The IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023 is scheduled for December 7th to 9th, 2023, and we’ve put together a full preview of each of the divisions at the event. This edition of one of the world’s biggest BJJ tournaments has shattered all expectations and more competitors have signed up for this than ever before. There are well over 200 elite grapplers competing in the adult black belt divisions across both the men’s and women’s weight classes, and there is sure to be plenty of incredible matches once the action starts. Between them there are multiple ADCC Trials winners, reigning IBJJF No Gi World Champions, and a lot of top prospects who might be ready to break through to the highest level.
IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023 Full Preview
Some divisions have returning champions from the 2022 edition of the IBJJF No Gi World Championship who will be looking to defend their crown, but they aren’t the only elite competitors stepping on the mats. Here is the full list of medalists from last year, and many of them are coming back again for another chance at glory.
Scandal rocked the men’s divisions at the IBJJF No Gi World Championship in 2022 as multiple champions failed drug tests and were handed three-year bans from the organization, so several divisions in this preview for 2023 do not have reigning champions competing. That just means that some weight classes are wide open for the newcomers to make a big impact.
Favorites – Osamah Almarwai is the reigning champion at Roosterweight and he has a good chance of repeating that victory this year. The winner from 2021 was Estevan Martinez and he only narrowly missed out on a place in the final last year, so he’s always one to watch at Roosterweight. He hasn’t had a great run this year so far, but it’s been a series of narrow losses in every match so a little bit luck could see him finish the year strong here.
Dark Horse – Shay Montague is still somehow being overlooked by many people despite making a huge impact at the highest levels of the sport since he was promoted to black belt just a few months ago. He’s actually already beaten a lot of his competition at Roosterweight in fact, as he’s been unstoppable on the IBJJF no gi circuit. He won the IBJJF Brazilian National Championship and the IBJJF European Championship earlier this year, so expect him to cause some huge upsets in this division.
Favorites – There’s no returning champion at Light-Featherweight but there’s still some likely winners regardless. Carlos ‘Bebeto’ Oliveira and Edwin ‘Junny’ Ocasio won a silver and bronze medal last year respectively and either one of them might be able to go that little bit further this year. It won’t be easy for them though, as they’ll have some tough opposition from Emilio Hernandez.
Dark Horse – Zach Kaina is definitely one to watch for the future and the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023 might be a little too early for him to reach the top of the mountain, but we’re picking him as the dark horse of this preview. He’s one of the top young prospects coming out of Art of Jiu-Jitsu and it’ll be interesting to see how far he goes this year.
Favorites – Gianni Grippo won his third title last year and he’s back to defend it, but 2021 champion Diego ‘Pato’ Oliveira already holds a win over him and might be able to do the same again here. There’s another former champion competing at Featherweight too, and Kennedy Maciel could also end up standing on top of the podium.
Dark Horse – Tom Halpin is one of the best competitors to ever come out of Ireland but he hasn’t been very active at this level recently. This could go either way for him, as he might come back with huge developments in his game and make it to the podium,or he might be a little rusty and get taken out early.
Favorites – There are so many potential winners in this division thanks to the fact that there are 21 grapplers competing and the champion is absent. Carlos Henrique might be able to do better than the silver medal he won last year, and Deandre Corbe will be looking to improve on his bronze medal. Josh Cisneros might be able to storm through the whole bracket though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on top of the podium instead.
Dark Horse – Max Hanson would be the favorite in many other brackets but the Lightweight division is so stacked that he’s just outside the top contenders. He’ll have to play the perfect game to beat each of the three favorites but if anyone in the division can do it, Hanson can.
Favorites – Middleweight is the biggest of any black belt division at the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023 and it seems almost impossible to predict a winner for this preview. Elijah Dorsey is coming off a fantastic performance at ADCC East Coast Trials but he isn’t the only Trials winner here. Oliver Taza alone would be enough of a handful for him, but the division also includes Tommy Langaker and former lightweight champion Johnny Tama.
Dark Horse – Kieran Kichuk is one of the best competitors to emerge from Canada in recent years and he’s already had some great matches with some of the favorites in this division. He’d have to put in an incredible performance to win the division, but he should be able to cause some upsets.
Favorites – Medium-Heavyweight is the first division where last year’s champion is currently serving a suspension, but silver medalist Sebastian Rodriguez is definitely one of the favorites. Jansen Gomes has had a fantastic start to the year though and he might just be able to add this title to his collection, while his Checkmat teammate Francisco Lo also has a good chance of winning.
Dark Horse – Rene Sousa might not be the biggest name in the division but he’s definitely one of the trickiest competitors to prepare for. With a unique style and the ability to be dangerous from everywhere, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sousa take out one or more of the favorites at Medium-Heavyweight.
Favorites – Another suspended champion means another division that’s wide open in this preview of the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023. Adam Wardzinski was the champion back in 2019 and he’s been in great form this year, so he might be able to regain that title. He’ll have to get through the relentless pace of Roberto Jimenez first though, along with tough challenges from both Elder Cruz and Jacob Couch as well.
Dark Horse – Calon Sabino is both talented and exciting, and it’s been a little over a year since he was promoted to black belt. He’s put in some good performances on the ADCC Open circuit and the timing could be just right for the ATOS product to get his biggest win yet.
Favorites – Last year’s Super-Heavyweight champion is suspended but there’s still some incredible talent in the division this year. Matheus Diniz stands out as one of the clear favorites, and the most likely man to stop him from winning this weight class is probably Vinicius ‘Trator’ Ferreira. It really does seem like one of these two Alliance Jiu-Jitsu competitors will be winning gold here.
Dark Horse – There aren’t many other likely candidates outside of the two favorites, but Luccas Lira does have the ability to take home the gold medal. Even if he can’t win the whole division, he should be able to make it onto the podium at the very least.
Favorites – Ultra-Heavyweight is the smallest men’s division with just 13 competitors in it, and there’s only one man who stood on the podium last year at this weight. Roosevelt Sousa is a fantastic grappler and he might be able to do better than bronze this year but he has some tough competition from the likes of Fellipe Trovo, who won a silver medal at Super-Heavyweight last year.
Dark Horse – Heikki Jussila is fresh off a win over Dan Manasoiu at ADCC European, Middle-Eastern, and African Trials 2023 and he’s a truly formidable competitor, so he’s definitely got what it takes to come away with the gold medal in a division that’s up for the taking.
The women’s divisions at the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023 are bigger than ever before and even the smallest brackets will be difficult for the favorites in this preview to win. With stacked divisions and tough matches almost everywhere you look, there are bound to be some fantastic storylines emerging as the event progresses.
Favorite – This is one of the two smallest divisions in this preview of the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023, with just 4 women competing in it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be action though, as Mayssa Bastos is one of the most exciting female competitors around. Bastos has won a gold medal at this event three times before, so she should dominate this division without a reigning champion to oppose her.
Dark Horse – Faye Cherrier is going to have an incredibly tough time at Roosterweight with the legendary Bastos and both bronze medalists from last year competing, but she really shouldn’t be counted out. Beating Bastos is a huge ask, but a silver medal is very much within reach for her.
Favorites – Tammi Musumeci won gold at Featherweight last year and is moving down to light-featherweight this year as she looks to take home the fifth gold medal of her career from this event. She’s going to be difficult for anyone to beat, but the biggest obstacle in her way and the other top contender will be Jessa Khan. Although Khan is still very young, she turned a corner by winning the IBJJF World Championship earlier this year and could finish the year strong with a win here.
Dark Horse – Mara Kelly is one of Ireland’s top competitors and she made a big impact by winning the IBJJF No Gi European Championship earlier this year. She’ll have to beat some of the best grapplers on the planet to win this division and it might be too much to ask, but she could go far if she gets a good draw in the bracket.
Favorites – With Tammi Musumeci leaving the division this year, there’s no returning champion at Featherweight. Four-time winner Talita Alencar is competing though, and she’s the clear favorite in our preview of this division at the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023. Returning silver medalist Jasmine Rocha and ADCC Trials winner Adele Fornarino also have a great chance of winning, but they will have to beat Alencar to stand on top of the podium.
Dark Horse – Alex Enriquez has proven herself to be a step above the competition that she faces on smaller shows and she’s been right on the edge of a major win for a while now. This might be the time for her to do so, but she’s going to have to beat some of the best around in the process.
Favorites – There might not be a returning champion at Lightweight, but Ffion Davies is a two-time winner of this event and she looks set to win her third title here. She should be able to win the division in style, but she did have an incredibly close match with Maria Claudia earlier this year and things might go Claudia’s way if they meet again.
Dark Horse – Amanda Bruse is a young competitor who is still relatively new to this level of competition, as it’s been less than a year since she was promoted to black belt by Andre Galvao. She has a lot of talent though and should make it to the podium at the very least, so it’ll be interesting to see whether she can beat Davies if they meet.
Favorites – Middleweight is the biggest women’s division in this preview of the IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023, and there will definitely be a new champion as Elisabeth Clay is absent. Middleweight truly is wide open and there’s no clear favorite, but Claire North might be able to make it to the final after getting a bronze medal last year and Gabrielle McComb is always tough to beat.
Dark Horse – Rosa Walsh became the first black belt under Ffion Davies just a few months ago and the Irish grappler has a ton of potential. Anything can happen in a division as unpredictable as this, and it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see her standing on top of the podium.
Favorites – Amy Campo is the returning champion at Medium-Heavyweight and she was also the silver medalist in the absolute division last year too. Maggie Grindatti and Elizabeth Mitrovic are another two top competitors at this weight, but Campo has beaten them both before and should do so again.
Dark Horse – Salla Simola has only been a black belt for a couple of months but she’s already been putting in some great performances on the mats as a brown belt before that. It’s unlikely that she wins the whole division, but she could cause an upset or two along the way to the podium.
Favorites – Andressa Cintra won this division last year and she’s coming back to do the same again this year, but she has some incredible competitors looking to stop her. Rafaela Guedes won both this weight and the absolute in 2021, and the most likely winner here is either her or Cintra. Outside of those two, Luciana Mota has a good chance as she has moved down in weight from last year’s silver medal performance at Super-Heavyweight.
Dark Horse – Maria Ruffatto has only been a black belt for around a year but already she’s beaten some of the top competitors in her weight class. It’s always hard to predict how young grapplers will perform in a major tournament, but Ruffatto has all the skills necessary to win this division if she can put it all together on the day.
Favorite – Super-Heavyweight is the other division with just 4 competitors in it, but there’s still some interesting storylines leading into it. The biggest is the return of Kendall Reusing, who had to miss last year’s event due to a knee injury. She has a great chance of winning as a former champion from 2019, and she should be able to repeat that success provided the injury hasn’t had any lasting effects.
Dark Horse – Roberta Ribeiro is still pretty new to the highest level of the sport but she’s been quietly making a name for herself since getting promoted to black belt almost exactly a year ago. She actually won the IBJJF No Gi World Championship at brown belt last year and was promoted on the podium, so she’s one to keep an eye on despite Reusing being the favorite.
The full IBJJF No Gi World Championship 2023, including every division in the above preview, will be available to watch live on FloGrappling.