Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre shook to the sound of over 2,000 athletes from 75 gyms, spanning 79 diverse nationalities, as they converged for the Australian Jiu Jitsu Championship on August 26th and 27th, 2023. The Australian Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (AFBJJ), in collaboration with the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), hosted the annual tournament, setting record-level participation with athletes ranging in age from 4 to 55 years. The two-day competition spotlighted gi matches on Saturday and the intense no gi matches on Sunday.
Brazilian athletes dominated the no gi tournament, winning 13 of the 30 black belt divisions, with many of the victors continuing runs of dominance in the AJP Tour, IBJJF and AFBJJ circuits. Thalison Soares, the reigning IBJJF World Champion, showcased his prowess in the Featherweight division taking the gold medal against countryman Wagner Chrispim Junior and topping his bracket with a 100% submission rate. Another high-profile Brazilian, IBJJF Pan-Pacific Champion and former South American Champion, Marcelo Gomide took out the Open Weight gi Black Belt division with an impressive performance, submitting Ultra Heavyweight Black Belt Champion, Josh Cooksley, in the last minute of the semi-final. He then won by walkover against an exhausted Lucas Lacerda for the gold medal.
The women’s gi divisions at the Australian Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023 saw a spirited showdown between three-time female world champion Shantelle Thompson and IBJJF Pan-Pacific medallist Frances Bavaro. Returning from a double-silver performance in 2022, Bavaro emerged triumphant with a submission in the Super Heavyweight division final against Thompson. However, Thompson would take revenge in the Open Weight final with a 5-2 points win after a tense 10-minute struggle. Other noteworthy Black Belt Australian Champions crowned on the day include Thomas Messo, Glauco de Almeida, Jonathan Souza, Josh Cooksley, and Marco Albuquerque. Australian-owned gyms De Been 100% Jiu Jitsu and Australian Elite Team tied in first place for Best Male gi Team, followed by the ubiquitous Gracie Barra. On the female side, Dominance MMA clinched the Best gi Team title, with De Been 100% Jiu Jitsu and Australian Elite Team in tow.
Sunday heralded the no gi edition of the Australian Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023, boasting an even larger pool of competitors. The arena was packed by fans, with a special appearance from ADCC bronze medallist and former Australian Champion Lachlan Giles, coaching members of his gym Absolute MMA. Among the standout performances, Tito Carle shone bright, securing double-gold in the Purple Belt Ultra Heavyweight and Open Weight divisions. Carle’s flawless submission streak left the audience in awe, culminating in a 51 second victory against No-Gi world silver medalist Isak Ivanovic in the Open Weight final. Aaron Maher, the Australian and Oceania freestyle wrestling champion, etched his name as the Purple Belt Featherweight Champion, much to the delight of his coach, Lachlan Giles.
Australia’s 2023 no gi black belt champions include Tadeu Lobato, Thomas Messo, and Jonathan Souza. The leaderboard of male no gi teams was topped by Australian Elite Team with 11 golds, followed by Dominance MMA and De Been 100% Jiu Jitsu. Dominance MMA claimed the top spot among female no gi teams, trailed by De Been 100% Jiu Jitsu and Australian Elite Team.
The full results from the Australian Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2023 can be found here.