Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira was one of many elite competitors who stepped on to the mats at the IBJJF Dallas International Open on the weekend of March 4th and 5th, 2023. When all was said and done, he was the one who walked away with the most medals in black belt competition and stood out as the biggest winner of the weekend. Oliveira took home a pair of gold medals in both gi and no gi at his own weight, along with two bronze medals in the absolute division of both rulesets while displaying some of the technical wizardry that led to him winning ‘Submission of the Year’ in 2022.
Reaching the podium of the absolute division would be impressive for anyone, but even more so when considering that Oliveira actually competes in the featherweight division. He managed to beat fellow top competitor Thiago Macedo in the final of his weightclass in the gi, and Jesse Sosa in the no gi final. He gave a fantastic account of himself in both absolute divisions too, but couldn’t make it into the final of either one. In the end it was Yan Paiva who won the gi absolute division, although he lost out on a gold medal at his own weight as the legendary Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias won gold at ultra-heavy despite competing at adult.
Emily Fernandez also put in a great performance in the gi by winning the absolute division, although she was stopped in the final of the lightweight division by Suellen Souza and had to settle for silver there. Other notable names competing in no gi at the IBJJF Dallas International Open 2023 included Edwin ‘Junny’ Ocasio and Hunter Colvin, although both of them lost the only match of their weightclass. There was a surprising amount of top athletes competing at a pretty minor IBJJF event and while most of them put in impressive performances, some were upset by the local talent.