Will Leandro’s competition return result in Gold?
Leandro Lo was last seen on the IBJJF mats at the world championships as he injured his shoulder in the finals of the Super heavyweight division against Mahamed Aly. This resulted in one of the most inspirational moments in IBJJF Worlds history with Buchecha conceding the Absolute gold medal to his good friend Leandro Lo. Since then Leandro has concentrated on his rehab and recently made a return to competition where he competed in a super fight against Nicholas Meregali, losing a close match. Not the return he would have wanted but word is Leandro is motivated as ever, and is ready to defend his Pan crown against one of the toughest line ups at the Pan Ams this year, a division which includes athletes such as Kaynan Duarte, Adam Wardzinski and Patrick Gaudio. If Leandro is going to retain his crown, he’s going to have to battle through some of the top up and comers in the heavyweight division.
Can Ffion Davies continue her recent hot streak?
Kingz Kimonos Athlete Ffion Davies is one of the most in form athletes in the world right now. After winning the World Championships in 2018 as a brown belt, she would take gold at her first major competition, the IBJJF World NoGi championships. Her first IBJJF major in the Gi would result in another gold medal, becoming the European champion. Continuing that form, Ffion would win a couple of superfights on promotions such as Grapplefest and Polaris where she easily dispatched multiple time World champion Gezary Matuda to become the Women’s u55kg Champion! In the Gi she recently defeated 2018 UAEJJF World Pro Champion Bianca Basilio, expect Ffion to be one of the favourites in her division.
Is a Rookie black belt going to make an immediate impact and even win gold?
There are multiple Rookie black belts who have already made a splash on the black belt scene, including the aforementioned Ffion Davies of ECJJA, who will be looking to add another title to her already impressive resume. Another impressive athlete is Mayssa Bastos of GF Team, who is making her Pan Ams debut at black belt in a 2-athlete division! In the men’s divisions there are multiple Rookie black belts to keep your eyes on, at featherweight, 2018 brown belt champion Kennedy Maciel looks to carry on the legacy of his father and start adding black belt titles to his list of accomplishments. Unity Jiu Jitsu has two impressive athletes making their Pans black belt debut, lightweight Levi Jones-Leary will be looking to add to his Black belt collection, after taking Gold at the IBJJF European championships, beating top level competition such as Gianni Grippo and in the final defeating arguably the greatest lightweight of all time in Lucas Lepri in an extraordinary performance. While at medium heavyweight Devhonte Johnson looks to add to his World NoGi bronze medal, Devhonte won the world championships at brown belt in 2018 at Super-heavyweight, he would then move down to heavyweight for the world No-Gi, and now he moves down again to medium heavyweight, a weight class he last competed at in 2016 at the worlds where he took silver at purple belt, Devhonte faces a massive task with ATOS black belts and current world champions Gustavo Batista and Lucas Hulk standing in his way. Finally, our last Rookie black belt in with a chance to take gold is ATOS phenom Kaynan Duarte, despite winning Gold at the IBJJF Europeans and World NoGi at heavyweight along with the UAEJJF London Grand Slam, he faces a tough prospect entering the extremely stacked heavyweight division, as a rookie he comes in with no fear, and upsets can happen.
The return of Gabi Garcia
This year sees the return of one of the most dominant Jiu Jitsu champions to ever grace the mats, Gabi Garcia. After a brief foray into MMA, Gabi returns, unexpectedly to this year’s IBJJF Pan American championships. With her experience and titles, despite her years away from pure Grappling she will most likely open up as favourite to win both her weight class and open weight. With the rise of new champions in the female divisions and new opponents Gabi’s return is as interesting as ever!
Who will be our adult black belt pan absolute champions?
The absolute divisions always contain exciting match ups, including the odd ‘giant killing’ as seen at Euros 2019 where Lucas Lepri managed to defeat two ultra-heavyweights along with heavyweight Kaynan Duarte. This year at Pans there are multiple World champions entered in both the Male and female divisions.
In the female absolute division, even with her time out, Gabi Garcia would be seen as the favourite with her multiple weight and absolute Pan Titles, one of her main competitors is Nathiely De Jesus, a medium heavyweight competitor who won her division and took silver in the absolute at the 2018 world championships, comes into this championship in good form after winning double gold at the Europeans earlier this year. Another regular on the absolute podiums is Atos JJ’s Luiza Monteiro, who recently got 2nd at the European Absolute division. Middleweight dominant champion Ana Vieira is also an outside shout for the absolute title, after placing third at the Worlds and winning her division. However, they will all most likely have to try and defeat Gabi Garcia if they make it to the finals!
The Male division seems more open with Marcus Buchecha not taking part. Multiple time Pan champion Leandro Lo will be looking to retain his Pan Ams absolute title. His main opponents include the ATOS crew of Lucas Hulk, Gustavo Batista and Kaynan Duarte, whoever enters the absolutes out of that group will provide a stern challenge for Lo, all being young athletes and Black belt major champions. Elsewhere current World Super Heavy champion Mahamed Aly might have something to say, he defeated Leandro Lo at the finals of the Worlds in 2018, albeit with Leandro suffering a freak injury to his shoulder. Another super heavyweight is Kingz athlete and Zenith BJJ representative Felipe Andrew, with his all action game and constant hunt for the submission he is an outsider for the absolute title. Finally, last year’s Pan Ams Absolute finalist Gutenberg Pereira will be looking to go one better and take the Gold medal this year.