Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Grapplers, the Worlds is just around the corner, and there's new blood in the Black Belt division.

Just this past weekend, lightweight, Jonathan "JT" Torres (Team Lloyd Irvin), won the NY Open Black Belt Absolute Division (as well as his own Lightweight Division). It's a pretty amazing task for any lightweight to win this division. This kid (he's just 20 or 21) is tough, talented and definitely on the rise (he placed 2nd as a black belt in 2009 No Gi Worlds and No Gi Pan Ams and 3rd in 2010 European Championship). I'm curious to see if he can make a dent among the ridiculously dense talent pool that is the world's most elite grapplers (we all know the names). Of course, the 2-year old NY Open event is no Worlds (or even Pan Am), so Torres has got a lot to prove.

Additionally, and equally impressive are the 2010 Pan Jiu Jitsu standouts. What caught my attention most was the stacked Middle Weight Division and the two finalists, Abmar Barbosa (2nd place) and Kayron Gracie (1st place). Both grapplers beat prominent veterans to get there. If you haven't seen their sickeningly technical battle of sweeps in the final, then do it now.

Likewise, I'm watching out for Bernardo Faria, who won both the Heavyweight (submitting everyone in the division except Rafael Lovato Jr.) and Absolute Divisions. Notably, Faria also took 2nd (closed brackets with teammate, Fabio Gurgel [1st place]) in this year's European Championship.

Those are really only a few, and I'm sure some Brazilian unknowns will also do damage. If you have any thoughts on who's going to blow up at Worlds, let us know about it.

It's going to be fun ...

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