The 2020 edition of the IBJJF Pan-Ams was finally given a new date less than a week ago and numerous Brazilian athletes voiced their displeasure at their potential inability to attend due to international travel restrictions. Regardless, it seems like most of the rest of the world was more than happy to jump at the first chance for elite IBJJF competition since the pandemic began. With well over 100 black belt adult competitors already signed up and over a month to go before registration ends, it looks like this year will be just as action-packed as any other.
The Lightest Divisions
The lightest division already has ATOS product Lucas Pinheiro and last year’s Pan-Ams silver medalist Hiago Gama signed up, along with two of the top ten athletes at Roosterweight, Carlos Oliveira and Jonas Andrade. Like Roosterweight, Light-Featherweight is traditionally dominated by Cicero Costha athletes but none are present so far. Instead, the current favorite looks to be Gabriel Sousa who’s actually dropped down from Featherweight, where he’s competed and performed well for the last year.
Featherweight and Lightweight are actually the busiest divisions so far this year with 21 and 20 registered competitors so far. Featherweight does have a clear favorite already in the form of Matheus Gabriel, the 2019 Pan-Ams and World Champion, but anything can happen in such a big bracket. At Lightweight we will get to see Marcio Andre moving up in weight after his victory over Ronaldo Junior at Fight 2 Win 150. He’s not the only big name signed up so far as both Edwin Najmi and Lucas Valente will be present along with Mendes Brothers’ exciting new black belt, Johnatha Alves.
Middleweight and Beyond
The aforementioned Ronaldo Junior seems the most likely to win at Middleweight so far, although the 2019 brown belt Pan-Ams champion, Guthierry Barbosa, might be able to make the jump in competition. Meanwhile, Medium-Heavyweight is absolutely packed with talent already as Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa will be competing shortly after his attempt to win Third Coast Grappling Kumite 6, along with Murilo Santana and Nisar Loynab. There’s also the potential for a rematch of the Fight 2 Win 149 main event as both Manuel Ribamar and Gabriel Almeida are also signed up.
At Heavyweight, Vinicius “Trator” Ferreira looks to have a clear path to take home the gold medal to match his IBJJF no gi Pan-Ams title from 2019. Then Super-Heavyweight sees Devhonte Johnson move up in weight to enter the same bracket as his ex-teammate, Aaron “Tex” Johnson. The real favorite at the moment though is Fellipe Andrew as he’s had a phenomenal last year or two that includes becoming only the second man to submit Keenan Cornelius. The heaviest division is the most noticeably empty so far with only two competitors in Ultra-Heavyweight.
The Women’s Divisions
Most of the women’s divisions only have a handful of competitors signed up so far, although Nathalie Ribeiro is registered in the busiest division at Lightweight. Alongside her is Jessica Swanson and ATOS product Nicole Sullivan in a 7-woman division. Medium-Heavyweight has Gracie Barra’s Andressa Cintra, while Heavyweight’s only entrants so far are Nathiely De Jesus and Talita Noguiera. The final women’s division with no weight-limit is a little busier with both Jessica Flowers and Kendall Reusing competing already.
There’s still plenty of time for registration and dozens of high-profile competitors not yet signed up so the brackets will undergo some huge changes in the next month. Regardless of whether certain athletes are unable to compete due to travel restrictions, the 2020 IBJJF Pan-Ams looks set to be just as exciting as any other year
For the full and up-to-date 2020 IBJJF Pan-Ams competitor list, click here.