The IBJJF Santa Cruz Open 2023 took place across the weekend of April 22nd and 23rd, 2023 and it attracted several top competitors to compete and they all produced some great moments for the fans in attendance. The first day was the gi edition of the tournament and that’s when most of the more notable names took to the mats. Isaac Doederlein took on the exciting young Art of Jiu-Jitsu black belt Zach Kaina in the final of featherweight division, but experience beat youth in the end and Doederlein took home the gold medal from that weightclass.
Jackson Nagai somewhat predictably won gold in the middleweight division, as did Gabriel Almeida at heavyweight. There were some surprises too though, as Jonata Gomes won gold at lightweight before causing a huge upset and winning the absolute division too. Ronaldo Junior winning the medium-heavyweight division wasn’t much of a surprise, but the fact that Elder Cruz ended up occupying the third spot on the podium was. There was a lot of elite female grapplers competing at the event too, with another AOJ prodigy Jessa Khan and ADCC veteran Adele Fornarino winning the light-featherweight and featherweight divisions respectively.
Nathalie Ribeiro won the lightweight division and Elizabeth Mitrovic won the medium-heavyweight division, while Thamara Ferreira won the absolute division and a default gold at middleweight as she unfortunately had no opponents there. Ferreira repeated that same accomplishment the next day too, winning a gold in the no gi absolute division after receiving a default gold at middleweight. She wasn’t alone though as Fornarino returned to compete on the second day as well, winning another gold medal in the featherweight division.
There was significantly less competitors in the no gi divisions of the IBJJF Santa Cruz Open 2023, although the matches that did take place were no less exciting. Gabriel Arges still managed to walk away with two gold medals though, as he won both the medium-heavyweight division and the absolute division. Elias Anderson finished third in the absolute, but winning it would have been incredibly tough considering he finished at the top of the lightweight division earlier that day.