The IBJJF European Championship 2024 will take place from January 20th to 29th, 2024 and we’ve put together a full preview of all of the adult black belt divisions at the event. There are a number of returning champions from last year who will be attempting to defend their titles, along with some fresh black belts looking to start their campaign at the highest level with a bang. There will be plenty of exciting matches even in the opening rounds and as the brackets progress, some of the best IBJJF competitors on the planet will be meeting on the mats.
IBJJF European Championship 2024 Full Preview
Favorites – Thalison Soares is the reigning champion at roosterweight and Tadiyah Danforth is the only other man from last year’s podium who has entered the division this year. Although these two are the top contenders, Zayed Alkatheeri is also in with a great chance of winning gold here too. These three men should really be standing on the podium together considering there’s just 10 men in the division, but Soares is the safest bet to take first place.
Dark Horse – Shay Montague actually won the IBJJF No Gi European Championship last year and he’s one of the top prospects to come out of the UK in recent years. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him occupying one of the spots on the podium and if he is in good form then he might even leave undefeated.
Favorites – Malachi Edmond might have won gold at light-featherweight last year, but it’s going to be difficult for him to defend that title. He actually faced his biggest opposition in the final last time around, as he beat Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira on points to take gold. The pair are now 1-1 against one another, but Oliveira has been in fantastic form since their last match and should be able to get revenge and leave with the light-featherweight title.
Dark Horse – Zach Kaina is actually Oliveira’s teammate at Art of Jiu-Jitsu and it’s unlikely that he’d manage to get the win against his training partner, if they even had a match instead of simply closing out the division. If Oliveira loses before they meet, that might give Kaina the opportunity to shine here.
Favorites – There’s no returning featherweight champion to consider in this preview of the IBJJF European Championship 2024, but silver medalist Alex Sodre is coming back for another shot. Alliance Jiu-Jitsu are sending the two biggest threats to him improving on last year, particularly Isaac Doederlein who already holds an impressive 6-2 record over Sodre. Kennedy Maciel is the other major contender, and he’s always a top contender in any division.
Dark Horse – Sebastian Serpa had a rocky start to his black belt career at first but he really started to come into his own in 2023 and it’ll be interesting to see how he starts his campaign this year. If he’s continued making improvements since then, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him standing somewhere on the podium.
Favorites – Lightweight is another division without the reigning champion present, and that means that last year’s silver medalist Natan Chueng will take his place as the top contender. Elijah Dorsey is always difficult to beat and he’s had a great run of performances lately that includes a narrow loss to Chueng that he’ll be eager to avenge. Espen Mathiesen is also competing at lightweight and as he was the champion back in 2022, he also has a great chance of winning gold here.
Dark Horse – Pablo Lavaselli has been competing at black belt for over four years now and has only ever won one IBJJF major, but this might be his year. He showed huge improvement by reaching the final of the IBJJF Pan Championship last year and if he can build off that momentum, he might earn another medal here.
Favorites – Although the middleweight champion isn’t returning this year, Andy Murasaki is the reigning lightweight champion and he’s moved up in weight for 2024. The other big favorite to take home the title here is another competitor stepping up in weight, as Mica Galvao will be making his return to major IBJJF competition. It’s difficult to pick anyone else as a potential winner when both Galvao and Murasaki will be working their way through the bracket.
Dark Horse – Tarik Hopstock has won the IBJJF European Championship at every single colored belt level but he hasn’t been able to reach the top of the podium at black belt yet. With a vicious straight ankle-lock and his patented Tarikoplata, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him achieve his goal this year.
Favorites – With neither the gold or silver medalist from last year returning, the medium-heavyweight division is wide open. Uanderson Ferreira is one of the top contenders, but he’ll have some very stiff opposition from a number of other talented grapplers. Horlando Monteiro returned to competition last year and has been doing very well, while Jhonathan Pessanha is always a difficult matchup.
Dark Horse – Shane Fishman is a very underrated grappler and without any clear favorite in this preview of the medium-heavyweight division of the IBJJF European Championship 2024, it could be just the right time for him to take home gold.
Favorites – The reigning heavyweight champion is Fellipe Andrew, and he’s coming back this year to defend his title. Adam Wardzinski was the man he beat in the final and the pair met several times last year, with Andrew going 3-1 in their series in 2023. Wardzinski has proven that he can beat Andrew though, so he remains the biggest threat to his crown.
Dark Horse – Marcos Carrozzino has been on the verge of greatness in his last few competition appearances and he’s still a young competitor, so he’ll still be developing at a rapid pace. If he’s been able to put the last few things he needs into practice then he might be able to cause an upset here.
Favorites – Although there’s no returning champion at super-heavyweight, there’s still a pretty significant favorite in the division. Erich Munis is an incredible competitor who almost enjoyed a flawless year in 2023, and he should be able to take home the super-heavyweight title. Felipe Figueiredo probably has the best chance of stopping Munis, but even then he does have an uphill battle ahead of him.
Dark Horse – Rayron Gracie made waves with some fantastic performances as a brown belt and he looks poised to carry on the family legacy now that he’s been promoted to black belt. It’s going to be tough to adjust to the highest level of competition, but he should be able to make that leap and might leave with a medal here.
Favorites – The ultra-heavyweight division might not have a reigning champion in it, but it does have the silver medalist Kjetil Lydvo returning again. It won’t be easy for him with both Gutemberg Pereira and Yatan Bueno entering the bracket though and even though there’s just 10 men in this division, there will be some really tough matches between these three men.
Dark Horse – Freddie Vosgrone is not really known as a gi competitor but he’s one of the top grapplers based in the UK and he’s always a tough match for anyone at the international level. With ultra-heavyweight being so small, he only needs one upset against one of the top contenders and it might see him through to the final at least.
Favorite – There are just 3 women competing at roosterweight at the IBJJF European Championship 2024 and no returning medalists from last year, so we’re only picking a single favorite in this preview. That woman is top prospect Shelby Murphey, who has been on the radar for a few years now as one of the best young Art of Jiu-Jitsu competitors on the rise. She won the IBJJF World Championship at brown belt last year to get promoted on the podium, and she should be able to win her first major title at this level now.
Dark Horse – Amber Rymarz-Freitas did well in no gi competition last year so it’ll be interesting to see how she performs in this competition. It’s going to be tough for her to beat Murphey but she should be able to come away with a silver medal at least.
Favorites – Mayssa Bastos is the reigning champion at light-featherweight and she was on fire all throughout 2023, so she should be able to defend her title by continuing that form. The most likely challenge to her repeating that win will be Jessica Dantas, last year’s roosterweight champion who is moving up in weight. Bastos has actually beaten Dantas before, but this was back in 2021 and a lot has changed since then, so this match isn’t quite as predictable as it might seem.
Dark Horse – Rose El Sharouni is the returning bronze medalist in this division but she really gave Bastos one of her toughest tests of the year at the IBJJF Pan Championship last year. If she can channel that same energy again then she might be able to take home the title here.
Favorites – There’s no returning champion at featherweight this year and with 11 competitors in the division, it really is wide open. Zofia Szawernowska actually won the bronze medal in 2023 and she’s expected to reach the podium again, but a gold medal will be a big challenge. She has Margot Ciccarelli and Vitoria Assis to contend with, both of whom are also top contenders to take home the title.
Dark Horse – Astrid Scholin is a talented grappler and with a division as unpredictable as this, she might be able to make a big impact if she can perform to the best of her abilities on the day. She’ll have to beat some elite grapplers to take home the title, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see her on the podium at least.
Favorites – There’s no returning champion at lightweight, and that makes this another unpredictable division. Julia Alves stands out as the most likely winner really, but she’s still going to have to make it through a tough bracket of 10 other women. Vitoria Vieira also has a good chance of winning the lightweight title and it would be a huge upset to see one of these two women missing from the podium.
Dark Horse – Sabrina Gondim has been making waves recently with some impressive performances on the mats and although there are far more established competitors in the lightweight division, she is going to be a tough opponent for all of them. She could make it on to the podium and if she’s able to beat one of the two favorites, a gold medal might be within reach.
Favorites – Thalyta Silva won the middleweight division last year and she is the favorite to do so again this year. She matches up well against pretty much everyone else in the division, except for maybe Ingridd Alves. The two have met before and Alves won that match last year, but that was by disqualification. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in a full match between these two, and this is likely going to be the match that decides the middleweight champion.
Dark Horse – Gabi Schuck is a fantastic young competitor who could go far in the years to come, but it might be a little too early for her to beat top contenders like Alves and Silva. She should be able to cause some upsets elsewhere in the bracket so if she can avoid facing either of them early on, she might make it onto the podium.
Favorites – Maria Malyjasiak is the reigning champion at medium-heavyweight but the division is twice the size it was when she won it last year, making it much more difficult. Leticia Cardozo is moving down in weight after winning bronze at heavyweight and she could very easily come away with the title here, while middleweight silver medalist Vannessa Griffin is another top contender here after moving up in weight.
Dark Horse – Aurelie Le Vern hasn’t been competing at black belt for very long and is already 32, but she made a great impression throughout 2023. Her opponents will likely be younger or have more competitive experience but she’s already beaten several elite competitors at separate events and could easily put it all together for a gold medal here.
Favorites – Amanda Magda is the reigning heavyweight champion and she’s the only woman from last year’s podium returning. She still has some great matches ahead of her though, particularly with Melissa Stricker entering the division. With Izadora Silva also entering this year, heavyweight is actually pretty tough to predict after the semi-finals. All three of these women will likely be on the podium somewhere, but Stricker is probably going to be the one standing in first place.
Dark Horse – Salla Simola has burst onto the scene as one of the top female European prospects last year and she’s already proven that she can reach the podium in major events. She’ll have to beat some of the best heavyweight competitors around in order to do that here, but she might just be able to.
Favorite – Super-heavyweight is another small division with just 4 women competing at the IBJJF European Championship 2024, so we’re only picking a single favorite. This one really is a simple decision, as Gabrieli Pessanha has been absolutely unstoppable and has been on an incredible unbeaten streak that’s lasted more than two years now.
Dark Horse – Yara Soares is the only woman to ever beat Pessanha more than once and although she’s lost far more matches against her than she’s won, that’s still an impressive feat. The series between the two women currently stands at 15-4 in Pessanha’s favor but a lot of those have been close wins on points so Soares might be able to get one back in the win column at this event.
The full IBJJF European Championship 2024 live event, including every division in the above preview, will be available to watch from January 20th to 29th, 2024 on FloGrappling.