The IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023 is scheduled to take place from April 29th to May 7th, 2023 and as we’ll discuss in this preview, it’s stacked with top talent in every single division. This should come as no surprise really, as it’s one of the biggest IBJJF events of the calendar year and it forms part of the coveted grand slam that only a handful of grapplers have ever managed to achieve. Not only is it the biggest tournament to take place in the homeland of BJJ but it also has a certain allure to competitors outside the country, as winning a major title in Brazil is an incredibly rare achievement for them. In fact, only 7 non-Brazilians have ever won a gold medal in the adult black belt divisions of the tournament in it’s 27-year history.
The full competitor list for the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023, including every division listed in this preview, can be found here.
IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023 Full Preview
Here we’ll take a look at the returning champions in each division of the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023, and examine who among their field of opposition stands the best chance of dethroning them this year.
The returning champion here is Rodrigo Otavio and the man who shared the final with him in 2022, Welerson Goncalves, is among his strongest opposition. Although these men may very well stand opposite each other at the end of the tournament again, Lucas Pinheiro represents the best chance to see a different final this year.
Much like the lightest division, the most likely outcome at light-featherweight is actually a repeat of 2022. Last year, Diogo Reis defeated Cleber Sousa in the final of this division. Reis dominated that match to win 8-0 back then and he’s only gotten better, so he’s the most likely champion from the division.
Fabricio Andrey is actually the only man in this IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023 preview to have won the tournament for two consecutive years. Isaac Doederlein was the last man to win gold at featherweight before him, and he stands the best chance of stopping him from making it three in a row.
The lightweight division is the biggest of the tournament and the reigning champion is absent so it’s wide open. Natan Chueng and Lucas Maquine have both been in great form recently but really any of the 17 men competing here could feasibly reach the top of the podium.
The reigning champion Mica Galvao is serving a one-year suspension from IBJJF competition, and Tainan Dalpra has entered to attempt a grand slam this year. As a result, Dalpra is the easy choice for gold medallist in this division.
Matheus Spirandeli earned his title at medium-heavyweight with a clean-sweep of submission wins last year, but he may find it tough to repeat that feat in 2023. Alex Munis is coming into the tournament in good form and Rafael Paganini will likely be determined to even the score against Spirandeli, so either man might provide an upset.
The returning champion at heavyweight is Rider Zuchi, and he’s also a firm favourite to retain his title. Zuchi’s only losses since his last win at the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) are to Kaynan Duarte and Adam Wardzinski, neither of whom are competing here in 2023.
None of the men who stood on the podium of the super-heavyweight division last year are returning in 2023, so on it’s tough to predict the gold medallist here. Erich Munis and Devhonte Johnson stand out as the most likely winners, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see someone else at the top of the podium either.
Mason Fowler isn’t returning to defend his title but picking the podium placements are surprisingly easy. Victor Hugo and Victor Honorio both stand a great chance of winning the division and are the most likely finalists, but Antonio Braga Neto presents an interesting unknown quantity as a veteran returning after some time away.
The women’s divisions at the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) 2023 are just as stacked as the men’s, and here is the full preview of each of them:
Thais Felipe is the only medallist returning from the roosterweight division in 2022, but she won bronze back then and two women in particular might manage to stop her from doing any better. Brenda Larissa and Jessica Dantas are gold and silver medallists respectively from last year who’ve moved down in weight for 2023.
Adele Fornarino is an ADCC veteran who would likely be the favourite in any other tournament, but last year’s Roosterweight champion Mayssa Bastos has moved up in weight and will likely win another gold here unless Fornarino can stop her.
This is the biggest women’s division in this IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro) preview for 2023 and although Bianca Basilio is the returning champion, she has a close rivalry with Anna Rodrigues and either woman could win gold here.
There’s no returning champion in another big division at lightweight so there’s quite a few women who could emerge victorious. With Brianna Ste-Marie competing it seems likely that we might see the first ever Canadian champion of this prestigious tournament.
Andressa Cintra is the gold medallist from last year and she does seem like the most likely winner but if anyone can stop her, it’s Elisabeth Clay. Clay is riding a huge wave after winning the Polaris 23 women’s grand prix and the IBJJF Pan Championship, and she already owns a submission win over Cintra so it’s not hard to see her storming to victory here.
Sabatha Lais won this division last year and beat Elisabeth Clay by the thinnest of margins in the final to do so. Although Maria Malyjasiak might present a challenge, it’s tough to imagine anyone but Lais standing on top of the podium at medium-heavyweight.
Fernanda Mazzelli has been taking home gold medals from this tournament for well over a decade, and she has a great chance of extending her collection. She has plenty of tough opposition in a surprising big division, but if anyone else wants to win it they will have to stop Mazzelli first.
If you learn anything from the last two years, it should be that you never bet against Gabrieli Pessanha. She won ‘Female Grappler of the Year (Gi)’ at the JitsMagazine BJJ Awards last year and she hasn’t lost a match since 2021, so it’s unlikely that she starts now.
Although it has historically been difficult to watch the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship (Brasileiro), 2023 marks the first year that the tournament will be available to watch live on FloGrappling and that includes all of the divisions listed in this preview.
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