Gabrielle Garcia (right) versus Ana Carolina Vidal at the 2007 BJJ Mundials.
Well the Mighty 600,000 appear to believe that Alliance Jiu-Jitsu will be the team to bring home first place this weekend at the 2009 Pan-Ams in Carson, California. At the moment of this writing, most respondents in our BJJ Poll believe that Alliance will come out on top.
Here’s a few things that are worth noting about the Alliance roster, for those who are counting.
Noteworthy Alliance competitors who are not on the registration list for this weekend:
- Tarsis Humphreys, who came in third place in the 2008 and 2007 Mundials
- Bruno Malfacine, who changed teams this year and joined Alliance
- Gabriel Vella, who came in third place in the Ultra Heavyweight division in 2008 Mundials
- Chris Moriarty, who came in second in the 2008 Mundials as a brown belt
Of course there are legions of Alliance competitors in white, blue, purple, and brown belt divisions that could help push Alliance into first place this year. Perhaps I’m just disappointed that some of the jiu-jitsu competitors who I most enjoy watching will not be there. In any case I am certain that a) there are some competitors in the black belt divisions who will exhale deeply when they learn that some of these competitors will not be present, and b) I’m sure that these names will be competing at the 2009 Mundials in June, so we will get to see them then.
And don’t think for a minute that Alliance is not coming without some big guns. Here are some folks who have signed up.
- Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles. I should not have to say anything about Cobrinha, but here goes: 1rst place in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Mundials.
- Bill “The Grill” Cooper, who put on a show last weekend at Grapplers Quest (see here and here), is considered by many to be the strongest American black belt competitor today.
- Recently acquired Gabrielle Garcia (shown above on the right side of the image). Formerly under the Macaco Gold flag, Garcia began training this year with Alliance. While this brown belt is physically imposing and often dominating, her technique has not been the sharpest. However after spending significant time with Fabio Gurgel, aka “The General” in Sao Paulo, there’s a very good chance we see a new Garcia this time around. Traditionally Gracie Humaita and Gracie Barra have had deep ranks of female competitors and now Alliance has someone to watch out for.
- Lucas Lepri, who took second place in the 2008 Mundials and first place in the 2007 Mundials
- Michael Langhi, who took third in the 2008 Mundials and just came in first place at the 2009 European Championships
You get the idea. Alliance can show up with only half the bullets in their gun and still be a contender for first place. Are you as excited about the 2009 Pan-Ams as I am?!?