The hugely popular AJP tour GrandSlam series finishes up in London, while it is only the 5th year of the competition, it has quickly become one of the biggest competitions in Europe. Some of the best BJJ athletes from around the globe travel to take part, especially with generous cash prizes offered at both Brown and Black belt level. With such huge event taking place in europe, here is our preview to wet your appetite for the world class BJJ taking place at the London Copper Box Arena in Olympic Park.
The Brown Belts
Some of the best brown belts from around the world are flying in to battle on the AJP mats. Here are a select few to watch out for.
The u77kg Brown belt division is a shark tank of talent, heading up the Group is Atos JJ's Andy Murasaki who recently took gold at the IBJJF European Champioships. Since being promoted to brown belt the Atos athlete has been on a tear winning the Grandslam in Rio De Janeiro, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi along with Silvers at Moscow and Los Angeles. He also took silver at the IBJJF World NoGi Championships, losing to Progress JJ athlete Ellis Younger who is also entered at the London Grandslam. Ellis would lose to Andy by points at the Euros but he himself has been winning Golds across Europe on the IBJJF Open scene. Another two athletes to watch for are Gabriel Costa of Guigo who took silver at the European Open along with being a IBJJF Brazilian National champion at Purple belt and Checkmats Lucas Protasio who took the 2019 world championship lightweight gold medal. An absolute shark tank of a division !
The u85kg division is wide open with athletes such as Reda Hamzaoui, a European medalist and Abu Dhabi Grandslam champion being one of the favourites along with Shane Fishman a medalist at the Pan Ams at purple belt and European NoGi Champion at brown belt. Look out for the ZR Team duo of Taylor 'Birdman' Pearman and Janis Riekstins who recently closed out the IBJJF London Winter Open. Taylor is also a World NoGi Champion at purple belt and recently took Bronze at the IBJJF Europeans in the Adult middle brown belt division. While Janis recently took silver at the IBJJF World NoGi Championships.
The standout brown belt has to be Erich Munis, competing in the u94kg division. After completing the double Grandslam at purple belt taking double Gold at all 4 Major IBJJF events along with the UAEJJF World Pro title. The wins have continued at brown belt for Erich who has taken Gold at the Tokyo, Rio De Janeiro, Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi Grandslams. He would also become the first brown belt to win a Copa Podio Grandprix, taking 1st spot at the Heavyweight GrandPrix. He would continue his winning ways taking Double Gold at this years IBJJF European Open. It is hard to see past Erich at u94, but Germanys Eric Bergmann a European silver and bronze medalist will provide a challenge.