Team to Watch Out For: Cicero Costha

Comeback of the Year: Dean Lister; Runner-Up: Lucio “Lagarto” Rodriguez

Most Improved Player Award: Jeff Glover

Most Annoying Technique Name: Berimbolo; Runner-Up: “Kiss of the Dragon”

Biggest “Fuck-Yeah” Moment: Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes defeating the Atos team at Abu Dhabi Pro 2011

Match of the Year: Rodolfo vs. Calasans – Worlds 2011; Runner Up: Rafael vs. Guilherme Mendes Abu Dhabi Pro No-Gi 2011

Submission of the Year: Rafael Mendes – inverted omoplata to armbar to back, RNC on Justin Rader ADCC 2011

Submission-Escape of the Year: Vinny Mag escaping Werdum’s armbar ADCC 2011; Runner-Up: Marcelo Garcia escaping Kron’s guillotine ADCC 2011

Sweep of the Year: Ary Farias – inverted de la Riva reverse X guard sweep on Fernando Cosendey – 2011 World Pro


Media/Online Awards

Magazine of the Year:  Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Runner-Up: GracieMag

Website of the Year: MG in Action; Runners-Up: Budovidoes, BJJ Heroes

Blog of the Year: BJJ Globetrotter; Runner-Up: Aesopian

Podcast of the Year: Fightworks Podcast; Runner-Up: Flow Podcast

Video of the Year: Stuart Cooper -ADCC 2011; Runner-Up: Mendes Brothers Highlight

Fightwear/Apparel of the Year: Scramble

Instructional of the Year:  “111 Half Guard Techniques” – Caio Terra; Runners-Up: “How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent” – Emily Kwok and Stephan Kesting

Most Awesome Jiu Jitsu Fans Award: Tie: Readers of The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory, Fans at ADCC 2011, Nottingham


Note: As 2011 winds down I want to thank everyone who has read, shared and commented on The Jiu Jitsu Lab. You guys and gals are what makes this whole thing fun. On a personal note I would like to thank my coaches and teammates at Dynamic for another great year of training. – David

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11 responses to “Jiu Jitsu Laboratory Awards 2011

  1. Awesome list! I particularly like the “Most Obnoxious Jiu-Jitsu Trend” category. Looking forward to a 2012 of reading Jiu-Jitsu Lab and experiencing the developments first hand.

  2. Telling you that I’ll be running this in my Matwork! column again.

    Also, throw of the year probably belongs to Leo Vieira for that first round seo nagi he had in ADCC.

  3. Rickster

    I agree with almost all of the list except Blog of the Year runner up Aesopian didn’t update their website very much at all in 2011. Although the Gi review was great and somewhat informative I feel that there were many more worthy candidates for that award. Otherwise great list!

    • Thanks for the input. For me, the most influential blogging story of 2011 was the gi survey. The results just came out at the end of the year, but Matt has been working on this thing for several months now and has put out very nice useful of consumer preferences and trends in Jiu Jitsu.

  4. I used to read about 4-5 BJJ blogs every day but recently had to pair things down due to time constraints. I still always check yours because I feel like you’ve really held to your original goal of analyzing techniques.

    These awards are awesome and very comprehensive. You’ve set the bar pretty high and I hope to at least come close when I release my ‘Best-Of’ here in a few days. Thankfully, my categories are very different from your own ^_^

  5. Would like to see bjjfights.com in there

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